November deer harvest sets record

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Good weather and an abundance of deer enabled hunters in Missouri to shoot a record number of deer during the state's regular firearms deer season Nov. 11 through 21.

The Missouri Department of Conservation recorded 235,054 deer taken during the November portion of the firearms deer season. The figure represented an increase of 29,594 (14.4 percent) from last year and 12,725 (5.7 percent) from the previous record, which was set in 2004.

The record harvest took place despite the fact this year's opening weekend harvest was down by 8,865 (6.7 percent) compared to 2004.

"It was a little bit of a slow start this year compared to 2004, but a lot better than 2005," said resource scientist Lonnie Hansen, the MDC's deer specialist. "However, we had good weather -- not too cold or too warm and not too much rain -- for most of the season, and that kept hunters in the woods."

Hansen also noted that Missouri probably had a larger-than-normal deer population this year. Hunters killed 11 percent fewer does during the 2005 hunting season than they did the previous year, leaving approximately 10,000 extra female deer in the population.

The top deer-harvest counties this year were Callaway, with 4,473 deer checked, Benton with 4,411 and Pike with 4,216. The Conservation Department recorded 10 firearms-related deer hunting accidents, including two fatalities.

-- Southeast Missourian

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