Missouri deer hunters will not have to worry about shooting a deer whose antlers aren’t big enough.
Since 2004, hunters have been limited to antlered bucks with at least four points on one side of the bucks rack. The Missouri Department of Conservation announced it is repealing the previous antler restrictions for a portion of the firearm season from November 14-24.
Emily Flynn is a deer biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation. She says that the restrictions were revoked because of a deadly disease that is spreading.
“We’re finding Chronic Waste Disease and knowing how that disease spreads we wanted reduce the potential of protecting yearly bucks because they are most likely to have the disease and disburse. So we don’t want to protect these bucks that are spreading the disease.”
Bill Crane, owner of Crane’s Meat Processing, says that there are more benefits to revoking the antler restrictions.
“The last two years we have seen a lot of big bucks with ugly racks and that’s nothing but mixed up genetics. I think that they need to do away it.”
Chronic Waste Disease causes the infected deer to suffer from extreme weight loss and is always fatal. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation there were 47 confirmed cases of CWD in Missouri last year.
Flynn believes that number is going to rise again this year because Chronic Waste Disease can be spread through multiple platforms.
“During the 18 to 24 month period where the deer is infected but not exhibiting symptoms that time the deer could be spreading the disease to other deer and also through the soil. The urine, feces, saliva and even carcasses will infect the environment.”
Hunters are encouraged not to travel long distances with a deer carcasses this fall. This is in order to help contain the disease from spreading.