Deer harvest in Cape County up 10 percent

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cape Girardeau County hunters fared better than hunters statewide during the main firearms deer season, which ended Tuesday.

As of 11 p.m., they checked 1,417 deer, compared to 1,288 last year. Statewide, numbers were down; 200,599 deer were shot versus 214,494 last year.

Deer moving at night, bad weather and a good acorn crop could have contributed to some hunters having a hard time, said A.J. Hendershott, regional supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conservation.

"With the good white oak acorn crop, there was a lot of material deer could eat. They didn't have to travel wide and far. When they were hungry, they could move at night. Hunting hours are from dawn to dusk," Hendershott said.

He also said the "cold and drizzly" weather during opening weekend played a part. "When it's windy, deer tend to be not as active, and it is harder to detect deer. It makes it a lot tougher," he said.

The final season numbers mirror trends from opening weekend, Nov. 15 and 16. While the Cape Girardeau harvest was up about 10 percent, state totals dropped about 7 percent. The opening weekend can be a predictor of an entire firearms hunting season; about half of shooting takes place during opening weekend.

Although the statewide numbers are slightly down this year, Hendershott said they are closer to normal. A record was set in 2006 with 235,054 deer checked. While numbers were still unusually high last year, they were lower than in 2006.

The total was slightly down in Bollinger County this year. Scott and Perry counties were slightly higher.

Archery season for deer reopens today and runs until Jan. 15. The muzzleloader season opens Friday and runs until Dec. 7.

lbavolek@semissourian.com

388-3627

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