Managing for white-tailed deer

Two white-tailed deer in a field

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are among Missouri’s most valuable wildlife resources.

Each year, hunters spend more than 6 million hunter-days in the field pursuing the whitetail, contributing over $1.1 billion annually to the Missouri economy and supporting over 12,000 jobs in the process. Hunting the white-tailed deer is a tremendously popular form of recreation that carries great traditions.

Deer also provide other recreational opportunities, as well as aesthetic, economic and educational value.

Although private landowners are the stewards of this important wildlife resource in the state, the Missouri Department of Conservation provides the legal framework for successfully managing white-tailed deer populations. In addition to being influenced by hunting pressures within a given area, populations of whitetails are strongly affected by land-use practices and respond favorably to habitat management practices designed to improve food and cover conditions.

An understanding of white-tailed deer biology and ecology is the first step toward successful management of the species. Learn more about them through a series on this site of MU Extension guides developed in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation that provides an overview as well as management techniques for improving white-tailed deer habitats on your property.