State conservation officials report record season for deer

Thursday, November 28, 2002

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- It was a record year for Missouri deer hunters, the Missouri Department of Conservation said Wednesday.

With near-perfect hunting conditions, Missouri hunters killed 217,435 deer from Nov. 16 through Tuesday.

The number of animals killed during adult fall firearms season topped last year's previous state record by 11,568 deer, department spokesman Jim Low said.

"It was cool enough for deer to be active and warm enough that hunters were spending a lot of time in the woods," Low said.

Another contributing factor was the state's decision to drop regulations that had required hunters to apply early for licenses and to hunt only in the area designated on the license.

The west-central part of Missouri accounted for the highest number of kills at 37,322 deer, while St. Louis had the lowest total at 4,104.

The west-central counties of St. Clair and Benton lead all counties with 4,191 and 4,176 deer killed respectively and Howell County in the Ozarks region was third with 4,091.

While there are between 800,000 and 1 million deer in Missouri, Low said there is no indication the record kill this year was due to an increase in the deer population over last year.

The department reported eight hunting accidents, none of which were fatal. Last year, there were six hunting accidents including two fatalities.

More than 574,000 deer permits have been issued in the state this year. That total does not include special managed deer hunts.

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.

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