I just checked the tally for the ongoing Antlerless Portion of Firearms Deer Season and found that hunters have checked a little more than 13,600 deer since Nov. 25. Compare that to last year’s total of 15,036 for the entire antlerless hunt, then consider the weather forecast for the coming weekend, which is the last two days of this year’s antlerless season. If hunters shoot a modest average of 75 deer per county in the next two days, the antlerless season harvest will top 22,000. That would bring the total for this year’s November and antlerless portions to a little more than 215,000, almost exactly the same as last year’s figure of 215,715!
With average harvests in the muzzleloader and final youth portions of the firearms season, this year’s firearms deer harvest could be about the same as last year, just short of a quarter of a million.
Archers have checked more than 42,000 deer this year. We still have six weeks of bowhunting ahead of us, and bowhunters already are close to last year’s record archery harvest of 44,434.
It wouldn’t take much effort by hunters to push this year’s combined archery and firearms deer harvest up near last year’s figure of 280,000-plus. So get out there this weekend and shoot a doe. If you already have all the venison you want, donate your deer to needy Missourians through Share the Harvest. Details about how to donate are available at www.missouriconservation.org/hunt/deer/share/ or by calling 573-634-2322.