Callaway tops Central Missouri deer hunt

The 3,308 deer shot in Callaway County was the highest deer harvest in Central Missouri during the 11-day firearms deer season ending Nov. 20.

Statewide the deer kill was 204,668 during the November portion of Missouri’s firearms deer season, a 7.7 percent increase compared to last year’s total.

Callaway County recorded the sixth highest total deer killed in the state.

Of the 3,308 deer taken in Callaway County during the November firearms season, 1,154 were antlered bucks, 511 button bucks, and 1,643 does.

Jason Summers, Missouri Department of Conservation resource scientist, said the deer harvest confirmed his prediction of the strongest harvest in southern Missouri because of a poor acorn crop in that region.

The southern half of the state below the Missouri River is dominated by forest and acorns make up a greater part of the diets of deer during the fall and winter months.

A scarcity of acorns, Summers said, forces deer to move more and concentrates them around limited food resources. This makes them easier for hunters to find.

Callaway County has corn crops along the Missouri River and heavily forested areas in its southern region of the county.

Callaway County had the largest deer kill of any county located north of the Missouri River and the highest total of any county in Central Missouri. Central Missouri had a 10 percent increase in deer kill, compared to the statewide average of 7.7 percent.

The deer harvest totals for Central Missouri in order are: Callaway, 3,308; Camden, 3,285; Morgan, 3,183; Osage, 3,055; Gasconade, 2,952; Miller, 2,395; Maries, 1,898; Boone, 1,779; Audrain, 1,320; Cole, 1,178; and Moniteau, 1,161.

Counties located south of the Missouri River with higher deer harvest totals than Callaway were Howell, 4,037: Texas, 3,916; Benton, 3,756; Franklin, 3,650; and Oregon, 3,398.

The Missouri Department of Conservation recorded five nonfatal and three fatal firearms-related hunting accidents during the 11-day November firearms deer hunt.

Summers said the southeast region of Missouri had the largest harvest increase of 30 percent, and the Ozark region had a 24 percent increase.

Summers said the decline in the deer harvest in north Missouri reflects the decline in deer populations there for the last decade.

At the same time deer populations have increased steadily in southern Missouri.

Summers said overall Missouri has a strong, healthy deer herd despite the fact that some counties have experienced an increase in hemorrhagic diseases.

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