Besides increasing hunting opportunities, the antlerless season gives landowners a way of regulating local deer numbers by allowing hunters to remove female deer from the population.
Missouri’s estimated population of 1.4 million whitetails enables hunters to shoot more than 250,000 deer each year. That yields approximately 10 million pounds of venison. Hunters consume most of this meat. However, hunters donate more than 250,000 pounds of venison annually to local food banks and other charities through the Share the Harvest program.
Wild venison has less fat than organic, free range beef, which sells for anywhere from $7 a pound for ground meat, to $30 for steaks. That puts the food value of Missouri’s white-tailed deer resource in the neighborhood of $200 million per year. Missouri’s deer resource also supports 11,000-plus jobs and generates more than $1 billion in business activity annually.
Economic value aside, deer hunting is a cherished tradition that draws thousands of Missouri natives back home to share healthful outdoor recreation with family and friends.