COLUMBIA, Mo. -

Conservation officers told ABC 17 News that nice temperatures and rain Saturday slowed hunting down.

However, there is a sign that things will pick up with local hunting shops saying they've been packed the past couple of days.

That is good news for conservation officials who say hunting season plays an important part of deer population control.

"Deer have lost their primary predators so about the only way they can be managed anymore is through hunting. Not only is hunting an effective management tool for all wildlife but it's the most effective in most cases," said Adam Doerhoff with the Missouri department of Conservation.

There are about 1.5 million deer in Missouri this year.

That is down from last year because of the worst disease outbreak the state has ever seen.