Lower Deer Population Leads to Lower Harvest Numbers

Lower Deer Population Leads to Lower Harvest Numbers

Hunters shot less deer during this November's portion of Missouri Firearms Season and biologists are pointing at several possible factors.
(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.) Hunters shot less deer during this November's portion of Missouri Firearms Season and biologists are pointing at several possible factors.

The 157,253 deer taken this year were 23 percent less than 2012 and 24 percent below the 10-year average.

Biologists with the Missouri Department of Conservation have pointed to several factors for the low harvest; nearly all of them relating to a lower population of deer in the state.

Numbers are down throughout the state because of an unusually severe outbreak of hemorrhagic diseases. Disease impacts populations every year, but are worse in drought years when deer congregate around stagnant water.

A decade-long downward trend in northwest and north-central Missouri could be the result of increased antlerless permits and other regulation changes. Those changes were aimed at thinning the herd in these regions.

Deer populations in southern Missouri are though to be low partially due to high harvest numbers in 2012. The department says low acorn numbers forced deer to move more last year and the popular food source was in abundance this year.

Weather is always a factor in harvest numbers but the department says it had the less influence on this year's harvest than any other factor.


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