Khloe Hamlin (age 11) shot this albino button buck in Knox County on November 4, 2012. She is the daughter of Jeremy and Kara Hamlin, and granddaughter of Jed and Keri Hinds, Carolyn Hinds, Kenny and Lois Bugh, Jean Cary, Charley and Nancy Hamlin, and Verne Marble.

Hunters between the ages of 6 to 15 got an early start to the 2012 firearms deer season this past weekend as part of the early youth deer season November 3rd and 4th. Decent weather across the state helped the youngsters surpass last season’s harvest total rather easily.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, youth hunters statewide checked in 19,277 deer in 2012, compared to 16,398 during the two-day early season in 2011.

The MDC showed that 11,184 antlered bucks were harvested, with youth hunters tagging 2,351 button bucks and 5,742 does.

Scotland County hunters saw a slight decline in totals this season, dropping from 157 deer in 2011 to 144 deer this season. Local hunters bagged 84 antlered bucks, 13 button bucks and 47 does.

Around the region, Schuyler County youth hunters telechecked 122 deer. Knox County had 129 deer harvested with Clark County hunters checking in 169 deer and Adair County hunters bagging 178 deer.

Franklin County was tops in the state with 417 deer harvested by youth hunters. Osage County was second in Missouri with 400 deer followed by Howard County with 395 deer.

The early youth season, November 3rd and 4th allowed hunters between age 6 and 15 to harvest one deer of either sex.

Unfilled permits can be utilized during the fall firearms deer season November 10th – 20th.

A special late youth season is scheduled for December 29th – 30th.

During the regular fall firearms season as well as the late youth season, youth hunters can take deer according to the permits they hold. Only one antlered deer may be taken during the entire firearms deer season.

So if the youth has already taken one antlered deer during one of the other portions of the firearms deer season, he or she may not take another during the regular firearms or late youth season.

The antler-point restriction does not apply during the youth portions. However, it does apply during the rest of the season.

If the youth is not hunter-education certified, he or she must hunt in the immediate presence of a qualifying mentor.