Abruptly-changing weather during the first weekend of the firearms deer hunting season appears the reason for a 20 percent-plus drop in the deer kill. The Department of Conservation says about 450,000 hunters looking for deer killed about 69,000 of them. A normal first weekend sees about 89,000 deer killed.
Deer biologist Jason Sumners says the 46,000 deer killed on Saturday was about normal. But a mid-day Sunday cold snap and rain cut the second-day take to about half of the Saturday kill.
The department estimates the deer herd in Missouri to be about 1.4 million.
Sumners says department agents were working with meat processors and at other deer check-in stations in six counties — Linn, Chariton, Macon, Randolph, Adair, and Sullivan — to take samples looking for evidence that Chronic Wasting Disease is spreading. He describes the area as a “containment zone” where five cases of CWD have been reported among the free-ranging deer herd in the last two years.
The season continues through next weekend.