November firearms deer harvest down 11%

Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Randy Hastings shows the buck he took in Osage County.
Photo provided

The rut was over ... there was a full moon ... thereís too many acorns ... thereís not as many hunters out there. Thereís been a lot of reasons tossed around as to why this yearís Missouri firearms deer season was so lackluster, and every one of them likely contributed in at least some way.

At the end of the 11-day season, which closed Tuesday, hunters managed to kill 178,936 deer. Thatís down about 11% compared to last yearís season, when 200,738 deer were killed. Itís also the lowest season harvest since 2014.

Locally, every county was down significantly compared to last year except for Dunklin, but it also was lower.

In Carter County, hunters killed 1,006 deer compared to 1,731 last year.

In Ripley County, 1,922 deer were taken, well short of the 3,090 taken in 2018.

Butler County hunters tagged 916 deer, which lags behind the 1,568 from a year ago.

In Stoddard County, the season harvest was 1,155 deer. Thatís worse than the 1,264 taken there last year.

In Dunklin County, hunters killed 281 deer, just a little short of last yearís 310.

Wayne County led our area with 2,250 deer taken this season, but that total still is just a fraction of the 3,464 hunters tagged there during the 2018 season.

The top counties in the state this year were Franklin with 4,008, Texas with 3,734 and Callaway with 3,369.

Six accidents were recorded during the season.

With the close of the firearms deer season, Missouriís archery season has opened again. Bowhunters have until Jan. 15 to use any permits they still have.

Youth Deer 2.0

Missouriís second portion of the youth deer season opened today and runs through the weekend. The weather forecast isnít looking too great, so the youngsters may not want to be out for long.

Remember, hunter orange still is required during the youth season, and that includes bowhunters.

The only two firearms deer seasons left this year are the Dec. 6-8 antlerless season in some counties and the statewide alternative methods season set for Dec. 28-Jan. 7.

Getting Stale

The Middle Zone duck season is open again in Missouri, but the ducks didnít seem to get the memo.

Thereís been practically no influx of new birds in a few weeks, so everything in the area is a bit stale, and bird-per-hunter averages at the local managed wetlands are showing it.

At the Otter Slough Conservation Area, there are supposed to be about 36,000 ducks on the property, but the BPH has dropped lately to around 1.5.

At the Duck Creek Conservation Area, where there are supposed to only be about 5,800 ducks, the BPH has fallen well below 1.0. Itís gotten bad enough there that theyíve already started having vacancies.

Also, with all the sheet water in area fields because of recent rains, ducks have spread out as they search for new food sources, so theyíre not concentrating in specific areas as much as normal.

There is a bit of winter weather predicted for the states to our north over the next few days, so maybe that will help push in some new migrants.

Go Deep

According to Charlie Brotherton at Sundowner Marine, there just havenít been many folks fishing on Wappapello Lake lately. That, of course, is to be expected with the deer season going on.

Those who have been giving it a try have been having some success fishing around structure in deeper water along the river channel.

The current round of rain, which is expected to last through a good bit of the weekend, could change things markedly at the lake, depending on how much rainfall hits the region.

Crappie Club

With that in mind, the Wappapello Crappie Club has a tournament scheduled for Saturday.

Fishing is slated to begin at 7 a.m. and will continue through 2 pm. The weigh-in will be at the Sundowner pavilion.

You can register to fish the event beforehand at Sundowner Marine or at the pavilion on the morning of the tournament.

Fur Buyer

Finally, for those of you who have started trapping or hunting furbearers, fur buyer Marc Romine has released his schedule of visits to Poplar Bluffís Sale barn for the winter.

Romine will make stops at the Sale Barn on Jan. 3, Jan. 31, Feb. 21 and March 13.

According to Romine, he will arrive around 9 a.m. on those dates and stay until 11.

Donít expect much in the way of payments, Romine advises, because ďmarkets are weak and faltering.Ē

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