Northeast Missouri is popular this time of year for its deer hunting, but many local businesses worried the drought would have a negative effect on the deer population this year.
This summer’s drought led to a shortage of food for deer and a wider spread of EHD—a disease killing a large number of deer in Missouri. But, according to the state’s Department of Conservation, hunters have so far killed 7.7 percent more deer this year than in 2011.
Garet Nunan is the manager of Nunan Meat Market in Kirksville. The market is the town’s only contributor to “Share the Harvest,” which is a program that supplies venison to local families in need. Nunan says since November 10, the market has received plenty of venison.
“Right now we’ve had over 5,300 pounds of meat that got donated to the local food pantry and Salvation Army. That’s over 2 and a half tons of meat. That’ll feed a lot of people,” Nunan says.
Marsha Jones is MDC’s Conservation Agent for Adair County. She says the season is a huge boost for Kirksville’s economy.
“The hotels are full, the state park is full, restaurants are full, and we start seeing an increase in that into October,” Jones says.
Deer season has many cycles, but residents are currently able to hunt deer with antlers less than 3 inches long through December first. The last day for anyone to hunt a deer in Missouri is on January 15th.