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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

As we saw in Maryland and Massachusetts last week, the annual mast crop of acorns(weather and disease additional factors) has a direct impact on how many deer are killed annually...............Missouri saw close to a 8% rise in deer taken out of the woodlands(2012 versus 2011) due to a poor mast crop...........When acorns and beechnuts are in short supply, Deer are forced to move farther afield to feed themselves which puts them more in the open for hunters to bag.............Despite what some nimrods suggest, hunter removal of Does rather than bucks from the deer population has not led to lowering deer densities in Missouri to under the 15 per square mile ratio that is needed for robust forest regeneration to take place(estimated that Missouri has a too large 21 Whitetails per square mile munching on tree seedlings).............As discussed on this blog, the pre-colonial deer density east of the Mississippi River was 6 to 10 per square mile-------supporting the full suite of native carnivores(wolves/bears/pumas/bobcats/lynx/wolverines/marten/fishers as well as a robust First Nations human population--------What to hunters today sounds puny, these 6 to 10 deer per square mile also enabled complete and full regeneration of our forest and fostererd sustained biological integrity of the landscape

Acorn shortage leads to rise in deer taken in Mo. firearms season--204,000 Deer killed during 11 day hunt
The Missouri Department of Conservation reported the deer harvest, which ran from Nov. 10 through Nov. 20, was strong in the southern part of the state but lower than normal in the north. Three people were killed in firearm-hunting incidents, and five people were injured.

Jim Low, a communication specialist with the Conservation Department, said the state and regional harvest figures mirrored a preseason forecast by resource scientist Jason Sumners, who predicted a poor acorn crop in southern Missouri would drive the numbers up.

Southern Missouri is heavily forested, so acorns are a large part of deer diets in the fall and winter. When acorns are scarce, deer are forced to move around more and they gather near food sources, making them easier for hunters to find.


The 204,668 deer shot during the firearms season were 7.7 percent more than last year but slightly below the 10-year average. Low said eight of the top 10 harvest counties were south of the Missouri River, and a ninth borders the river.

The decline in harvest numbers in the northern part of the state reflects a decline in the deer population over the past 10 years, Sumners said, while numbers are slowly rising in the south. Both of those trends are the result of conservation department efforts to maximize hunting opportunities while avoiding unacceptably high levels of property damage and deer-related auto accidents, he said.
Dave Carlisle, a conservation agent based in Buchanan County north of Kansas City, told the St. Joseph News-Press that fair weather had a negative impact on the deer hunt in the northern part of the state. Deer move around more in colder weather, he said, and are more accessible to hunters.

Carlisle said drought conditions led to hemorrhagic disease, or "bluetongue," which thinned the population in some areas, while a third factor might be that hunters are finally stabilizing the region's large deer population.

"In all sincerity, I think with our antlerless harvest, we're finally leveling off and dipping into the herd," Carlisle said. "If you're someone who has hit two deer in your car, you'll say we have too many deer. If you're the hunter who hasn't shot anything in two years, you'll probably say we don't have enough."

Conservation officials said deer hunting contributes about $1 billion annually to state and local economies and supports more than 12,000 jobs in the state.


Deer hunters in the Show Me State are blessed with an abundance of whitetails and a whole lot of area to hunt them in. Missouri has 68,512 square-miles of space for the deer to roam. Take away cities, suburbs and towns and that area is significantly less. However, based on the entire 68,512 square-miles and a whitetail herd that is estimated to be 1.4 to 1.5 million large, that equals an average of about 21 deer per square mile!



Missouri’s deer herd remains stable; hunters with a little know-how can go just about anywhere in the state and fill at least one tag. The variables that determine harvest numbers nowadays are mast production, weather and deer disease. Of course, none of these X-factors are predictable, but things are looking good for this fall’s deer seasons.

“Overall, I expect to see a slight increase in harvest this year,” Hansen predicted. “I believe that for the most part, deer harvest in northern Missouri will be about the same, while hunters in the Ozarks will take more deer this year.”


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