Weather spikes NEMO deer harvests

Anywhere from 50 to 75 deer hunters set their sights near the Troublesome Creek Outfitters in Lewis County every year.

Opening season for firearms in Northeast Missouri saw a drastic drop in deer harvest this year.

The region harvested 11,592 deer last weekend. That's close to five thousand less than opening weekend last year which brought in 16,516 deer.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources attributes the decline to the roller coaster weather pattern the Tri-State area saw this weekend.

"As, is always the case with deer harvest, the most important factor this year was weather," Jim Low, with Mo. DNR said.

Rob Power owns Troublesome Creek Outfitters in Lewistown. He says much of the weekend was a loss.

"Saturday was an unseasonably warm 77 degrees. We took a few in that day. Sunday was a complete washout with the rain," Power said. "That's the second most popular day gun hunters like to get in the woods."

Anywhere from 50 to 75 deer hunters set their sights near Power's Outfitters every year. Most come from the northeast and southwest regions of the country hoping to score the perfect buck.

"The buck activity has been phenomenal this year," Paul Power said. "Our hunters are seeing deer left and right."

About half end up in the bed of the truck.

In conjunction with the weather, another culprit in the lack of deer harvests is an outbreak of the hemorrhagic disease similar to the blue tongue virus.

"They usually get it from a midge in stagnant water. Which causes a very slow death," Rob Power said.

"This was a remarkable drought year, not only in Missouri and Illinois but throughout the Midwest, hemorrhagic disease has been more prevalent this year," Low said.

"We've been lucky here. We've had a lot of creeks and running water so there hasn't been an issue with it. I know there have been some in the county, according to conservation officials, maybe 30 to 50 confirmed in Lewis County, which is pretty small amount compared to the deer population," Rob Power said.

It may have not been the perfect opening weekend, but these hunters will have the rest of the year to make up for it.

"Deer hunters are a persistent bunch. They like their venison and they enjoy hunting and will be out there in full force the rest of the November season and on into the other segments of our deer season and we hope they get a better break from the weather heading forward and hope for a better harvest this year," Low said.

Harvest totals for Lewis County came in at 681 for opening firearm weekend. Last year, hunters hit close to a thousand.

The Nov. firearms season ends Nov. 20th in Missouri. Illinois' first firearm deer season begins Nov. 16th.