Missouri recorded 15 firearms-related hunting accidents in 2008, the fewest since the Missouri Department of Conservation began keeping records in 1963.
Conservation Department records show that the incidence of firearms hunting accidents peaked in 1986, when 98 people were hurt in such incidents. That was not the most lethal year, however. While only seven hunters died in firearms hunting accidents in 1986, 22 lost their lives in both 1966 and 1970. Twenty perished in firearms hunting accidents in 1963 and 1967.
Missourians are seeing more than the usual number of sick or dead raccoons this winter, but the Missouri Department of Conservation says the animals pose no threat to people or to properly vaccinated pets.
Resource Scientist Jeff Beringer said he is receiving a larger-than-normal number of reports of sick raccoons. Tests on diseased raccoons show that approximately 60 percent have canine distemper.
The broad outlines of Missouri’s spring and fall turkey seasons remain the same as last year’s, but some details, such as permit types and hunter-education requirements for mentors, have changed.
At its December meeting, the Missouri Conservation Commission approved the following 2009 turkey hunting seasons:
· Spring youth season: April 4 and 5.
· Spring season: April 20 through May 10.
· Fall firearms season: Oct. 1 through 31.
Young hunters checked 1,772 deer during the final youth portion of Missouri’s firearms deer season, bringing the year’s youth harvest to 12,172 and the total firearms deer harvest to 238,319.
The 2008-2009 firearms deer hunting season was the first to offer two youth hunting segments of two days each. This year’s youth harvest fell 95 short of last year’s number, a decrease of less than 1 percent.
Top harvest counties during the late youth hunt were Macon, with 50 deer checked, Franklin with 42 and Osage with 38.
2008 was a year of extremes for wild Missouri and those who love the outdoors. High points included fishing records and record rains, while lows included weather-related woes for ground-nesting wildlife, such as quail and turkeys.
The Missouri Conservation Commission started the conservation year in January by inducting Nadia Navarrete-Tindall, of Columbia, into the Conservation Hall of Fame for her efforts on behalf of environmental education. Her diverse roles have included botanist, focus group facilitator, language trainer and environmental educator.