Urban and Youth Hunts Harvest 9,000 Deer

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Fair weather and an abundance of deer contributed to the harvest of more than 9,000 deer during the first two segments of Missouri's firearms deer hunting season.

Hunters bagged 91 deer during the state's first-ever urban deer hunting season Oct. 25 and 26. The urban portion of deer season is designed to give communities around urban areas a tool for controlling deer numbers. Hunters who take part in the season were allowed to use only historic weapons--compound bows, longbows, crossbows and muzzle-loading firearms--in Management Units 58 and 59, around Kansas City and St. Louis.

Hunters checked 9,054 deer during Missouri's third youth-only firearms deer season Nov. 1 and 2. That is 1,474 more than last year's record youth harvest of 7,580. Hunters age 6 to 15 can take part in the youth hunt.

The Missouri Department of Conservation recorded no firearms-related deer hunting accidents during the two early portions of deer season.

The number of deer taken during the youth and urban portions of firearms deer season is small compared to the 200,000-plus deer killed during the regular firearms season. The two early portions still are important, however.

"Not many towns and hunters took advantage of the urban hunting season this year," said Conservation Department Resource Scientist Lonnie Hansen, "but that could change. As hunters discover this opportunity, and as urban and suburban communities learn that archers and muzzleloader hunters can safely control deer numbers, this season will grow in popularity. It's a terrific tool for local governments to reduce property damage and deer-vehicle accidents."

Hansen said the youth portion of firearms deer season is very popular among Missourians who want to introduce youngsters to the sport of deer hunting without opening-day pressures. "Having their own season tells kids that they are important," said Hansen. "Because their adult companions are not hunting themselves, they can relax and give their full attention to showing daughters and sons, nieces and nephews or neighbors how to enjoy safe, ethical hunting. The numbers are small but growing, and the long-term rewards are tremendous."