Area hunters taking fewer whitetails
Deer harvest numbers trend down in preliminary report
Barry and Lawrence counties are proving to be the exception to the rule when it comes to deer harvesting.
The Missouri Department of Conservation has released preliminary deer harvest totals for the state, and through Dec. 1, a total 270,570 deer have been checked in with the state as harvested.
The number is slightly behind the 2017-2018 harvest total of 284,477.
However, it should be noted that these are not the official final numbers with deer hunting still ongoing. Official numbers come out after the seasons are over and the data has been cleaned to remove duplicates and incorrect entries. Archery deer hunting continues through Jan. 15, 2019. The alternative methods portion will run Dec. 22 through Jan. 1, 2019.
Last year, those two seasons alone combined for over 52,000 harvested deer.
If that trend holds true, 2018-2019 will surpass last year’s totals.
However, for the bi-county area, the year is shaping up to be a lighter haul in terms of total reported kills.
In 2017-2018, Barry County reported 3,024 kills for all seasons, and Lawrence County checked in with 2,376.
Currently, Barry County has reported a total of 2,228 kills. Last year, the alternative and archery season accounted for 393 additional kills.
Assuming the county holds to that pattern Barry County hunters will kill nearly 400 fewer deer.
In Lawrence County, only 1,866 of the four-legged car damage dealers have been reported. Last season, 2,376 deer were checked in to the conservation agency.
During the alternative and archery season last year, 336 were killed, and if the numbers hold true, the county’s hunters will have taken nearly 200 fewer this season.
So far, 1,165 antlered buck, 197 button bucks and 866 does have been checked in Barry County.
Lawrence County has had 962 antlered bucks, 177 button buck and 727 does taken by hunters.
Franklin County, whose county seat is Union, currently leads the state with 5,433 harvested deer.