Archery season ended on January 15th concluding the final deer season for the 2020-2021 seasons. The final tally statewide was 296,110 deer harvested. This compared to 285,873 deer taken last season. Bad weather during much of the firearms season hampered the harvest, but an increase in other seasons lead to the rise in harvest compared to the previous season. Local county totals for the whole deer season are as follows: Audrain-2340; Boone-3208; Callaway-4982; Gasconade-3238; Lincoln-3615; Monroe-3700; Montgomery-3142; Pike-4306; Ralls-2528; Randolph-2530; and Warren-2489. High counties harvest counties were Franklin-5775; Howell-5363; and Callaway-4982 and Franklin with 1,018.
For those who plan early and need those dates to get vacation now, the dates for the next firearms deer season are already approved. The firearms season will be 11/13/2021 and last until 11/23/2021. Antlerless season will be 12/04/2021-12/12/2021. Alternative methods season will be 12/25/2021-01/04/2022. The youth seasons will be 10/30/2021-10/31/2021 and 11/26/2021-11/28/2021. The archery season as always kicks things off on 9/15/2014 and deer season permits go on sale in July.
With the first of February comes the traditional day for catch and keep on Missouri’s urban trout impoundments. To fish for the trout, a fishing permit is needed. If you keep the trout, a trout permit is needed. Four trout is the daily limit and eight trout may be possessed total. This does not mean a person can catch four in the morning and four later that day. Kiwanis Lake in Plunkett Park has been stocked with trout for this winter fishing season. It is prohibited to ice fish in the on the bodies of water controlled by the City of Mexico. As well as being prohibited, ice can change quickly on a body of water and after you go under, finding a way out can be extremely difficult. Other areas which offer winter trout fishing nearby are Cosmo-Bethel Park in Columbia, Veterans Park in Fulton, and McKay Lake in Jefferson City.
Small game and trapping seasons are ending for the 2020-2021 season. Trapping season for furbearers ends on the 31st of January, except for cable restraint for coyote. It ends on February 28th. Otters and muskrat season end on the 20th of February. Beaver season ends on March 31st. Other small game such as rabbit and squirrel will end on February 15th. Light geese season opens with the Conservation Order February 7th. Any number of snow, blue, and Ross’s geese can be taken under the Conservation Order. Electronic calls are permitted and shotguns which can hold more than three rounds in the magazine and chamber combined may be used during the Conservation Order. A Conservation Order permit is needed to hunt light geese during the Conservation Order.
New this year, coyotes maybe taken by hunting methods with the use of artificial light, night vision, infrared, thermal imagery equipment from February 1st, until March 31st. Legal methods must be used, and all permit regulations apply.
If you have any wildlife related questions or information, please call me, Norman Steelman Audrain County Conservation Agent at 573-473-8000. You may also call the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-392-1111 if you have information regarding a violation of the Missouri Wildlife Code. You may remain anonymous, and you may ask to be considered for a reward if you wish.