November's deer harvest in Missouri may have been the largest in four years, but in Northeast Missouri the 2012 total lagged by 6 percent behind the number taken in 2011.
According to Travis Moore of the Missouri Department of Conservation's (MDC) Hannibal office, weather factored into the decline.
"For the most part we had good weather, but we did have one day in there that was pretty crappy, and whenever we have poor weather like that with the rain, cold and wind that tends to push more people inside. We saw that in north Missouri where they didn't see that as much in other parts of the state," he said.
After the first weekend of the firearms deer season, Northeast Missouri was down by almost 5,000. After the second weekend Northeast Missouri trailed its 2011 total by just 2,000.
"We closed that gap on what we had been down," said Moore.
In a MDC media release, MDC Resource Scientist Jason Sumners says the decline in north Missouri's deer harvest mirrors a decline in deer populations there in the past 10 years.
"A big part of it is the (MDC's) overall strategy. We wanted to reduce the overall size of our herd to reduce the number of (deer-vehicle) accidents and crop damage," said Moore. "We're doing exactly what we planned to do."
Statewide, 204,668 deer were shot during the Nov. 10 through 20 firearms season, which was 7.7 percent more than last year.
Top harvest counties during the season were Howell with 4,037, followed by Texas with 3,916 and Benton with 3,756. Eight of the 10 top harvest counties were south of the Missouri River.
The doe (antler-less season) continues through Sunday, Dec. 2. The alternative methods season runs from Dec. 15 through 25.