Firearms season deer harvest up statewide

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

The November firearms portion of the deer season set a new record statewide with 222,329 deer being checked. The really great news is that the number of deer hunting incidents was significantly reduced from last year. Last year, two fatal and another 10 non-fatal incidents occurred. This year there were only seven non-fatal incidents total.

Hunting in general is a safe activity and deer hunting is not an exception. There are many activities that are not nearly as self-satisfying that are much more dangerous. Take cycling as an example. The bicycle rider is supposed to have the first three feet of the road surface -- from the shoulder of the road -- but how much room does that give a truck meeting another truck? You really have to be nuts to ride a bicycle on a highway, or any busy street for that matter. But off-road bicyclists are often seriously injured as well.

If you put over 300,000 bicyclists on our roadways and off-road terrain all at the same time and kept them there for 11 hours a day for 11 days, I wonder if only seven of them would get hurt? That is how few injuries there were during 11 days of the firearms deer season when the density of hunters in the woods is at its peak -- and not a one of them was killed! In fact, some of the injuries were minor.

Does that mean that seven non-fatal injuries related to hunting during the firearms deer season should be acceptable? Absolutely not! Hunting incidents occur and cycling incidents as well, because someone does something stupid! Hunters did a good job of reducing the number of incidents this year, but why not strive for "0"?

Back to checking deer, the top three deer checking counties in Missouri this year were Texas at No. 3 with 4,072, Callaway checked 4,107 for second and Howell was No. 1 with 4,401.

Locally, the number of deer checked this year and the number of deer checked last year in adjoining counties to Saline was: Carroll 2,374/2,419; Chariton 2,662/3,071; Cooper 1,684/1,456; Howard 2,524/2,691; Lafayette 1,230/1,312 and Pettis 2,196/2,031.

In Saline County, 1,939 deer were checked. Of those, 1,593 were checked in person and 331 landowners took advantage of the tele-check and Internet-check systems. Saline County's November firearms deer season record harvest was in 1997 with 2,032 deer. Even if we add the youth harvest to the count, we still fall 16 deer short.

Please enjoy our Missouri out-of-doors safely!

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