Missouri's antlerless deer season comes to an end

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 | 8:49 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA – Missouri's antlerless deer season ended Sunday. Hunters killed 14,439 deer, which is 789 fewer than last year.

The antlerless deer season started Nov. 23. 

Boone County had a total of 245 deer, 195 of which were does and 45 that were button bucks.

The top harvest counties were Benton with 394 deer killed, Pike with 390 and Macon with 378. Boone County finished in the 22nd this year. In 2005, the county ranked third in the antlerless season with 628. 

During the firearms deer season, which took place between Nov. 12 and Nov. 22, 190,089 deer were killed. Boone County ranked in the 32nd with 2,104.

This drop in numbers is due to an epizootic hemorrhagic disease that began three years ago. The disease affected the statewide deer population, especially Boone and Howard counties, according to Sean Ernst, conservation agent in Boone County.

However, the total deer harvest in Missouri during the 2009-2010 season was up over the prior year and was the fourth-largest in state history, according to a previous Missourian report.

Ernst said that this year a lot of people contacted the Missouri Department of Conservation asking questions about regulations. He noticed that during this season there were fewer tickets than in past years in Boone County. 

During this season there have been fewer "hunting incidents," which is the result of hunter education classes and all the work of the conservation department promoting safety, Ernst said.

So far, firearms deer hunters have killed 221,490 deer. There are two seasons left: the firearms muzzleloader portion from Dec.17 to Dec. 27 and the firearms youth portion Jan. 7 and Jan. 8.

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