Lane Haley, 12, of Houston, found these tangled bucks while hunting Sunday in Hartshorn. The one on the left died of an apparent broken neck. The one on the right was still alive. Both had eight points.

Texas County had the highest deer kill count in the firearms season that concluded Tuesday, reports the Missouri Department of Conservation. 

Hunters downed 3,309 deer in the county, which fell 600 from last year. The breakdown: Bucks, 1,560; button bucks, 361; and does, 1,388. 

Following behind Texas County were Howell County, 3,291; and Oregon, 3,227.

Statewide, the total was 157,228.

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EARLIER: Texas led Missouri’s deer kill among Missouri’s counties as the last day of the fall firearms season loomed.

Hunters in Texas County had killed 3,065 deer by mid-morning Monday. The breakdown: bucks, 1,477; button bucks, 335; and does, 1,253.

Second in the state was Howell with 2,951 and Oregon, third, 2,921.

The season ends Tuesday. Statewide, hunters across the state had bagged 145,886.

The Missouri Department of Conservation had predicted fewer deer killed this year because of two factors: The prevalence of deer deaths from hemorrhagic diseases, commonly called blue tongue, during the severe drought of 2012, affected numbers. An abundance of acorns also kept 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. 

The total in Texas County from the ’12 season was 3,916. 

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