Hunters check in 738 deer on firearms opener
Colder weather, better visibility cause increase of 268 over 2013
Barry County hunters checked in 738 deer during this year's opening weekend for firearms season, which increased by 268 deer over the same period in 2013, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
"Last year's opening weekend was pretty warm, as I recall," said Joe Jerek, statewide news services coordinator for the Conservation Department. "This year, we got colder weather that moved in right before, and most of us got a dust of snow. So, that colder weather prompted deer to move more.
"Snow on the ground made tracking a little easier. A whole lot of leaves dropped with that snowfall, so it was better visibility."
The opening weekend for firearms deer season was Nov. 15 and 16. Barry County hunters checked in 407 antlered bucks, 62 button bucks and 269 does.
Hunters checked in 91,460 deer throughout the state, an increase of 30,014 deer over 2013, according to the department. They checked in 47,914 antlered bucks, 10,023 button bucks and 33,523 does.
Top harvest counties for the opening weekend were Franklin with 1,839 deer, Howell with 1,793 deer and Callaway with 1,791 deer.
Other opening weekend totals for Barry County were 462 deer in 2012, 564 deer in 2011, 716 deer in 2010 and 629 deer in 2009.
Statewide totals showed 69,614 deer in 2012, 89,728 deer in 2011, 97,856 deer in 2010 and 86,202 deer in 2009.
The Conservation Department reported three deer-hunting incidents over opening weekend, with two being fatal. One fatality was in Ste. Genevieve County, where a heater in a hunting blind exploded, killing the hunter.
The second fatality involved a fall from a tree stand in Crawford County. The non-fatal incident involved a hunter in Phelps County shooting himself in the leg while loading his rifle.