There were a lot of disappointed deer hunters Sunday when the rain hit and slowed down the hunting. Traditionally, deer hunters harvest around 60 percent of the deer that first weekend, but the rain cut down the results and over the first weekend, hunters took 86,202 deer statewide, which was down considerably from previous years.
In Vernon County, hunters took 648 deer, while in nearby counties, the numbers were: Cedar, 627 deer; Hickory, 837 and St. Clair had 1,032 checked in by telecheck. Texas was the leading county with 1,765, followed by Howell with 1,761 and Wayne with 1,587.
There were two non-fatal hunting accidents and one fatality in Calloway County. With better weather and still several days left in the 2009 firearms season, the totals will grow and starting Nov. 25, the firearm antlerless portion will open thru Dec. 6.
Opening day is usually the day when many deer are taken, but after then, the success rate drops off drastically. Jim Thompson, Bolivar, said, "Before the season opened, I had seen more deer than usual so I expected to see more deer taken, but when the rain hit the area on Sunday, things changed.
"On my way to town, I saw several pickups near the woods, but the hunters in their orange were sitting in their trucks and not in the woods. I know several of my hunting friends stayed home to watch football instead of getting soaked. I know the deer are out there so maybe I will still find that big buck I have been watching."
Tom Strickland, Sedalia, is a veteran deer hunter who was in his tree stand an hour before shooting time on Saturday morning. "It didn't take long before I knew hunting success might be off this year. I heard very little shooting and only saw a four-point buck and several small does.
"Usually on opening day, it sounds like a war where I hunt and before noon I have my buck and see lots of others in trucks with happy hunters. When we had check stations, I saw long lines of hunters waiting to have their deer checked, but you can't tell how many hunters locally have taken their deer anymore. With the warm weather just before the season opened, there were lots of hunters scouting their hunting area and I think it caused the deer to head for heavy cover and by opening day they are harder to find."
Jack Jarvis, Moberly, said, "I always know where I will be when the season opens. I have a favorite tree stand where I always see deer and this season was no exception. I had deer running all around me at first light, but then things slowed down.
"I could have shot a doe that was right under my stand, but I was waiting for a big buck, I can get a doe later if I need to. However, my hunting friend, who was in a stand several hundred yards away, shot a 10 pointed around 8:30 and said he saw several other nice bucks. I know the deer are there and its only a matter of time before one will make a mistake and get in the sights of my gun.
One hunter I know had a very good opening day. Jim Low, Jefferson City, shot a button buck followed by a 10-pointer, the largest he had ever taken.
"It was a good opening day for me. I was happy to have my deer processed early and didn't have to go out Sunday when we had three inches of rain," he said.