November 21, 2002

Local Doesn't Slow Down State Record Opening Weekend For Deer Season

Plenty of blaze orange over the past weekend meant plenty of green for many local businesses, such as gun shops, outfitters, restaurants, hotels and convenience stores not to mention meat lockers. The later will be particularly busy all across the state after the opening weekend harvest totals for the firearms deer season far and away exceed the 2001 level for the first two days.

Thanks to excellent weather conditions Missouri hunters bagged 127,251 deer during the opening weekend of the firearms season on November 16-17. The 10-day season got off to a huge start as the harvest exceeded the 2001 total of 116,553 by 10,698 deer.

As usual, the northeast district, which includes Scotland County, was the top harvest district with 22,848 deer. While leading the way overall, the region did not do much for the jump for 2001, with an increase of just 119 deer from the previous year. The biggest gains came in the West Central region, which was up 2,776 deer from 2001 to take runner-up honors overall with a harvest of 21,922. That surpassed the Northwest region in both increase (2,112) and overall harvest (19,857).

The West Central Region moved into second overall in the state in large part to the three largest county totals for the state. Benton County topped the 114 counties in Missouri with 2,642 deer. That edged out St. Clair County, which had 2,602 followed in a distant third by Henry County with 2,385.

The Northeast District was led by the typical big three. Macon topped the region with 2,217 deer, which was still only the fifth largest take in the state behind Howell County, which had a harvest of 2,358. Other top performers in the northeast district included Pike County with 1,934 deer harvested and Lincoln County with 1,907.

Scotland County was among the eight counties in the Northeast Region that experienced a decline in 2002. Only 1015 deer were taken during opening weekend in Scotland County compared to 1,080 the previous year.

Clark County experienced the biggest drop in 2002, falling 179 to 1,257. Knox County fell off 35 to 1,170.

Other neighbors faired better, particularly Schuyler County, which witnessed a 121 deer increase this year to 1,382. Lewis County had a 99 deer increase to 1,250 while the Putnam County harvest went up 40 deer to 958.

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