JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Plentiful deer, plentiful permits and more days of hunting combined to produce a record harvest of 273,905 in Missouri's 2004 firearms deer hunting season.
The figure is 19,538 more than the previous record, set last year, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Hunters also had one of the safest deer seasons on record, with seven nonfatal firearms-related hunting accidents and one fatality reported. The lone fatality resulted from an accidentally self-inflicted gunshot wound during muzzleloader season.
This year's firearms deer season consisted of five portions totaling 36 days. Last year's firearms season ran 34 days. Hunters killed 934 fewer deer during the Antlerless Portion of Firearms Deer Season this year than in 2003. However, record harvests in the other four portions of Firearms Deer Season propelled the 2004 harvest to a record.
The bulk of the deer harvest came during the November Portion of Firearms Deer Season, Nov. 13 through Nov. 23. Hunters checked 222,329 deer during the 11-day hunt. The previous record of 217,435 was set in 2002.
The Muzzleloader Portion Nov. 26 through Dec. 5 saw another 11,938 deer checked.
The Antlerless Portion Dec. 11 to Dec. 19 closed out the season with 24,217 deer killed, compared to 25,151 last year. No hunting accidents were reported during the antlerless hunt this year.
No counties in the Southeast Region were open to hunting during the antlerless portion of the firearms deer season.