OUTDOORS with Bill Wehrle: Duck season closes, deer season next

Missouri Department of Conservation has closed most offices to public, due to current COVID-19 conditions. Staff still working

BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor
Bill Wehrle column

By BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor 

Missouri’s North Zone 2020-21 duck season closed last Tuesday and the last of the five firearms deer seasons closed the same day, leaving only the archery deer season open.

The archery deer (and turkey) season will close on Jan. 15 and deer hunting in Missouri is then over until next September.

Waterfowl hunters still can hunt geese until Feb. 6, when the statewide goose seasons will close. A Conservation Order light goose season will open Feb. 7 and run through April 30.

Duck hunters wanting to extend their Missouri hunting season have the option of going south in the state where the duck season runs through Jan. 10 in the Middle Zone and through Jan. 31 in the South Zone. There’s plenty of duck hunting time left in Missouri; you just have to drive south to continue it.

From what I hear, duck hunting in the local area was pretty poor this year. It certainly was for me, as I had the least productive duck season I’ve experienced since moving to Chillicothe over 50 years ago.

In case area hunters want to plan ahead for the 2021-22 hunting seasons, the Missouri Department of Conservation has released the dates for this year’s deer and turkey seasons with very few changes other than a lengthening of the firearms antlerless deer season to nine days.

The antlerless season was reduced from a previous 12 days to only three in 2016 to allow a faster recovery of deer populations in parts of the state where EHD had cut the populations. These populations have recovered sufficiently to allow a return to a longer antlerless season.

The 2021 turkey seasons will begin with a spring youth turkey season on April 10-1l, followed by the regular spring turkey season April 19-May 9. The fall firearms turkey season will again be the entire month of October.

Limits will remain the same – two (2) gobblers or other bearded turkeys in the spring, just one (1) during for youth season hunters who can then take another one during the regular season for a total of two, and two (2) turkeys of either sex during the fall firearms season.

Archery turkey season will run concurrently with archery deer season, Sept. 15-Nov. 12 and Nov. 24-Jan. 14, 2022.

The five segments of the firearms deer season will be an early youth season Oct. 30-31, a Nov. 13-23 season, a late youth season Nov. 26-28, an antlerless season Dec. 4-12, and the “alternative methods” season Dec. 25-Jan. 4, 2022.

Information on hunting regulations, harvest limits, allowed methods, required permits and other related information will be available in MDC’s “2021 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Other Information” booklet and MDC’s “2021 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting and Information” booklet, both available where permits are sold prior to the related seasons.

The MDC has closed most of its offices, including the Chillicothe office, due to the COVID-19 situation.

Conservation areas remain open for hunting, hiking, and other outdoor activities. Hopefully their offices will be able to reopen in the near future. Staff will be on duty to answer telephone calls during the closure.

Quail and pheasant seasons will be open through Jan. 15. After that, it’s just squirrels and rabbits.

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