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      Firearm deer season off to slow start

      Carl Baclesse prepares a deer carcass at his processing facility near Linn. Baclesse said hunters brought in fewer deer on the first day of firearm season than they usually do.

      A Linn-area meat processor told KRCG 13 Saturday hunters brought in fewer deer on the first day of firearm season than he has seen in the past.

      Carl Baclesse said hunters had brought in seven deer by Saturday afternoon, though he added he expected more to come in that evening. He said hunters used to bring in as many as 50 deer on the first day of firearm season in the past. Last year, he said hunters brought in about 100 deer in total, compared to 300 during normal years.

      "Last year we had, I think, 20-something in the first day," he said. "During the week it got better, but the opening day was pretty bad last year, too."

      Baclesse said he does not expect the decline in numbers to impact his business. He said he is still participating in the Share the Harvest program, which allows hunters to donate deer meat to local food pantries. Baclesse said he sent about 2,500 pounds of meat to food pantries in Linn and Belle last year.

      According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, the main portion of firearm season continues through Tuesday, Nov. 26. Hours run from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset. Hunters may take one antlered deer during the firearms deer season, including the two youth firearm sessions.