November 11, 2010

Missouri's Firearms Deer Season Opens Saturday Morning

Archery enthusiasts have had their chance. Then it was youth hunters that got the first shot with a rifle. But on Saturday, the woods will face the full onset of deer hunting as the 11-day firearms season kicks off November 13th.

As of Tuesday morning, November 9th at 9:00 a.m., Scotland County hunters had checked in 606 deer, including 243 antlered bucks via the archery and youth seasons.

That number likely will double over the opening weekend of the firearms season. In 2009 Scotland County hunters checked in 900 deer in the firearms season's first two days. Hunters across Missouri bagged nearly half of the full-season's total on opening weekend, with 86,202 deer harvested on Saturday and Sunday of the 2009 season, compared to 193,155 for the entire 11 days.

The Memphis Democrat hopes to share plenty of photos of the big bucks with its readers as 2010 marks the return of the Big Buck Club. D.G. Small Construction will be giving away a free trophy mount to one lucky entrant.

To participate, simply fill out an entry form, available at Brassfield Taxidermy, Hopkins Lumber, Bange's Gun Shop, Farm & Home or the Memphis Democrat. Submit the completed form along with a photo of the hunter with his or her deer, to the Memphis Democrat or bring the deer by for a picture.

Look for official rules along with the first week's entrants inside this issue on Page 12.

Weekly winners will be drawn for prizes before the grand prize random drawing will decide the winner of the free mount from Brassfield Taxidermy, courtesy of D.G. Small Construction.

Share the Harvest

The new Scotland County Food Pantry will host its official dedication service next weekend, but boosters are hoping the huge influx of deer hunters arriving in Scotland County this weekend will help provide a jump start to the winter food supplies.

The local food bank is taking over the Scotland County Share the Harvest program in 2010 after years of management by the Scotland County Rotary Club. The later will continue to be a significant financial contributor for the program, but the food pantry volunteers will now assume the task of managing the process.

Organizer Mike Cantril stated volunteers will be hosting deer drop offs on both weekends of the firearms season.

A trailer will be available at the Gas & More parking lot on Highway 136 on November 13-14 and November 20-21 from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Anyone can donate their deer to the program, and the Food Pantry volunteers will transport it for processing.

Hunters may also donate their venison to Share the Harvest directly at Rutledge Meat Processing.

Cantril said hunters are welcome to make a financial contribution to help offset the cost of the meat processing and packaging, but it is not necessary.

Several local businesses have joined the project, contributing to offset the costs. Sponsors include Hopkins Lumber, Scotland County Pharmacy, Memphis Lumber, Pepsi-Cola of Memphis, RPM Truck Accessories, Signs & Shirts, Scotland County Livestock Market, Scotland County Abstract & Title Insurance and Rose Hardware. Dr. Wiggins is donating the use of the trailer for the project.

The Share the Harvest program in Missouri provides a way for deer hunters to donate venison to the needy. This program is administered by the Conservation Federation of Missouri and the Missouri Department of Conservation. During the 2010 deer seasons, 4,243 hunters donated over 213,000 pounds of venison. As of February 2010, this program has coordinated the donation of more than 2 million pounds of venison.

The Conservation Federation of Missouri administers a state-wide program that directly reimburses the processor a pre-determined amount for each whole deer donated. That allows the processor to reduce the processing fee to the hunter at the time of donation.

State-wide sponsors of the cost-reduction program include Missouri Department of Conservation, Shelter Insurance, Bass Pro Shops, the Conservation Federation of Missouri, William T. Kemper Foundation, Green Foundation, J.B. Reynolds Foundation, Missouri Chapter Whitetails Unlimited, Missouri Chapter Safari Club International, Missouri Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation and Drury Hotels.

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