Missouri’s firearms deer season draws out more hunters than all other deer seasons combined. With so many people using firearms, safety becomes the number one priority. Though firearms safety is important, another major concern is treestand safety. “Actually the majority of accidents during deer season don’t happen from firearms, they actually happen from falling from treestands,” says Missouri Department of Conservation Media Specialist Dan Zarlenga, “It’s extremely important to utilize a full arrest system when you’re climbing in and out of your treestand, or some sort of safety harness.”
Two incidents occurred during firearms deer season involving treestands, tragically, one of them ended in a fatality. Despite the fact more safety issues involve treestands, firearms safety and the practice of identifying your target shouldn’t be left out, “Any movement, you might assume it’s a deer but it could be another hunter, it could be somebody’s dog, there could be a lot of things, so unless you actually see and confirm that it’s the proper animal, then you shouldn’t pull the trigger,” says Zarlenga.
Roughly half of missouri counties require antlered bucks to have a certain amount of points to be legal. This law allows younger deer to grow, but also forces hunters to be sure of their target. “At times you’ll find hunters will shoot anything that moves, they get the anxiousness to kill a deer and kind of lose focus of that, so you want to absolutely make sure you see a deer,” says local deer hunter Logen Wright.
Missouri’s total deer harvest for the firearms season came in at almost 170,000.