Missouri’s white-tail deer season began Saturday — providing an economic boost and influx of hunters to Texas County, which is one of the top harvesting counties in the state.
The 11-day November portion of the firearms deer season could be down lightly this year, predicts the Missouri Department of Conservation. In the end, the harvest will likely depend on the weather.
According to Emily Flinn, a resource scientist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, the key to understanding this year’s deer forecast is regional and local differences in deer numbers. Flinn specializes in managing Missouri’s economically valuable white-tailed deer herd. She says the state’s deer harvest has been stable for the last 10 years. However, she expects a below-average harvest this year.
In Texas County, thousands of hunters will flock to the county in hopes of downing a deer in one of the state’s top harvesting counties. Cash registers ring and lodging fills up.
Flinn said the prevalence of deer deaths from hemorrhagic diseases, commonly called blue tongue, during the severe drought of 2012, will affect numbers. An abundance of acorns may also keep deer in woods — rather than moving around to find food. The severe shortage of acorns last year in southern Missouri led to a larger-than-usual deer harvest in 2012. She said the higher acorn production this year will require hunters to be more active to find the animals.