November 1, 2007

Local Hunters Help Boost Youth Deer Season Totals

As can be attested by a number of the entries in this weekís Big Buck Club, the 2007 Youth portion of the Missouri firearms deer season was a success.

Totals were up across the states as hunters between the age of six and 15 had the opportunity to take to the field during the two-day season October 27-28. A total of 12,383 deer were checked in by youth hunters, up from 11,920 last year.

Scotland County hunters harvested 123 deer, up from 103 in 2006. Of that total, 55 of the deer were antlered bucks, 19 were button bucks and 49 does were checked in.

Macon County led the 15 county Northeast Region reporting area with 205 deer harvested. Pike County was second highest on the list with 198 followed by Randolph County with 168 deer.

Osage County had the highest total in Missouri with 303 deer harvested followed by Howell County (258) and Ripley County (254).

The Central Region topped MDCís eight reporting districts with 2,251 deer led by Osage Countyís big totals. The Northeast Region was second highest followed by the Ozark region.

The state totals still trailed the record harvest of 13,466 deer established in 2004.

A poor acorn crop contributed to this yearís strong youth deer harvest, according to Conservation Department Resource Scientist Lonnie Hansen. He said the scarcity of acorns tends to concentrate deer where acorns or other food are available, making their behavior more predictable.

Hansen also noted that pleasantly cool, clear weather worked in young huntersí favor.

This yearís youth deer harvest included 6,194 (50 percent) antlered deer, 1,567 (13 percent) button bucks and 4,506 (37 percent) does.

The youth deer harvest makes up approximately 4 percent of Missouriís annual deer harvest. More than 71 percent of deer taken in Missouri each year are killed during the 11-day November portion of firearms deer season. The remaining harvest comes from archery deer season and the muzzleloader, antlerless and urban portions of the firearms deer season.

Hunters age 6 through 15 can participate in the Youth Portion of Firearms Deer Season. If they are using a Youth Deer and Turkey Hunting Permit, they must hunt in the immediate presence of a properly licensed adult hunter who has a valid hunter education certification card. Landowner youth age 15 and younger hunting on their family property are exempt from these requirements.

The Conservation Department recorded no firearms-related hunting accidents during this yearís youth deer season. Only one such accident has occurred in the seasonís seven-year history. That accident, which occurred in 2005, involved a 13-year-old hunter who shot himself in the hand when picking up his deer rifle.

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