Wednesday, February 1st, 2023
Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Urban deer harvest similar to 2010 in Missouri

Jefferson City – Missouri hunters checked 570 deer during the
urban portion of firearms deer season Oct. 7 through 10, virtually
identical to last year’s figure and approximately half the
long-term average. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC)
attributes the small harvest to lower deer activity and hunter
effort related to unseasonably warm weather.

MDC instituted the urban hunt in 2003 to provide better control
of deer numbers in and around St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield
and the Columbia-Jefferson City area. Hunters in all or parts of 12
counties are allowed to take only antlerless deer during the
four-day hunt.

Greene County led the urban deer harvest with 109 deer checked.
Boone County was second with 89, followed by St. Charles County,
where hunters checked 83 deer. Other county harvest totals were:
Clay, 45; Franklin, 43; Jefferson and St. Louis, 41 each; Cass, 40;
Cole, 33; Jackson, 23, Platte, 16; and Christian, 7. Eighty-three
percent of deer checked during the urban hunt were does.

“The harvest of 470 does (female deer) doesn’t sound like a
lot,” said MDC Resource Scientist Jason Sumners, “but every doe
taken during the urban hunt translates into something like two to
three fewer deer next year. It is significant, especially when
added to the harvest during the rest of the firearms deer season
and the archery deer season.”

The smallest harvest, 129, occurred in 2003, the first year of
the urban hunt. Few hunters participated that year. The largest,
2,077, came the following year. Since then, the largest urban deer
harvests have occurred in years when temperatures were lowest.
Sumners said this is partly because deer are more active in cool
weather. He said hunter behavior figures into the equation,
too.

“Deer are less active on warm fall and winter days, as their
winter coat doesn’t allow them to dissipate heat as easily,” said
Sumners. “At the same time, deer hunters may hesitate to shoot a
deer if they are worried about spoilage due to high
temperature.”

Sumners said some hunters simply don’t feel like hunting deer if
they break a sweat getting to their stand. That also cuts into
participation.

According to the Midwest Regional Climate Center, the daily high
temperature for the first weekend in October in central Missouri
over the past 60 years has been just over 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
This year, like last year, the average high temperature was over 80
degrees.

The following table shows harvest figures since the urban deer
season began, along with average high temperatures at Sandborn
Field in Boone County from the University of Missouri’s Historical
Agricultural Weather Database.

Year Harvest High temp. (degrees F.)

2003 129 50

2004 2,077 70.5

2005 1,838 62.6

2006 1,348 76

2007 554 85.1

2008 678 77.5

2009 1,242 52.7

2010 587 83.7

2011 570 82.3

Missouri’s firearms deer season consists of six portions,
comprising 40 days of hunting. Upcoming portions include the early
youth portion Nov. 5-6, the regular November portion Nov. 12-22,
the antlerless portion Nov. 23-Dec. 4; the muzzleloader portion
Dec. 17-27 and the late youth portion Jan. 7-8. Missouri’s archery
deer season runs from Sept. 15 through Nov. 11 and Nov. 23 through
Jan. 15. Details of deer-hunting regulations are contained in the
2011 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information
booklet, which is available from permit vendors and MDC offices
statewide. The booklet also is available at
mdc.mo.gov/node/3656/.

The Show-Me State’s deer herd is estimated at 1.4 million. Deer
numbers are stable in most of the state, but have decreased in some
areas – particularly parts of northern, central and western
Missouri – as a result of increased bag limits and regulation
changes that encourage hunters to take more does. The incidence of
deer-vehicle accidents and nuisance-deer complaints has decreased
along with deer numbers in those areas.

For more information about deer management in Missouri, visit
mdc.mo.gov/node/3347/.

 

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