December 2, 2010

Hunters Check 188,205 Deer During November Firearms Season

After amassing a harvest total nearing the 100,000 mark on opening weekend, Missouri's 2010 November portion of the firearms deer season ended November 23 with 188,205 deer checked. That was down 4,954 deer from last year and well off the record harvest of 235,054 deer in 2006.

The top harvest counties were Benton with 3,390 deer checked, Howell with 3,246 and Macon with 3,195. Top counties in 2009 were Texas with 4,372 deer checked, Howell with 3,871 and Benton with 3,616.

Scotland County hunters checked in 2,108 deer, 329 more than last year. that was the common trend across the northeast region, where 14 of the 15 counties improved on last year's number, with 10 of the 14 experiencing triple digit jumps.

Knox County saw the biggest increase, moving up 557 deer from last year's total with 2,353 deer harvested. Clark County hunters checked in 1,844 deer (+144) while Putnam County had 2,017 (+52) and Schuyler County checked in 1,352 deer (+14). Adair County was the lone county with a declining total dropping 36 deer to 2,422 in 2010.

Antlered bucks made up 41 percent of this year's November deer harvest, the same percentage as in 2009.

"We generally had good weather for deer hunting and crops were out of the fields," said MDC deer biologist Lonnie Hansen.

He added that harvest numbers were down in southern Missouri and up in the northern part of the state.

"We expected that due to an abundance of acorns in the Missouri Ozarks. In this situation, deer tend to stick to the woods and not move around as much," Hansen said. "This makes hunting more difficult."

Hansen added that hunters play a vital role in managing the population of Missouri's most valuable wildlife resource.

"Adult deer have no widespread natural predators in Missouri so hunting is the primary way to control the population," he explained. "Missouri is a great place to hunt deer."

Hansen added that deer hunting enriches the state and local economies and Missourian's quality of life. "Nearly 500,000 deer hunters spend more than $750 million each year directly related to deer hunting. Deer hunting in Missouri generates more than $1 billion in overall business activity and supports more than 11,000 jobs."

Deer hunters still have opportunities to fill their freezers and to help feed their neighbors through the Share the Harvest program. Share the Harvest provides a way for deer hunters to donate venison to the needy.

The firearms deer antlerless portion runs November 24 to December 5. The second round of the archery deer season runs November 24 to January 15. The muzzleloader portion runs December 18-28. A second firearms youth weekend will be January 1-2, 2011.

The MDC recorded nine firearms-related deer-hunting incidents during the November hunt. Eight of those were self-inflicted. The MDC also recorded three falls from tree stands. One of the hunters who fell from a tree stand died as a result of his injuries. The incident occurred in Crawford County.

More information on the 2010 deer season and on Share the Harvest can be found at www.MissouriConservation.org.

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