Deer season gets under way

Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Clint Collier is served by Robbie Sanderfur at the hunters' breakfast on Saturday. (Nathan St. Clair)

The smell of coffee and sausage seeped from the door of the Scout cabin in Concordia Saturday morning, as members of the Boy Scout Troop 258 served a hot breakfast to hunters and non-hunters.

Inside the cabin, troop members and leaders were busy handing out tickets and serving patrons.

The first hunters were served at 4:30 a.m. Nathan Brown and Evan Lyons said, however, they did not mind missing out on some sleep to serve the breakfast.

"I had fun," Brown said.

Fundraisers like the hunter's breakfast help raise money to pay for scout camp and buy uniforms and materials for scouts who cannot afford those items, Phil Dierking said.

Dierking said the breakfast went as well as can be expected for the first year. He said there were busy times and slow times.

Several hunters showed up at the beginning before heading into the woods and a few came in after hunting.

During the down times, a "steady stream" of non-hunters stopped in, he said.

Dierking said the troop worked hard and had a good attitude.

"We have a good group of boys," he said.

Also, during the morning, two members of the troop, Clint Collier and Wade Heimsoth, were given new ranks. Collier moved up to second class and Heimsoth to first class.

While the breakfast may have gone well, the opening weekend of the November Firearm Deer Season, did not fare so well.

Overall, hunters in Lafayette County checked in 339 deer Saturday and Sunday, according to Chris Capps, Lafayette County Conservation Agent. He said this year was significantly lower than usual.

In 2008, hunters harvested 438 -- also one of the lowest year's on record.

Capps said the weather most likely was the determining factor behind the low numbers.

He said Saturday's weather was "perfect," but Sunday was not, and a majority of deer are usually checked in on Sunday.

Surrounding counties showed a similar trend.

Johnson County hunters harvested 697 deer, which is down 174 from last year.

In Saline County, 528 deer were checked in with a decrease of 181 from 2008.

Statewide, the harvest experienced a 12 percent decrease, with 86,173 being checked in.

In 2008, 98,296 deer were harvested in Missouri.

"Steady rainfall that soaked much of Missouri on Sunday contributed to a drop in the number of deer taken during the opening weekend of the November deer season," said Gene Fox, Media Relations for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).

Capps said there have been no reported accidents in Lafayette County at this time. He has, however, ticketed several individuals for not wearing proper safety clothing.

"We are taking this very seriously," he said. "It's my job to ensure hunters are in compliance with the law. I'm not there to harass people," but just make sure hunters are safe.

According to the MDC Web site, hunters are required to wear an orange hat or cap and shirt or vest and the orange must be visible from all sides.

Capps said it is vital that hunters properly identify their intended target before firing. He said do not use the scope on a firearm to do this, but rather use binoculars.

"It's just too dangerous" to not follow these safety precautions, he said.

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