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Outdoors with Bill Wehrle: November deer season was good one

BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor

OUTDOORS

November deer season was good one

By BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor

Missouri’s 2020 November firearms deer season ended this past Tuesday (Nov. 24) and it was a good season, with a harvest comparable to last year’s.

Final harvest figures are not yet available, but will probably be in the 180,000-200,000 range, a little above last year’s 178,931.

Despite rain in some localities and brisk winds, the opening weekend harvest of 80,525 was only a little below last year’s. Almost 50,000 antlered bucks were taken in the first two days of the season.

The November firearms season attracts the most hunters of any hunting season in Missouri, with close to a half-million eager deer hunters heading to the woods. Not all of them get a deer during this 11-day season, but they still have several firearms segments left and archery season has now reopened to run through Jan. 15.

Missouri’s young hunters presently are hunting during the late youth season which started yesterday and will run through tomorrow (Nov. 29). This season never attracts as many hunters as the early youth season back at the first of the month, but, with fewer firearms hunters in the woods, the deer have a chance to settle down in their old haunts.

An antlerless deer firearms season in all north Missouri counties will run Dec. 4-6, offering another opportunity to put some tasty venison in the freezer, and the final firearms deer season – an alternative-methods portion – will be open from Dec. 26-Jan. 5 for hunters using other methods than centerfire rifle and shotgun.

Once that season is over, only archery methods will be permitted for the rest of the 2020-21 deer seasons, closing out on Jan. 15.

Voluntary CWD (chronic wasting disease) sampling is available during all deer seasons, and Share the Harvest is an option for hunters who have their freezers full of venison, but would like to continue hunting. 

Trapping season is open now and furbearers should now have “prime” coats.

Most Missouri furbearers have an open season Nov, 15-Jan. 31. This list includes badger, bobcat, coyote, gray and red fox, mink, opossum, raccoon and striped skunk. There is no limit on how many of these you can trap.

A rabbit trapping season runs at the same time with a daily bag limit of six (6) and a possession limit of 12, and a smaller limit of two (2) per day for swamp rabbits (none of these in north Missouri).

There are even-longer trapping seasons on otters and muskrats, Nov. 15-Feb. 20, and on beaver and nutria, Nov. 15-March 31, with no limits on the number of these you may take. Otters, however, must be registered or tagged.

There are several special trapping regulations, so a trapper should consult the Missouri Wildlife Code or the Missouri Department of Conservation’s booklet “A Summary of Missouri Hunting and Trapping Regulations” before trapping.

Duck and goose hunting seasons are now open, but locally waterfowl hunting has been pretty slow at times. A freeze-up can happen at any time now, so, if you’re interested in hunting waterfowl, you’d better get out there before this happens.

Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and are enjoying Missouri’s great outdoors at its most fun time of the year! 

(Bill Wehrle’s outdoors sports column appears in the Constitution-Tribune each Saturday.)