Young Missouri hunters killed 18,091 deer in the first youth weekend deer hunt of the season.

The Daily American Republic in Poplar Bluff says the number marks a 3 percent drop from last year's 18,676. But even with the drop, the harvest was the third-largest since the season was split into two segments in 2008.

The first youth hunt is Nov. 1-2, while the second is Jan. 3-4.

The state Conservation Department says the youth deer hunting season is part of its efforts to recruit new hunters. Hunters must be at least 6 and no older than 15 to participate.