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Youth find plenty deer hunting in Osage County

by Ryan Pivoney | December 1, 2022 at 4:02 a.m.
Missouri Department of Conservation graphic

Osage County was one of the top yielding areas in Missouri for youth deer hunters this season.

Hunters ages 6-15 harvested 367 deer in Osage County between the early and late youth portions of this year's firearms deer season. It's the second most of any Missouri county, according to preliminary data from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Youth deer hunting in Missouri is split between an early portion running Oct. 29-30 and the late portion Nov. 25-27. Hunters are restricted to taking one deer during the early youth portion and one antlered deer during the entirety of the firearms deer season.

MDC released preliminary figures for the late youth portion Monday. Of the 2,941 total deer harvested, 1,336 were antlered bucks, 1,278 were does and 327 were button bucks.

Osage County had the third-highest yield during the late youth portion with 52 deer harvested. It fell just behind Lincoln County with 82 deer harvested and Franklin County with 65 deer taken.

The 52 deer harvested from Osage County last weekend were added to the roughly 315 deer taken during the early youth portion of the season in October to put Osage near the top of total deer harvested by youths this firearms season. The 367 deer hunted in the county was only surpassed by 406 deer harvested in Franklin County.

Youths culled more than 16,800 total deer in Missouri this year, approximately 13,900 during the early portion and more than 2,900 during the late portion.

MDC Cervid Program Supervisor Jason Isabelle said harvest totals for the late youth portion of the season have ranged from about 2,000 to just under 4,000 for the past several years.

Last year, youth hunters killed 3,534 deer during the late portion, 1,498 of which were antlered bucks, 1,646 were does and 390 were button bucks.

"It's typical to see quite a bit of variability in the number of deer taken during our shorter season portions, due primarily to the effect of weather on deer movement, the number of hours hunters spend in the field, or both," Isabelle said in a news release Monday.

"This year's harvest total was slightly below average, but that wasn't unexpected given the rain that moved through portions of the state Saturday evening and Sunday morning," he continued.

With 51 deer harvested last weekend, Callaway County fell just shy of Osage County. Morgan County had 43 deer harvested, Miller and Cooper counties each had 36 deer harvested and Boone County had 33 deer harvested. Moniteau and Maries each had 25 deer harvested and Cole County had 21.

Callaway County had the sixth-most total deer harvested by youths this season with 280. Miller County also cracked the top 10 with 250 total deer harvested by youth. Morgan and Maries counties each had more than 230 total deer, while Boone, Cole, Moniteau and Cooper counties each had less than 200.

Hunters found less success in Osage County during the larger November firearms deer season, which ran Nov. 12-22.

Of the total 197,923 deer harvested during the season, approximately 102,729 were antlered bucks, 78,248 were does and 16,946 were button bucks, according to preliminary data from MDC.

Franklin County remained the hotspot with the most deer harvested at 4,182, followed by Texas County with 3,609.

Callaway County had the third-largest harvest with 3,421 deer taken during the course of the season. Osage County had the 10th-largest harvest with 2,657 deer taken.

Morgan County was close behind with 2,647 deer harvested during firearms season. Boone County had 2,193 deer harvested, but the remaining Mid-Missouri counties ranged from 1,266 in Cole County to 1,845 in Miller County.

MDC has found two cases of Chronic Wasting Disease so far this season, both inside management zones it established earlier this year. One case was in Franklin County and the other was in Adair County.

Of the total 22,932 deer that have been tested both inside and outside CWD management zones, 10,883 results have come back negative while 12,047 remain pending, according to MDC's regularly updated dashboard.

The archery deer season, which began Nov. 23, runs through Jan. 15. The antlerless portion of the firearms deer season runs Dec. 3-11 in most of the state, followed by the alternative methods portion from Dec. 24 through Jan. 3.

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