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For Many Across the Ozarks, Deer Season is 'A Family Affair'

White-tailed deer (photo credit: Missouri Department of Conservation, used with permission)

Missouri’s firearms deer hunting season began Saturday.  KSMU’s Jennifer Davidson reports.

For many across the Ozarks, it’s a family affair, with relatives coming in from various places for the hunt.

Mike Woodring, a retired conservation field biologist in Willow Springs, was up well before the sun on Saturday. He says every year, his family has a tradition of coming in from outdoors to enjoy his mother’s homemade cinnamon rolls and coffee.

He says deer hunting is more than a sport to him and many families across the Ozarks.

“Venison is a big part of what we eat throughout the year.  And when our kids were at home, we would try to kill about three deer a year so we would have meat throughout the year,” Woodring said.

Woodring says he learned long ago the skill of harvesting the deer he shoots.

“I’m kind of particular on how it gets taken care of, so I do it all myself.  I cut it up, and grind it into use for hamburger. And I do all of the cutting up of the steaks and roasts and all of that myself,” Woodring said.

Some schools in more rural parts of the Ozarks even cancel classes during part of deer season:  Summersville R-II schools will be out two days this week, Monday and Tuesday, for the season’s opening.

Missouri’s statewide firearms deer hunting season runs through November 20.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Davidson.