Missouri Hunters Had Great Opening Weekend

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Hunters checked 124,271 deer Nov. 11 and 12. The harvest during the opening weekend of the 11-day firearms deer season is 21,726 more than last year.

The opening-weekend harvest is the second-largest opening-weekend harvest on record in Missouri. It fell 8,865 (6.7 percent) short of the record set in 2004.

Top counties were Benton with 2,621 deer checked, Callaway with 2,559 and Pike with 2,334. The Missouri Department of Conservation recorded four nonfatal hunting accidents and one fatality during the opening weekend.

Resource Scientist Lonnie Hansen predicted a larger deer harvest than last year's. He based that prediction on the fact that last year's total firearms deer harvest was down 9 percent from 2004, and the doe harvest was down 11 percent. One factor likely to hold down this year's deer harvest is the second bumper crop of acorns in a row. When acorns are plentiful, deer do not have to move around as much to find food, and so are less exposed to hunters.

The November portion of firearms deer season continues through Nov. 21. It is followed by a muzzleloader portion Nov. 24 through Dec. 3 and an antlerless portion Dec. 9 through 17. Archery deer hunting will reopen Nov. 22 and continue through Jan. 15.