Missouri's younger hunters bagged more than 19,000 deer in the first youth weekend deer hunt of the season.
The state Conservation Department says hunters ages 6 through 15 killed nearly 19,300 deer this past Saturday and Sunday, up almost 18 percent from last year. The counties with the top harvests were Franklin with 417 deer, Osage with 400 and Howell with 395.
The department says the youth deer hunting season is part of its efforts to recruit new hunters. In 2001, Missouri had about 40,000 deer hunters under age 16, and now there are about 70,000.