By DAN FOX
Lincoln County youths bagged 203 deer in the early youth portion of the 2018 hunting season, according to the preliminary data from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). The early portion was open from Oct. 27-28, during which 13,560 deer were harvested throughout the state of Missouri.
“That [the youth portion] was focused for young hunters, ages six to 15,” said MDC media specialist Dan Zarlenga.
Zarlenga said the early portion gives kids and young adults the chance to get out into the woods before all the other adults do and hunt in a lower-pressure environment. It also provides opportunities for mentoring younger kids on the sport. A second youth portion runs from Nov. 23-25 later in the season. One of the young local hunters in the field during the early portion was Kyla Tepen of Hawk Point. Her father, Josh Tepen, said this was Kyla’s second year hunting; last year she also participated and shot a small buck. This year, Kyla walked away with an eight-point buck.
“We hunted most of the day Saturday, but didn’t see anything close enough,” Josh Tepen said. “We sat in the stand for about an hour on Sunday before [she] shot her buck.”
Numbers from the MDC show that young Missouri hunters harvested 13,560 deer during Missouri’s early youth portion of the 2018 deer-hunting season, which ran Oct. 27-28. This is down from last year’s harvest total for the early youth portion, which was 17,412.
Lincoln County’s tally of 203 is down compared to last year as well, with a total of 243 deer harvested in 2017’s early portion.
Over half of Lincoln County’s 203 deer were antlered bucks (108), with 23 button bucks and 72 does rounding out the early total. Josh Tepen said the youth portion gives the kids a chance to go out all by themselves and not have to deal with all the hunting pressure from the general gun season.
“Having the youth-only season makes it all about the kids, it gives them their time to shine and hopefully come away from their hunt with a positive experience they will want to try again in the future,” Josh Tepen said.
The top three Missouri counties for the 2018 early youth portion were Howell with 350, Osage with 316, and Franklin with 263 deer checked. Zarlenga said Lincoln was ranked exactly in the number 10 spot.
“Still a really good, solid showing,” Zarlenga said.
The main firearms hunting season is approaching, and will run from Nov. 10-20. The season is shaping up well, Zarlenga said, adding that the MDC will again be requiring mandatory testing for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) for deer harvested in 31 of Missouri’s counties.
Lincoln County is not one of these, however neighboring St. Charles, Warren and nearby Franklin counties are. Maps and more information on CWD can be found at mdc.mo.gov/cwd.
Archery deer hunting continues through Nov. 9 and again from Nov. 21 through Jan. 15, 2019. The Nov. 10-20 firearms portion will be followed by the late youth portion of firearms deer season on Nov. 23-25.