The Missouri Department of Conservation reminds hunters that waiting until the last minute to buy deer permits could mean long waits at permit vendors.
Conservation officials say the same phenomenon occurs the day before the opening of spring turkey season and on opening day at Missouri's four trout parks. Although hunters and anglers may have to wait in line to buy permits on those dates, the situation is more extreme before deer season.
Each year the Conservation Department sells approximately 180,000 deer hunting permits in the 24 hours before the November Portion of Firearms Deer Season opens.
Last-minute permit buying guarantees that hunters will find long lines at many of Missouri's 1,200 permit vendors.
Hunters can avoid this by buying permits several days or weeks early. So far, however, Conservation officials have had little luck getting hunters to buy early. One year the Conservation Department gave away an all-terrain vehicle and 10 deer rifles in a drawing to encourage early permit buying. That promotion had little effect on last-minute permit buying.
This year the agency is relying on simple self-interest to convince hunters to buy permits early. Those who buy early will find minimal lines and a fast-working computer system. Those who wait until the day before deer season likely will have to wait.
Permits also can be purchased on-line at mdc.mo.gov/regs/permits.htm or by phone at 1-800-392-4115. However these purchases are subject to a $2 convenience fee. Also, you must allow time for delivery of permits by mail, since you must have the transportation tags when hunting deer.