Views Mixed on Deer Firearm Season

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JEFFERSON CITY - With an increase in deer killings last week during the youth firearm hunting period, scientists and deer hunters made their own predictions Thursday on what the eleven day firearm season will bring.  Youth hunters took more than 16,000 deer during the weekend hunt, but adult hunters believe that won't impact the main deer season either positively or negatively. 

Tony Hancock is a deer hunter in Missouri.  While he prefers to go to northern Missouri to hunt, he said he has heard stories from friends on how deer in mid-Missouri are as big as ever.  Hancock credits the weather for the large deer size and expects deer numbers to increase over last year. 

However, Missouri Conservation Department resource scientist Jason Sumners disagrees.  He said he expects deer numbers in mid-Missouri to continue to decrease. 

"The deer population still has not recovered from the 2007 outbreak in Boone County," he said. 

The outbreak he refers to is the hemorrhagic disease that has steadily decreased deer numbers in Boone County and mid-Missouri. 

But Jim Low, a mid-Missouri deer hunter, said his tracking camera located more deer in his area than last year.  He said he thinks the weather will help this year's outlook because it is cold and only slightly windy.  His only concern is the acorns because "deer will stay closer to their nesting ground to find food," he said.  When asked on how the youth hunt could impact the season, he said he would gladly give up one or two deer on his property to teach younger kids to hunt. 

Sumner also said the reason for the number increase in the youth hunt is because the season started a week later than usual.  That way it did not interfere with Halloween, and it was closer to the mating season. 

Adult firearm deer season starts this weekend and lasts for 11 days.