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Hunters bag another record deer kill in state
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Good weather conditions for the second year in a row helped Missouri hunters kill a record number of deer.
During the fall deer firearms season for adults that began Nov. 10 and ended Tuesday, hunters killed 205,867 deer. That total was up 4,702 from last year, the Department of Conservation announced Wednesday.
With moderate temperatures and a herd estimated at between 800,000 and 1 million deer, hunters had near-perfect conditions for success, spokesman Jim Low said.
"It was warm, but not so warm that it was unpleasant," Low said. "Deer hunters complain when it is warm, but they stay comfortable and that means people are in the woods killing deer."
Howell County recorded the largest number of kills at 4,166 while St. Louis County came in with the lowest at 587.
Low said the record kill, combined with the total herd, provides Missouri with a good balance.
"We've reached a point in Missouri where the deer herd is about as large as we want it to be," Low said. "There's plenty of deer every year."
Missouri's fall firearms deer season consists of three segments.
The most popular is the most recent segment, which accounts for about 90 percent of the annual kill.
Missouri also has a nine-day segment from Dec. 1 through Dec. 9 for hunters using muzzle-loading firearms and a four-day segment Jan. 5 through Jan. 8 in parts of northern Missouri.
For the first time, young hunters got a season of their own on Oct. 27 and 28. That hunt was open to youths age 15 and younger. Over that period, young hunters killed 6,277 deer, with no human injuries.
The top county in the youth deer hunt was Osage County, where 174 deer were killed. Montgomery County was second with 144, followed by Oregon County with 131.
Meanwhile, the Conservation Department said there were two fatalities during the just completed firearms season.
Chad Schetzler, 15, of Carrington in rural Callaway County, was fatally shot Sunday afternoon while hunting near his home with his younger brother.
In rural Miller County, Charles Flaugher of Tuscumbia died Saturday when he dropped the high-powered deer rifle he was carrying and it discharged into his chest.
The Conservation Department also this year had to deal with concerns that the herd was safe from a disease that has been killing elk in Colorado.
Missouri has instituted a ban on bringing in elk from states where chronic wasting disease has been identified.
Tests have been run to check for the disease in deer killed during the firearms hunting season. There have been no reports of the disease.