With the Missouri firearms deer season winding down, the picture of how much white-tailed deer are worth to the state is coming into focus again.
Statistics from the Missouri Dept. of Conservation show that nonresident deer hunters alone brought more than $30 million into the Show-Me State this year.
As of Dec. 1, the Conservation Department had sold 15,548 nonresident firearms any-deer permits, 13,746 nonresident antlerless permits and 5,061 nonresident archery permits.
The more than $2.9 million these hunters spent on those permits is only a small part of the benefits Missouri reaps from its deer herd.
State official David Thorne said out-of-state deer hunters each spent an average of 4.6 days hunting in Missouri, and they spent approximately $15 million on food and $4 million on lodging.
Add ammunition, equipment, motor fuels, taxidermy and other goods and services, and expenditures by nonresident deer hunters total nearly $28 million annually.
"One of the things I find most remarkable about this," Thorne said, "is that the relatively small number of nonresident deer hunters spent almost as much on food and lodging in the state as resident hunters."
Only about one of every 20 deer hunters in Missouri is a nonresident.