Firearms deer season opens with a bang; nearly 95,000 deer taken opening weekend

Volunteer Hailey Turner, left, and John Peter, MDC wildlife resource technician at Caney Mountain Conservation Area, take a tissue sample from a deer Sunday at the chronic wasting disease check station at Gainesville High School. For the first time, Ozark County was one of the counties where mandatory sampling was conducted during opening weekend of the firearms deer season. It was added to the list of counties where mandatory sampling is being conducted after CWD was detected in animals in Arkansas.

The chronic wasting disease check station at Gainesville High School was almost empty at times during opening weekend except for the employees and volunteers awaiting hunters. At other times, pickups were lined several deep in multiple lanes as Ozark County hunters brought their harvested deer to be sampled to check for CWD.

Missouri hunters harvested 94,977 deer during the opening weekend of the November portion of fall firearms deer season Nov. 11-12, according to preliminary data from the Missouri Department of Conservation. Last year Missouri hunters checked 96,131 deer during opening weekend. By Tuesday morning, the unofficial statewide total had risen to 111,979 harvest deer statewide.

Ozark County’s opening weekend produced a total of 904 deer, with 526 antlered bucks, 74 button bucks and 304 does. By Tuesday morning Ozark County’s total was 1,155, with 646 antlered bucks, 99 button bucks and 410 does. 

At press time, no numbers were available from MDC as to how many deer were processed at area sampling stations that checked harvested deer for chronic wasting disease. Stations operated Saturday and Sunday at Gainesville High School and Dora High School, as well as at Mark Twain School in Taney County and at the MDC Regional Office in West Plains. Voluntary sampling continues only at the West Plains office. November fall firearms season ends Tuesday, Nov. 21.

Top harvest counties for opening weekend were Howell with 2,095 deer checked, Franklin with 2,060 and Texas with 1,855. By Tuesday morning, total deer harvested in counties adjoining Ozark were 1,384 in Douglas County, 2,570 in Howell County and 879 in Taney County. 

Archery deer season opens again Nov. 22 and continues through Jan. 15, 2016. The late youth portion of firearms deer season runs Nov. 24-26. The antlerless portion of firearms deer season runs Dec. 1-3, and the alternative methods portion will run Dec. 23- Jan. 2, 2018.

For current preliminary harvest totals by season, county and type of deer visit the MDC website at For harvest summaries from past years, visit


Share the Harvest

Hunters are reminded that, although Ozark County no longer has a deer-processor that participates in MDC’s Share the Harvest program, both of the processors in West Plains, Barnett’s Processing and Kim’s West Plains Processing, have agreed to process deer for Ozark County’s Share the Harvest as well as Howell County’s. 

Hunters who take their deer to one of those two West Plains processors to be donated to the Ozark County Food Pantry may either donate the entire deer or do a partial-deer donation. 

If the hunter donates the entire deer, sponsors will cover the entire cost of processing it. However, hunters who only want to donate a portion of the meat to the program and keep the rest of the meat for themselves, will be responsible for paying the entire processing fee.

For more information about deer season, Share the Harvest or to report illegal hunting activity call the two Ozark County MDC agents, Jerry Kiger, 417-989-1690, or Tom Leeker, 417-989-1693.

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423