The number of deer in Missouri harvested by hunters using firearms this November is down, compared to a year ago, and last year's drought and heat wave may have played a key role.
Jim Low with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) says the extreme heat and drought last summer caused a drop in the deer population in northern and central Missouri.
"We saw a larger than normal outbreak of hemorrhagic diseases," Low said. "We have those every year, but it's worse in drought years because deer are forced to go to limited water sources, where they get bitten by midges that spread these diseases."
As for southern Missouri, less rain last summer meant fewer acorns last fall, causing deer to move around more, and in turn making it easier for hunters to spot them.
"Fast-forward to this year, we had abundant acorns," Low said, "so deer were less visible to hunters, there were fewer of them, and that held down the harvest in the southern part of the state."
Low says overall, November's deer harvest is 23 percent smaller than it was at this time a year ago. Meanwhile, another hunting season, this one for deer without antlers, opened Wednesday morning and runs through December 8th.
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