Late last month, the Missouri Conservation Commission announced the dates for this year's spring and fall deer and turkey hunting seasons.
The schedule for the spring turkey season, which is historically the biggest of the two hunting season for the big birds, will begin on Saturday and Sunday, April 6 and 7 with the youth portion. The adult portion of the spring turkey season will begin Monday, April 15 and run through Sunday, May 5.
The fall firearms turkey season will begin Tuesday, Oct. 1 and run through Thursday, Oct. 31.
Bag limits and shooting hours for turkey hunters will be the same as in previous years. Additional details, including managed turkey hunts and regulations for spring turkey hunts on conservation areas will be published in the spring turkey regulation that will be available in March.
The dates for the deer hunting seasons for the 2013 - 2014 fall and winter are as follows.
The urban portion of the deer season will begin on Friday, Oct. 11 and run through Monday, Oct. 14. The early youth deerhunting season will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2 and 3. And, the regular firearms season is scheduled to run from Saturday Nov. 16 through Tuesday, Nov. 26.
The schedules for the remainder deer seasons are as follows: Antlerless portion Saturday, Dec. 21 through Tuesday, Dec. 31. Alternative methods (formerly called muzzleloader season) Saturday, Dec. 21 through Tuesday, Dec. 31 and late youth portion Saturday and Sunday, January 4 and 5 2014.
The Conservation Commission also simplified requirements for tagging harvested deer, effective June 1, 2013. Other deer-hunting regulations will be set in the spring of 2013. Details will be published in the fall deer and turkey hunting regulation guide.
Missouri offers some of the nation's finest deer and turkey hunting. However, this wasn't always the case. In 1925 Missouri's deer herd was estimated at 500 animals and in the 1950s the Show-Me State had only about 2,500 turkeys.
Today, deer and turkey hunting are big business in Missouri as a result of restoration efforts by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the help of conservation partners and private landowners. Approximately 155,000 turkey hunters spend more than $125 million each year on travel, food, lodging and hunting equipment. In all, the economic impact of turkey hunting in Missouri is more than $248 million annually and supports more than 2,300 jobs.
More than 500,000 deer hunters spend more than $750 million each year directly related to deer hunting in Missouri annually. These expenditures generate more than $1 billion in business activity and support more than 11,000 jobs.
Although less popular than traditionally hunting seasons, the Missouri Department of Conservation also designates a number of seasons for those individual who prefer trapping furbearing animals. A number of those trapping seasons run concurrently with other fall and winter hunting seasons. This year's trapping seasons are as follows:
• Coyote - Nov. 15, 2012 to Jan. 31. Daily limits - any number. Possession limit - any number.
Live coyotes may be taken by trapping methods and additionally by cable restraint methods through the month of February. However restrictions do apply during deer and turkey seasons.
• Beaver and Nutria - Nov. 15, 2012 to Jan. 31. Daily limit - any number. Possession limit - any number.
• Mink - Nov. 15, 2012 to Jan. 31. Daily limit - any number. Possession limit - any number.
• Otters and muskrats - Nov. 15, 2012 to Feb. 20. Daily limit - any number. Possession limit - Any number.
For more specific information on the hunting and trapping seasons in Missouri log onto the Missouri Department of website at www.mdc.mo.gov.