December 4, 2003

Deer Harvest Down Statewide Despite Gain In Scotland County

Unseasonably warm weather the first week of firearms deer season and rainy conditions the second weekend combined to keep Missouris November deer harvest below the record set in 2002.

Hunters bagged 208,940 deer November 15-25. That is 8,495 below last years kill of 217,435 and 3,073 more than the 2001 harvest of 205,867.

Local hunters did their part to keep the harvest close to the state record, rebounding from a slow opening weekend to bag more deer than last year over the 11-day season.

Scotland County saw 1,783 deer harvested during the firearms portion of the season. That was a 140 deer increase from 2002. Despite the big increase, Scotland County was not the biggest gainer in 2003. Sullivan County brought in 359 deer this year for a total of 2,319.

Texas County led statewide harvest totals with 4,132 deer checked. Howell County was second with 3,797, and Benton was third with 3,708.

Other local county totals of interest were: Adair County 2,504 (-130); Clark 2,113 (+127); Knox 1,815 (-37); Lewis 1,947 (+82); Putnam 1,729 (+145); Schuyler 2,214 (+61).

Overall the Northeast District saw a 1,075 deer increase and reported no hunting accidents.

Northwest Missouri led regional harvest totals with 34,844. Other regional harvest totals were: Northeast, 34,295; Central, 33,975; Kansas City, 25,461; Ozark, 25,258; Southwest, 25,026; Southeast, 14,396; and St. Louis, 14,338.

The Missouri Department of Conservation recorded 12 firearms-related deer hunting accidents during the 11-day November portion of firearms deer season. Two of those accidents resulted in deaths.

Since 1980, Missouri has averaged 13.5 firearms-related deer hunting accidents during the November firearms deer season. In the past five years, the average has been 8.2 per year. The safest November deer season on record was 2000, with four accidents, including two fatalities.

Two portions of firearms deer season remain, totaling 19 days. The Muzzleloader Portion runs from November 28 through December 7. The Antlerless-Only Portion runs December 13-21 in units 1 through 27, 33 through 38, 58 and 59.

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