No, the Missouri deer season wasn’t like the “good old days.”
But it wasn’t as bad as last year, either. And for many hunters, that was cause for optimism.
Hunters shot 167,020 deer during the 11-day firearms season that ended Tuesday. That was almost 10,000 more than were taken in 2013.
“I don’t think the increase in harvest was so much a reflection of the deer population as it was the weather,” said Emily Flinn, deer biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation. “With the cold and the snow cover (for part of the season), we had near-perfect hunting conditions.”
The list of the top five counties in kill was dominated by familiar names. Howell County in the deep Ozarks was the state leader with 3,417 deer checked in. Franklin (east-central) was second with 3,335, Texas (Ozarks) third with 3,170, Callaway (east-central) fourth with 3,043 and Macon (northeast) fifth with 2,757.
Cass led the Kansas City-area counties with 1,167 deer registered. Jackson had a harvest of 582, Platte 566 and Clay 471.
Deer season, Part II
This will be a season of change for many Missouri deer hunters.
The firearms antlerless season opened Wednesday, one day after the regular deer season. But unlike the past, the season will be filled with restrictions.
Regulation changes by the Department of Conservation, in response to a declining deer herd, restrict Missouri firearm hunters in most counties to only one antlerless deer in all firearms seasons combined. That means if they shot a deer in the just-completed firearms season, they’re done.
There are exceptions. In 14 counties and parts of 6 others, firearms hunters can take two antlerless deer. But that’s still far different than recent seasons, when hunters could take unlimited antlerless deer in some counties.
The hunt for Kansas deer
The much-awaited Kansas firearms deer season will open Wednesday and will run through Dec. 16.
As usual, many hunters will have their sights set on one of the Sunflower State’s trophy bucks. And they’re still out there, according to wildlife biologists.
But the overall strength of the herd is still in good shape too, though numbers have declined somewhat.
“We still have a strong deer population,” said Lloyd Fox, big-game biologist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. “We’re looking for a harvest similar to what we saw last year (89,664 in all seasons combined).”
Eagles on the wing
Cameras, binoculars and spotting scopes will be focused on bald eagles when the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in northwest Missouri presents its annual Eagle Days on Dec, 6-7.
Visitors will be able to view eagles up close and personal and at a distance in the wild. The Dickerson Park Zoo will provide the up-close part, displaying captive eagles during a presentation at the refuge headquarters that will take place hourly from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 6 and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 7.
Those attending Eagle Days also will get a chance to view wild eagles during driving tours of the refuge. Employees of the Missouri Department of Conservation will be at interpretive stops along the wildlife loop to answer questions and provide information about eagles. The tours will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 6 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 7.
Eagle Days is a cooperative effort between the Missouri Department of Conservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other private and public conservation organizations.
Still time to fish
Note to fair-weather fishermen: Read no further. This note isn’t for you.
But for those who don’t mind making casts in the cold, this will come as good news. The Missouri Department of Conservation has stocked trout in several lakes in the Kansas City area.
▪ Coot and Plover lakes at the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area, located at 13101 Ranson Rd., Lee’s Summit, each received 2,500 trout. Honker Pond, open to only kids, also received 500 trout.
▪ The lakes at the Fountain Bluff Sports Complex, 2200 E. Old 210 Highway, Liberty, were stocked with 1,000 rainbows.
▪ Chaumiere Lake, located off Interstate 35 near the intersection of N. Cleveland Avenue and NE 43rd Terrace in Kansas City, North, received 800 trout.
Statewide trout fishing regulations are in effect.
To reach outdoors editor Brent Frazee, call 816-234-4319 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.