State deer kill numbers up as fight continues against disease

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JEFFERSON CITY (AP) Missouri hunters are killing more deer after restrictions were lifted in some areas to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease.

The Columbia Missourian reports that nearly 190,000 deer were killed during the first phase of the Missouri firearms season, which ended Tuesday. Missouri officials say that’s up 14.1 percent from last year.

The Conservation Department has been fighting the spread of chronic wasting disease. It produces holes in animals’ brain tissue, causing weight loss, tremors, and, eventually, death.

One strategy this year was to remove antler-point restrictions in 19 north and central Missouri counties that are part of two chronic wasting containment zones. That meant young bucks were no longer protected from hunters. Hunters also were allowed two permits instead of one for antlerless deer in those counties.