With roughly another month of deer hunting left, statewide numbers are bucking the trend.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports Missouri deer hunters have killed an extra 14,579 deer over the 2011-12 hunt during the regular firearms season this year between November 11 and November 21. Statewide, hunters shot 87,368 antlered bucks, 27,243 button-bucks, and 90,157 doe for a grand total of 204,668 dead deer.
Jason Sumners, resource scientist for MDC, said at the start of deer season that deer would be on the move and in the open looking for food this year — being easier to find. He said in the Ozarks, hunting would be especially good due to a record lack of acorns this year as a result of the drought.
Last year Missouri hunters shot 190,089 deer and in the 2010-11 season, 188,205 deer were killed in the November portion of the hunting season.
The counties with the most kills during firearms season were Howell County with 4,037 deer shot; Texas County with 3,916 snuffed stags or doe; and Benton County with 3,756 kills.
The tally for opening-weekend of the November firearms hunt was down this year.
Statewide, hunters shot 33,909 antlered bucks, 8,894 button-bucks, and 26,811 doe for a total of 69,614 deer killed during two-days worth of hunting. In the 2011-12 opening weekend, 89,728 deer were killed and in the 2010-11 opening weekend, hunters shot and killed 97,856 deer.
Audrain County kills
Deer kills in Audrain County came in low this year after a 2011-12 season peak.
Audrain hunters killed 453 antlered bucks, 254 button-bucks, and 613 doe for a total of 1,320 deer in the November portion of the firearms season. Last year, Audrain hunters harvested 700 antlered bucks, 323 button-bucks, and 803 doe for a total of 1,826 deer kills. In the 2010-11 season 1,593 deer were killed during the same time period.
Opening-weekend kills were down roughly half of 2011 and 2010 numbers this year in Audrain County.
Audrain hunters took 188 antlered bucks, 80 button-bucks, and 179 doe for a total of 447 this year during the weekend hunt. Hunters killed 908 total deer during the 2011 opening weekend and in 2010, hunters killed 843.
Pike County Kills
Pike County hunters killed more than half the deer shot down in Audrain County but Pike numbers are still down from the 2011-12 season.
Pike County hunters killed 1,095 antlered bucks, 425 button-bucks, and 1,257 doe for a total of 2,777 deer during the November firearms season. During the 2011-12 hunt, Pike hunters harvested 2,975 deer and in the 2010-11 season, 2,725 deer were killed.
During opening weekend in Pike County, hunters also killed more than twice as many deer than hunters in Audrain County.
Pike hunters shot 462 antlered bucks, 163 button-bucks, and 425 does for a total of 1,050 deer. Last year, Pike hunters killed 1,542 deer and in the 2010-11 season, 1,462 deer were shot during the two-day hunt.
Ralls County Kills
Like Audrain and Pike County, Ralls County kills are down this year from a peak during last year’s November firearms hunt.
Ralls County hunters killed 593 antlered bucks, 254 button-bucks and 764 doe for at total of 1,611 deer. Last year, 1,814 deer were killed in Ralls County with 1,672 killed during the 2010-11 firearms season.
During opening weekend, Ralls County hunters killed 255 antlered buck, 111 button-bucks, and 269 doe for a total of 635 deer killed. Last year, 979 deer were killed during the two days and in 2010-11, 963 deer were killed in Ralls County.
The firearms antlerless deer hunt started November 21 and closed December 2. No results have been made from MDC.
Another round of archery hunting also started on November 21 and will last until January 15.
The firearms alternative methods hunt starts on December 15 and lasts until December 25 with a second firearms youth hunt kicking off on December 29 and ending the next day, December 30.