November 1, 2007
JEFFERSON CITY- Young hunters brought home more than 12,000 deer during Missouriís two-day youth firearms deer season, the second-largest kill in the seasonís seven-year history.
Hunters ages 6 through 15 checked 12,267 deer Oct. 27 and 28, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation. That is 3 percent more than last year and 9 percent below the record of 13,466, which was set in 2004.
This yearís top three harvest counties were: Osage, 301; Howell, 258; and Ripley, 252.
A poor acorn crop contributed to this yearís strong youth deer harvest, according to Conservation Department Resource Scientist Lonnie Hansen. He said the scarcity of acorns tends to concentrate deer where acorns or other food are available, making their behavior more predictable.
Hansen also noted that pleasantly cool, clear weather worked in young huntersí favor.
This yearís youth deer harvest included 6,194 (50 percent) antlered deer, 1,567 (13 percent) button bucks and 4,506 (37 percent) does.
The youth deer harvest makes up approximately 4 percent of Missouriís annual deer harvest. More than 71 percent of deer taken in Missouri each year are killed during the 11-day November portion of firearms deer
season. The remaining harvest comes from archery deer season and the
muzzleloader, antlerless and urban portions of the firearms deer season.
Hunters age 6 through 15 can participate in the Youth Portion of Firearms Deer Season. If they are using a Youth Deer and Turkey Hunting Permit, they must hunt in the immediate presence of a properly licensed adult hunter who has a valid hunter education certification card.
Landowner youth age 15 and younger hunting on their family property are exempt from these requirements.
The Conservation Department recorded no firearms-related hunting accidents during this yearís youth deer season. Only one such accident has occurred in the seasonís seven-year history. That accident, which occurred in 2005, involved a 13-year-old hunter who shot himself in the hand when picking up his deer rifle.