Young hunters in the Show-Me State bagged 18,091 deer in the first weekend of the two-part youth season, at the same time that fall turkey hunters wrapped up one of their worst seasons ever. But does one have to do with the other? Some think more and more prospective turkey hunters are being drawn to the deer woods.

Even though Missouri youth tagged 3 percent fewer deer than last year, the harvest is the third-largest since the season was split into two weekends—one in November and one in January—in 2008. And a resource scientist with the Missouri Department of Conservation told the Daily American Republic that deer numbers in southeast Missouri are stable or slowly increasing.

Meanwhile, the fall firearms turkey season ended on October 31 with a statewide harvest of 5,691 birds—that’s 4 percent lower than last year and the second-lowest harvest on record. DOC scientist Jason Isabelle said it isn’t due to lack of birds.

“We had better production this year, but not many folks take advantage of the fall season. There’s been a long-term declining interest,” he said. Permit sales were also some of the lowest on record, down 6 percent. Isabelle thinks the rising popularity of archery deer season is to blame.

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