CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Harvest numbers from 2015 have been released and you may want to rethink where you hunt.
The sound of a shotgun going off is what many Missouri hunters will be hearing when firearm deer hunting season starts in a few weeks.
Missouri Department of Conservation estimates thousands of deer will be up for grabs in 2016 as more than 30,000 were harvested just last season.
"Our numbers from last year are dependent on several factors," conservationist A.J. Hendershott said. "First of all its deer population density, it's the habitat that's there, what's the acorn crop, it's also dependent upon the weather and the hunter density."
Missouri Department of Conservation and Game & Fish Magazine reports all the counties you see in yellow were top harvest counties in 2015.
(Source: Game & Fish Magazine)
Here in southeast Missouri, Cape Girardeau, Bollinger and Wayne Counties were the places to be if you wanted to harvest deer.
"They have some of the highest hunter densities in the state," Hendershott said. "You can have anywhere from six to nine hunters per square mile, so that means you have several people out in the field, but there also is a lot of habitat for the deer."
In other words, you don't have too far to find your perfect hunting spot.
"This year, I consider any hot spot the place you know, if you know the geography, the habitats that's out there and how the deer are moving in that particular area, that's the place you need to be!" Hendershott said.
There's no predictions for the amount of harvest expected for this year, but conservationists are hopeful for a continued safe deer hunting season.