Missouri deer hunters got off to a good start on opening weekend of the firearms season Nov. 12-13 when they shot 96,131 whitetails.
But the rest of the season? Well, let’s just say that the harvest rate slowed down considerably.
By the time the 11-day season ended Tuesday, hunters had taken 185,062 deer.
Keep in mind that more than 50 percent of the deer taken in a normal November firearms season are registered on opening weekend. Still, the 2016 total ranked as the third-lowest total in the last 10 years.
It trailed the 2015 total of 186,542, but was still higher than the 2014 mark of 166,383 and the 2013 total of 157,272.
As in recent years, the Ozarks region produced the best hunting. Four of the top five counties in harvest were in southern Missouri – Howell, first with 3,910, Texas third with 3,562, Oregon fourth with 3,268 and Wayne fifth with 3,222.
Only Franklin County in eastern Missouri broke that trend, placing second in the state in harvest with 3,738 deer checked in.
There were three firearms hunting accidents during the season – two from self-inflicted shots and another where a hunter shot another member of his party while aiming at a deer.
There is plenty of deer hunting left in Missouri. The archery season has reopened and will continue through Jan. 15. The firearms late youth season will run Nov. 25-27, the firearms antlerless season will be Dec. 2-4, and the alternative-methods season will be Dec. 24-Jan. 3.