A gloomy dawn illuminated the hardwood timber lands on opening morning of the Missouri youth season and the peppering rain showed no sign of letting up. A weak storm front had formed overnight providing hunters a soggy proposition, not to mention a wet rear end. Young up and coming hunters all across the State toughed out the weather and made the forest echo with the sound of rifle shots as many of them harvested their first deer.
Ripley County is nestled in the Ozark foothills along the banks of the pristine Current River. There is an abundance of both privately owned and public hunting land, including a vast swath of Mark Twain National Forest. The area has historically produced some very nice trophy whitetail bucks due to good stewardship by landowners and the Missouri Department of Conservation.
There is a close knit sense of community at the County Seat located in Doniphan and the local news paper, the Prospect News fosters that spirit well. For decades the Paper has supported the local student’s sporting events and graciously photographed young hunters with their deer and turkey, promoting self esteem and a sense of belonging.
The Prospect News reported; After ranking tenth in the state last year,according to the Missouri Department of Conservation, the 249 deer taken in Ripley County during the two day hunt was good enough to place fourth out of 114 counties.
Southern Missouri, like most rural areas, is a place where they still believe in working hard and playing harder. Residents here take deer hunting seriously, youth hunters as well as the “Big Kids” anticipate opening day as much as Christmas morning.
It’s gratifying to see the next generation embracing the culture of the hunt, inherited from their fathers and their grandfathers before them. Thanks to these fine young men and women, in Ripley County the tradition will live on.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announced that young hunters ages 6 through 15 checked 14,095 deer during Missouri’s early youth portion of the 2015 deer hunting season, which ran Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Top counties for the early youth portion were Franklin with 338, Osage with 337, and Howell with 288 deer checked. Last year’s harvest total for the early youth portion was 18,091.
Get more information on deer hunting in Missouri through MDC’s free 2015 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet available where permits are sold, from MDC regional offices and nature centers, and online at mdc.mo.gov.