posted on March 14, 2011 09:14
By Mike Handley
Morgan Wallace with her 210 5/8-inch (composite) buck from Gentry County
A trio of outstanding northern Missouri bucks was showcased in this space last week, testament to the caliber of whitetails to be found north of Interstate 70, which connects the dots of St. Louis and Kansas City. Even without poring through records, I know the Show Me State was among the top yielders of book bucks in 2010.
I failed to mention, however, that a fair share of last season’s gigantic deer were shot by unlicensed hunters ... as in those too young to buy a regular hunting license. Seems more and more deer hunters are taking advantage of the state’s youth hunt to take kids afield, and the little ones are making their shots count.
I’ve grown accustomed to writing at least one magazine story a year featuring a kid and a colossal whitetail from Missouri. This time around, even more ink will be dedicated to half-pints and their bucks with 10-gallon racks. Two of the best were taken by little girls named Morgan -- Wallace and Reed – on Oct. 30.
Morgan Reed and her dad with her 186 6/8-inch (composite) buck from Warren County
Even without the tally from the two-day January youth hunt, the harvest from the early season (Oct. 30-31) was the third-largest in the program’s 10-year history. Missouri hunters between the ages of 6 and 15 checked 13,263 deer, only a couple hundred less than the all-time high from 2004.
From 2001 through 2007, the youth portion of firearms deer season ran for two days in late October or early November. In 2008, the Conservation Department added two days of youth hunting in January. The harvest during the late youth hunt has been small compared to the early portion, averaging a little more than 1,700.
I haven’t seen the figures for the two days in January, but I feel safe in saying the whole field of young hunters wasn’t skunked, which should make 2010 the best ever for young guns.