I realize with daytime temperatures in the 90’s and nighttime temperatures in the upper 60’s, ticks out in full force, fawns still in spots, and bucks still in velvet that most hunters haven’t started making serious plans for this fall’s deer hunting. However, you might want to think about participating in one of the many managed deer hunts that will take place around the state. The time to apply for these hunts is soon approaching.
Missouri will be offering more than 100 managed deer hunts this year. There are a few hunts on some of our local wildlife management areas. These areas include the Peck Ranch Conservation Area in Carter County, Otter Slough Conservation Area in Stoddard County, and Mingo National Wildlife Refuge in the Southwest corner of Bollinger County, and Current River State Park in Shannon County. Managed hunts vary by dates, locations, bag limits, number of hunters allowed, and hunting methods allowed. There are even several hunts that are for youth only. To find out the specifics on what hunts are available across the state you can pick up a Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting booklet at any local permit vendor or go to the Missouri Department of Conservation website, www.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/deer
The managed deer hunts in Missouri operate under a point system. The way it works is each time you apply for a managed hunt and are not drawn, you earn one preference point. The next time you apply, your name will be entered into the drawing once for the current application year and once for each preference point that you have earned. If you’re not drawn again, you’ll earn another preference point that will be added to your points and can be used the next time you apply. You will continue to accumulate preference points (one for each unsuccessful application year) until you are drawn. When you are drawn for a hunt, your preference points zero out, and the process starts again for future drawings. You do not have to apply for a managed hunt every year to keep your points. Your points are valid for your lifetime, until you are drawn for a managed hunt, whether you enter the drawing each year or not. The system will remember how many points you have and will store them until the next time you apply. For those applying as a party, their preference points are averaged for each draw. For example, if the individual preference points of four hunters are 0, 5, 5, and 6, their averaged preference points for the draw is 4. That party is entered into the drawing 4 times, to reflect the party’s averaged preference points. Likewise, if an individual enters the drawing alone and has 4 preference points, this individual will have the same odds of being drawn as a party with a preference point average of 4. Luck still plays an important role in the drawing. It’s possible that someone with no points will be drawn over someone who has preference points, because the draw is random.
The Managed Deer Hunt application period is July 1 through July 31. To apply for a hunt you can go online at www.mdc.mo.gov/managed-hunts-deer. There you will see a links on the page that will allow you to view upcoming managed hunts, see the hunt history of each managed hunt, and view results of drawings. There is also a link that says How to Apply. Inside the how to apply you will find a Managed Hunt Application. This will allow you to select your managed hunt and enter in you or your party information. I hope you’re able to find a hunt that fits your interests this season and good luck on the drawing. If you have any conservation concerns or would like to report any illegal hunting or fishing activity, feel free to call me, Conservation Agent, Eric Long at (573) 579-5057.