State reports record opening deer weekend

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- It was a record opening weekend for Missouri deer hunters, the Department of Conservation said Monday.

With perfect hunting conditions, hunters killed 127,251 deer on Saturday and Sunday. The number of animals killed during the opening weekend of the adult fall firearms season topped last year's state record by more than 10,600 deer, spokesman Jim Low said. Monday.

"Chalk it up to flawless deer hunting weather and the fact that hunting regulations are a little more liberal this year," Low said.

The adults fall firearms deer season ends Nov. 26.

Low said that because the weather was cooler than during more recent years, hunters were able to keep killed deer outside longer without fear that they would spoil. That allowed hunters to return to the hunting fields more quickly, Low said.

Sunny skies were conducive to hunters. And lower temperatures meant deer were more active.

Meanwhile, the state dropped regulations that had required hunters to apply early for licenses and to hunt only in the area designated on the license.

This year, "the permits are good anywhere in the state," Low said.

Benton County led the state with 2,642 deer killed followed by St. Clair County with 2,602 and Henry County with 2,385.

Low said the first weekend of hunting season typically accounts for about 60 percent of the total number of deer killed. There were two hunting accidents reported, neither fatal. This year's deer herd is estimated between 800,000 and one million.

Last year, Missouri hunters killed 205,867 deer during the fall firearms season for adults.

Missouri's fall firearms deer season consists of three segments.

The most popular is the current segment, which accounts for about 90 percent of the annual kill.

Missouri also has a nine-day segment in December for hunters using muzzle-loading firearms and a four-day segment in January in parts of northern Missouri.

Earlier this month, young hunters killed 7,580 deer during the state's second youth firearms season.

This year's youth total topped last year's inaugural season by 1,303 deer. There were no reports of any accidents involving young hunters.

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