Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
23rd Annual Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge Muzzleloader White-tailed Deer Hunt
Midwest Region, January 8, 2012
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The 23rd Annual Muzzleloading White-tailed Deer Hunt was completed January 7 and 8, 2012 at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge. This hunt was initiated in January 1988 to reduce a high deer population that was causing crop damage to Refuge and adjacent private agricultural crops, to reduce the number of deer hit on Interstate Highway 29 and State Highways 159 and 118, and to reduce the browse damage to Refuge brush and woodlands. When initiated, the Refuge deer population was estimated to be from 80 to 90 deer per square mile. The long-term goal is to reach 30 to 45 deer per square mile. This has been completed each year except for 1994 when the flood of 1993 damaged the Refuge auto tour route.


This hunt is a cooperative effort with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). The application period is July to mid-August and random selection is made by MDC. This year, 100 permits were issued for successful applicants to harvest two antlerless deer. A total of 389 individuals applied for the 100 permits. This hunt also gave an opportunity of conduct two different studies. One study, conducted by MDC, permitted the collection of data on deer fetuses. Measurement of the fetus enables MDC to back date the time of rut to help officials determine optimum fall gun season dates off-refuge. The second study was conducted by Missouri Western State University Biology Department to collect and record deer brain worms. This information will help researchers learn more about this parasitic nematode and the prevelance in the deer herd.

A total of 88 hunters harvested 48 deer. Approximately 10 hunters harvested their limit of two antlerless deer. During the past 23 hunts, 16,114 individuals have applied for the 3,790 permts and have harvested 2,737 deer. Hunter success rates have been as high as 86% and as low as 35%.

Contact Info: Ron Bell, 660/442-5754,extension 13, Ron_Bell@fws.gov
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