Opening weekend is an exciting time for whitetail deer hunters not just in Missouri but all over the country. As hunters make their way out into the woods for the first hunt of the season, there is a certain electricity in the air, a hopefulness that this hunt will bring a great bounty. Aches and pains are forgotten as hunters trek determinedly out into nature, looking forward to forgetting about their real world woes and replacing them will the joys of an opening weekend harvest.
For many people, that is exactly what happened on the recent opening weekend for 2014's November Portion of Firearms Deer Season. As Missouri hunters set out in the woods and painted the state in camo, their unified hunting efforts brought in the second highest number of deer harvested since 2010. That number is a staggering 91,460 deer which is up significantly from last year's numbers. In the year 2013, 61,446 were harvested on this very same opening weekend, so 2014 boasts a nearly 30,000 deer increase.
Photo: North American Whitetails
If you were one of the hunters that bagged a whitetail in Missouri this weekend, we extend our congratulations to you. Hunters in the counties of Franklin, Howell, and Callaway were particularly successful, rounding out the top three for most deer harvested. Their deer counts tally in at 1,839 for Franklin County, 1,793 for Howell County, and 1,791 for Calloway County.
While the success of this year's firearms season thus far is enough to get most anyone excited, there are a few things to remember when setting out on a hunt. In moments of eager anticipation, safety is something we must not overlook. This means outfitting yourself properly for the weather you may face as well as engaging in proper weapons handling to keep yourself and others safe at all times. Safety does not end there, however, and it is important to take all the precautions necessary to make it through the day, night, or weekend with your health intact.
Photo: Live Outdoors
Along with the 91,460 whitetails harvested in Missouri this weekend, there were three hunting incidents that took place this weekend. In one case, a hunter shot himself in the leg while loading his rifle, which resulted in a non-fatal injury. However, the other two incidents were fatal and neither of these fatalities involved a firearm. One instance involved a heater explosion that killed a hunter and the other was a fall from a tree stand.
While this loss of life is tragic, it should serve as a reminder to the rest of us that safety is essential to practice at all times when hunting. It is of the utmost importance to leave no stone unturned. Even though to some it gets old when safety is brought up time and time again, ensuring your own wellbeing as well as that of others will you is probably the most rewarding part of the hunt when it comes right down to it, therefore we should take nothing for granted.
Were you a part of the 91,460 successful hunters this weekend? Let us know about your harvest in the comments!