Preliminary data from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) shows that young hunters ages six through 15 harvested 18,158 deer during Missouri’s early youth portion of the 2019 deer hunting season, November 2 and 3. Of that total, 11,615 were antlered bucks, with 5,068 does harvested as well as 1,536 button bucks.
Top counties were Osage with young hunters harvesting 381 deer, Howell with 355, and Franklin with 351. Scotland County youth hunters checked in 135 deer, including 78 antlered bucks. Knox County checked in 136 deer while Clark County youth hunters bagged 119 and Schuyler County checked in 86 deer.
Last year’s harvest total for the early youth portion was 13,645.
“We had great weekend weather for deer hunting,” said MDC Deer Biologist Kevyn Wiskirchen. “It was chilly, but not freezing, which is good for deer movement.”
Archery deer hunting continues through November 15 and resumes November 27 through January 15, 2020. The November portion of firearms deer season runs November 16-26 followed by the late youth portion November 29 through December 1. The antlerless portion of firearms deer season runs December 6-8 followed by the alternative methods portion December 28 – January 7, 2020.
Missouri is celebrating 75 years of deer hunting. Habitat loss and unregulated hunting decimated Missouri’s native white-tailed deer numbers to mere hundreds by the 1930s. Deer were mostly limited to small herds in the Ozarks when the voter-approved and newly-formed Missouri Conservation Commission closed deer hunting in 1937. Then the restoration work began. In 1944, the newly-created Missouri Department of Conservation held the first modern deer season with 7,757 hunters harvesting 519 bucks during a two-day, bucks-only season in 20 counties. MDC’s ongoing conservation efforts — in partnership with landowners, hunters, and others — have brought deer numbers back! Missouri now has more than a million deer throughout the state with about a half-million deer hunters harvesting hundreds-of-thousands of deer annually. Deer hunting also helps boost business in Missouri communities by more than a billion dollars annually while nourishing family traditions for many and putting food on the table for even more.