November 29, 2001

Missouri Hunters Set New Record With 205,867 Deer Harvested

Deer hunters set a new state record with the harvest of 205,867 deer taken during the 12-day fall firearms hunting season November 10-21. The record came despite a slight decline in the state's largest producer, the northeast district where Scotland County hunters fell off from the 2000 totals.

Local hunters in Scotland County checked in just 1,682 deer this year, producing the second largest decline for the 16-county northeast district with 254 less deer harvested than in 2000. Only Sullivan County had a bigger decline, dropping 329 deer below the 2,260 mark set in 2000.

Overall the northeast region witnessed a decline of 176 down to 36,769 deer taken during the 12 days. That still was easily the best regional total in the state with the west central region coming in second with 32,742, up 3,261 deer from a year as the biggest growth area this season.

For the first time in recent history Macon County was not among the top three counties in the state for deer harvest totals. The perennial big county for the northeast district decreased 126 deer this year to 3,590 dropping the region from the state's top three.

Howell County once again led the state with 3,935 deer checked in followed by Calloway County (new to the top three this year) with 3,821 and Franklin County with 3,788.

In the northeast region, Pike County had the second high total with 3,376 followed by Lincoln County with 3,118.

Other neighboring counties around Scotland County witnessed similar declines or only slight increases in 2001. Clark County had the best increase with 44 deer over 2000 for a total of 2,258. Lewis County went up three deer to 1,832. Knox County witnessed the second largest decline behind Scotland County with a decrease of 79 deer harvested to 1,995. Schuyler County declined 64 deer to 2,116 while Putnam County fell off 13 deer to 1,639 deer. Adair County dropped 53 deer down to 2,304.

The northeast district reported one non-fatal hunting accident that occurred in Putnam County. Statewide there were six deer-hunting accidents including two fatalities.

The Conservation Department received reports of two fatalities during the final weekend of the season. A 45-year-old hunter, Charles Flaugher of Tuscumbia, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. Flaugher's rifle discharged when he fell while walking through the woods.

The accidental discharge of a .30-30 rifle caused the death of 15-year-old Chad Schetzler. The youth suffered a fatal wound to the chest when his firearm discharged while he and his brother were walking home from deer hunting.

Following the hunting rules of safety might have prevented the four non-fatal accidents that occurred. Those accidents involved a hunter shooting himself in the foot while removing a loaded firearm from a tree stand, a shooter mistaking another hunter for game and two injuries caused by stray shots from hunters who failed to assure they had a safe backstop.

Over the past five years, the number of deer hunting accidents in the state has averaged 10.6 annually. Deer hunting accidents peaked in 1986, when the opening weekend saw 10 firearms-related accidents. That year, the Conservation Department recorded 25 nonfatal deer hunting accidents and one fatality.

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