The final numbers for the latest deer hunting season show more hunters than usual going home empty-handed.
Conservation agents blame warm weather for the low deer harvest, but some hunters are skeptical about that explanation.
Kelsey Brandkamp works at Columbiaâ??s Powder Horn Guns and Sporting. She was 8-years-old when she shot her first deer. For the past 12 years, Brandkamp had no problem finding deer. This year was different.
Brandkamp said, â??The first year I deer hunted, we could go out over our four acre food plot and see 40 different deer at night. Now, we are lucky to see 6.â??
Missouri hunters shot only 157,272 deer in the 11-day statewide firearms season in November. Thatâ??s about 50,000 less than the previous year.
The Department of Conservation blames warm, windy weather for the low deer harvest on opening weekend. Experienced deer hunters told me they can remember other years with similar weather conditions when Missouri deer were plentiful. The numbers are the lowest since 1993. Missouri deer hunters like Brandkamp were disappointed.
Brandkamp said, â??It was the first time in 3 years that I havenâ??t killed a deer. Dad didnâ??t kill a deer. Thatâ??s not normal. Normally, we kill at least one mature buck in the family.â??
Brandkamp said itâ??s not the weather causing problems. She said the state allows too many deer to be killed. She said the best way to bring back Missouriâ??s deer population is to have the state lower the amount of deer shot by hunters.
The Department of Conservation also blames a deadly virus called hemorrhagic disease for Missouriâ??s low deer population.