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Missouri youngsters check 18,676 deer in early hunt

From Missouri Department of Conservation

-- Missouri hunters ages 6 through 15 checked 18,676 deer Nov. 2 and 3. It is the second-largest harvest on record for the state's early youth portion of the firearms deer season.

Top counties for the early youth hunt were Franklin with 424, Osage with 421, and Howell with 409 deer checked.

Emily Flinn, the resource scientist in charge of deer management for the Department of Conservation, says two factors ñ weather and increasing participation ñ contributed to the strong harvest.

Equally important, Flinn says, is the long-term growth of participation. Traditions associated with the November firearms deer season take time to develop. Now in its 13th†year, the youth season is developing its own traditions as experienced hunters discover the rewards of mentoring youths during a season set aside especially for that purpose.

Missouri's first youth hunt in 2001 had approximately 40,000 deer hunters under age 16. By 2012, youth hunters numbered more than 70,000.

Low-cost permits, partnerships with private mentoring programs, an Apprentice Hunter Authorization, and outdoor-skills training have encouraged more Missourians to take up hunting.

Missouri's hunting tradition essential to managing the state's deer herd, also contributes substantially to the state's economy. Deer hunters spend approximately $700 million on their sport annually in Missouri, generating $1.1 billion in business activity and supporting 11,000 jobs.

The next November portion of firearms deer season Nov. 16 through 26 normally accounts for approximately 80 percent of the state's firearms deer harvest.

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