Missouri hunters checked fewer deer in the opening days of this year’s firearm season than they did last year.
Missouri hunters checked 100,502 deer over the weekend, down from the 124,324 deer checked in during the first two days of the 2006 season, said Tom Strother of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s central region.
“When there’s that much of a difference, it’s usually weather-related,” Strother said.
Warm temperatures during hunting season make it difficult for hunters to preserve their deer.
“It’s easier to care for deer when the weather is cooler,” Strother said, “They don’t want to ruin their deer meat.”
Cooler weather is expected in Columbia by midweek, which may provide relief for hunters.
Callaway County hunters checked the most deer in Missouri this weekend at 1,984. Boone County checked 1,006 deer.
Strother said that no hunting injuries have been reported in the 15 counties he oversees.
He didn’t have statewide numbers Monday because the Department of Conservation’s main office in Jefferson City is closed for Veterans Day.
Though deer numbers were down over the weekend, Bass Pro’s Big Buck Day, or opening day for firearm deer season, netted an increased amount of deer donated through the store’s Share the Harvest program. Bass Pro collected 55 deer over the weekend, far more than the previous year, said Trip Moynihan, promotions manager for the shop.
The Share the Harvest program donates extra deer meat collected from hunters to the Central Missouri Food Bank.