Numbers down for first weekend of hunting season

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Missouri News Horizon
, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation says warm weather is to blame for lower than usual deer kill numbers on the first weekend of hunting season.

But conservation department researchers also say the lower deer kill has something to do with a reduction in the state’s deer herd.

Hunters this past weekend killed 89,728 deer, down 8.3 percent from last year’s opening weekend.

Deer biologists say warm windy weather means deer aren’t as active as they would be during cold weather and strong winds carry scent further and faster.

Resource scientist Jason Sumners says first day deer harvest numbers have been dropping since 2001 when more than 118,000 deer were killed on opening weekend.

Deer numbers were down 11 to 18 percent over last year in northwest Missouri, the Kansas City area, and the southwest and central regions of the state.

Sumners says the decline in deer kill numbers is not a cause for concern, but may lead to fewer permits to take antler-less deer in some locations in the years to come.

The top harvest counties on the first weekend were Howell, Macon and Texas counties.