Brayden Palmer Deer Photo

Brayden Palmer, 7, shot this 4-point buck during his first youth hunt Sunday, Nov. 1. Submitted Photo.


MDC Reports Lowest Number of Deer

Harvested in Franklin County Since 2013

Less than ideal weather conditions prevented many Franklin County hunters from having successful hunts during the first two days of the annual deer hunting season, according to officials with the Missouri Department of Conservation. 

Conservation Agent Todd Wright said bouts of heavy and steady rain on Saturday and brisk winds on Sunday forced many hunters to retreat from their tree stands and ground blinds. 

“The weather ended up being more of a factor than we expected,” Wright said. “Though the numbers are down for the weekend, I would expect that we are going to see those numbers climb through the rest of the season.” 

The first two days of the season, Franklin County hunters reported harvesting 1,446 deer — the fewest number of deer killed over opening weekend in the county since 2013. That year, hunters reported harvesting 1,041 deer, including 508 bucks, 141 button bucks and 392 does. 

For comparison, Franklin County has harvested more than 2,000 deer during opening weekend each year since 2015. The record for most deer killed over the two-day period during that time frame was in 2019 when hunters harvested 2,078 deer, including 1,238 bucks, 175 button bucks and 655 does. 

“There is still plenty of time left in the season, the rut is still going on, and we have a significant deer population here in Franklin County,” Wright said. 

The “rut” is the time of the year when white-tailed deer, especially bucks, are more active and less cautious than usual as the buck has one thing on his mind: find as many does as he can. 

Despite the weather conditions, Franklin County still ranked third in the state for most deer killed over opening weekend. Howell County, on the Missouri-Arkansas border, led all other counties with 1,499 deer harvested. Bollinger County, near the Bootheel, ranked second with 1,453 deer harvested. 

Statewide, hunters harvested 80,525 deer, including 48,695 bucks, 6,867 button bucks and 24,963 does.

Wright said he was pleased to see the county’s harvested deer report climb on Monday as local hunters reported killing 142 deer from sunrise to noon. 

“That kind of harvest is great for a Monday,” he said.

Wright said he was especially pleased to see a number of young hunters having successful hunts this past weekend.

“Missouri has done a great job of training the next generation of hunters, who will continue the sport and continue to partner with the Missouri Department of Conservation to manage wildlife populations,” Wright said. 

For hunters still seeking their first harvested deer of the season, Wright offered this advice: stay in the woods and be near a food source. 

“If you can be near a food source, like an area where there are lots of acorns on the ground or a cornfield where the deer will come to graze on any loose grains left behind, then you should have success. The other thing I would tell those hunters is that the more time you can stay in the woods, the better your odds are going to be,” said Wright, who added that the ideal time for deer hunting is from sunrise to 9 a.m. and again from 3 p.m. to dusk.  

The November portion of firearms deer season continues through Nov. 24. Archery season resumes Nov. 25 through Jan. 15, 2021. The late youth portion runs. Nov. 27-29. The antlerless portion of firearms deer season runs Dec. 4-6 followed by the alternative methods portion Dec. 26 through Jan. 5, 2021.