ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – Social distancing this year has meant more time spent outdoors and that’s just what hunters like to hear.
Social media pages were filled with pictures from deer blinds this past weekend as Missouri’s firearms deer hunt opened. But the not-so-cooperative weather made the going tough.
The Missouri Department of Conservation reports 80,525 deer were harvested during firearms opening weekend. Once again, Franklin County was one of the counties with the highest harvests.
Last year, hunters checked more than 88,000 deer during the opening weekend firearms season. Weather is being blamed for the down numbers.
“We had pretty rainy, unpleasant conditions on Saturday, which inhibits deer movement and inhibits hunters desire to go out hunting. So that was one thing. That was followed up by windy conditions in certain parts of the state on Sunday,” said the MDC’s Dan Zarlenga.
Chronic Wasting Disease remains a big concern for white-tailed deer and has been found in Missouri. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hunters who harvested a deer were not required to bring it to an CWD sampling station this year. But many hunters still voluntarily participated.
“Of course, it was down as the harvest as a whole was down. Between that and the voluntary nature of the testing, we did see fewer than we have in years past. But we still saw hunters coming in. They were happy to do it. And we appreciate their cooperation because without their cooperation we wouldn’t be able to monitor this disease nearly as well.”
Voluntarily participate in CWD testing: https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/voluntary-cwd-sampling-statewide
Missouri’s firearms deer season continues through November 24, 2020. Archery season resumes November 25. Firearm deer season starts this coming weekend in Illinois.
Missouri Hunting Information: https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/deer
Illinois Hunting Information: https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/hunting