Hunters with front-loading firearms shot 12,940 deer during Missouris 11-day muzzleloader season, bringing this years firearms deer harvest total to more than 230,000 statewide.
The muzzleloader harvest was the third-largest in the seasons 23-year history and well above the 10-year average of 11,312. Top muzzleloader harvest counties were Oregon with 277 deer killed, Macon with 268 and Franklin with 267.
Snowfall, which makes deer more visible to hunters, may have boosted this years muzzleloader harvest, according to Lonnie Hansen, a resource scientist with the Missouri Department of Conservation.
We had snow on the ground for both weekends of this years muzzleloader season, said Hansen. The weather during some of the season was pretty extreme, and that might actually have held down the harvest a little. Overall, though, I think the weather probably was a help to hunters.
The final segment of Missouris firearms deer season is the late youth portion Jan. 1 and 2. The harvest during last years late youth hunt was 1,706.