Missouri’s 2010 November portion of the firearms deer season ended Nov. 23 with 188,205 deer checked. The 2009 total was 193,155.
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. In Texas County, 3,130 were killed this year – the fifth highest in the state, but 28 percent than last year. The breakdown: 1,405, bucks; 390, button bucks; and 1,335, does.
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, which provides a way for deer hunters to donate venison to the needy.
The firearms deer antlerless portion runs Nov. 24 to Dec. 5. The second round of the archery deer season runs Nov. 24 to Jan. 15. The muzzleloader portion runs Dec. 18-28. A second firearms youth weekend will be Jan. 1-2.
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. No fatalities were reported.