November 19, 2009

Opening Weekend Totals Down for 2009 Deer Season

Missouri deer hunters will have some ground to make up over the next week if they hope to surpass last yearís harvest totals after a slow opening weekend to the 2009 firearms season.

According to the Missouri Conservation Department, a total of 86,212 deer were checked in on Saturday and Sunday. That is down 12,084 deer from the 2008 opening weekend total of 98,296.

The northeast recording district witnessed a big chunk of that decline, as all 15 counties in northeast Missouri saw harvest declines, bringing the regionís total down to 14,187, well below the 2008 mark of 18,367 deer.

Despite the largest decline in the group, Macon County still was tops in the northeast region with 1,418 deer checked in.

Statewide it was Texas county topping the totals with 1,765 deer checked in followed by Howell County with 1,761 and Wayne County with 1,587 deer.

Scotland County hunters harvested 900 deer on Saturday and Sunday, down 266 from last yearís total of 1,166. This yearís take consisted of 360 antlered bucks, 156 button bucks and 384 does.

Antler restrictions did not seem to impact the buck harvest, as more than half of the deer taken in northeast Missouri were antlered bucks. Hunters checked in 6,180 deer that met the four-point restriction on at least one side.

The firearms season runs through Tuesday, November 24th.

There was one fatal firearms-related hunting accident in the state. A 67-year-old St. Louis man died after suffering a gunshot wound, when a hunting partnerís firearm accidentally discharged.

There was a total of 15 deer hunting accidents in 2008, with no fatalities.

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