Missouri Youth Hunters Set Deer Harvest Record
Wind blew, snow flew, and the mercury dropped to bone-chilling depths during the late portion of Missouri's youth deer hunting season. But in spite of beastly weather, young hunters managed to check nearly as many deer as they did during the same period last year, bringing Missouri's youth deer harvest to its highest level ever.
Hunters age 6 through 15 checked 1,706 deer Jan. 2 and 3. That is just 66 fewer than were checked during the January portion of the 2008-2009 youth hunt. It was a remarkable achievement, considering the weather.
Last year, high temperatures during the late portion of the youth hunt ranged from the 50s in southeastern Missouri to the 20s in the state's northwest corner. This year, high temperatures during the January youth hunt ranged from single digits in the north to around freezing in the south. Thermometers dipped below minus 10 degrees in some parts of the state during the weekend hunt, and winds of up to 20 mph provided a further discouragement to young hunters seeking trophy bucks or venison for their families' freezers.
Young hunters checked 13,328 deer during the early youth hunt on Halloween weekend, bringing the 2009-2010 youth harvest to 15,034. That is 2,862 more than last year and 1,568 more than in 2004, the previous high-water mark for the youth season.
Youngsters checked 6,277 deer during Missouri's first youth deer hunt in 2001. The youth portion was two days long from 2001 through 2007.
High counties for the January portion of the youth hunt were Wayne with 45 deer checked, Macon, Osage and Sullivan with 37, and Pike with 36.
The youth harvest brings the 2009-2010 firearms deer harvest to 247,489. That is 3.6 percent above last year's firearms deer harvest.
As of Jan. 4, archery deer hunters already had checked well over 48,000 deer during the 2009-2010 season. That is more than 4,000 over the 2008-2009 harvest, which was a record. Archery deer season runs through Jan. 15.