Weather hampers opening weekend of firearms season

Weather hampers opening weekend of firearms season
Melissa Loyd of Mexico had a successful day of hunting. [Submitted photo]

Deer were scarce on the opening weekend of the November firearms season, at least compared to last year.

Preliminary data from the Missouri Department of Conservation shows that hunters in Missouri harvested 80,525 deer on Nov. 14 and 15. A year ago hunters checked 88,760 deer during opening weekend. In Audrain County, hunters took 636 deer.

Another 173 deer were downed on Monday and early Tuesday around the county.

Top harvest counties for opening weekend were Howell with 1,499 deer harvested, Bollinger with 1,453, and Franklin with 1,446.

In a statement issued on Monday, the MDC noted that poor weather during much of the weekend affected this year’s harvest total. In many areas of the state, hunters dealt with rainy conditions on Saturday, particularly during the morning. Although rain moved out by Sunday, hunters were greeted by strong, gusty winds for most of the day.

That was definitely the case in Audrain County, which was under a tornado watch for several hours on Saturday evening. Deer – and hunters – hunkered down through much of this, emerging as the storm passed.
Of the 80,525 deer taken statewide, 48,695 were antlered bucks, 6,867 were button bucks, and 24,963 were does.

As of Tuesday at noon, 809 had been harvested in Audrain County, with 448 being antlered bucks.

A total of 1,415 deer were downed in the 2019 November firearms season.

The November portion of firearms deer season continues through Nov. 24. Archery season resumes Nov. 25 through Jan. 15, 2021. The late youth portion runs. Nov. 27-29.

The antlerless portion of firearms deer season runs Dec. 4-6 followed by the alternative methods portion Dec. 26 through Jan. 5, 2021.

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