Young hunters harvest 168 deer during early portion of youth season

Blaine Watkins killed his first deer, an 8-point buck, while hunting with his dad, Lance Watkins, on the family farm in Dora.

Young hunters ages 6 to 15 took to the Ozark County woods last weekend and bagged a total of 168 deer (109 bucks, 15 button bucks and 44 does) over the two-day youth-specific early deer season. Thirty-four more deer were killed this year compared with Ozark County youth’s total of 134 deer killed last year. Missouri young hunters statewide harvested a total of 17,222 deer.

“The increase in harvest during the early youth portion compared to last year is likely due to the excellent weather over the weekend, which was favorable for deer movement,” said Missouri Department of Conservation deer biologist. “Weather during early youth season last year was particularly poor, with highs in the 80s throughout much of the state.”

Youth in next door Howell County killed a total of 378 deer (181 bucks, 45 button bucks and 152 does) this year, the second-highest total in the state for deer harvested by youth. Osage County came in first with  380 deer. In other counties adjoining Ozark County, Douglas County had 218 deer harvested by youth, and youth from Taney County killed 141 deer.

Youth will have another chance at harvesting a deer the weekend after Thanksgiving, Nov. 24-26, following the regular firearms session, which runs Nov. 11-21. The late portion of the youth firearms was changed last year, expanding it to three days instead of two and moving the season up from late December or early January.

Archery deer season is currently open and will close Nov. 10, in time for firearms season; it will reopen Nov. 22 and run through Jan. 15, 2018. Ozark County will also have a new antlerless portion of firearms deer season that will run Dec. 1-3. The alternative methods season will be held Dec. 23 through Jan. 2, 2018. 

For more information on Missouri hunting seasons or regulations visit the Missouri Department of Conservation website at 

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423