Missouri is one of the most captivating states for hunting in the USA. With its diverse landscapes and rich wildlife, hunters are presented with countless opportunities to experience the thrill of the hunt. However, before embarking on a hunting expedition in Missouri, it is crucial to be well-informed about the state’s hunting regulations and licensing requirements. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore Missouri’s hunting regulations, the wildlife you can hunt, the necessary licenses, and some of the best hunting lands available. So, gear up and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!
Missouri Hunting Regulations
Missouri takes its hunting regulations seriously to ensure the preservation of wildlife and maintain a balance in its ecosystems. As a hunter in Missouri, it is essential to be aware of these regulations to avoid any legal complications and contribute to sustainable hunting practices.
Restrictions for Convicted Felon Hunters
Convicted felons are prohibited from possessing firearms while hunting in Missouri. This restriction includes muzzleloaders, but exceptions are made if the individual’s firearm possession rights have been restored at the state or federal level. However, archery, air rifles, and bows are not covered under this restriction.
Loaded Firearm Restrictions
In Missouri, a firearm is considered loaded if any of the following conditions are met:
- The magazine or chamber contains shells.
- The nipple possesses a percussion cap.
- The frozen pan contains gunpowder.
For crossbows, they are considered loaded when they are cocked.
Shotguns used for hunting migratory birds in Missouri are subject to restrictions. They can only have a maximum of three shells in both the chamber and magazines. If a plug is needed to limit the firearm’s capacity, it must be a piece that adheres to this regulation.
Hunting with Suppressors
Hunting with suppressors in Missouri is allowed, provided they are lawfully permitted for hunting purposes. However, hunters must obtain permission from the landowner if they plan to hunt with suppressors on private lands.
Archery Equipment Regulations
While hunting games, wildlife, and feral hogs in Missouri, hunters can make use of compound bows, recurve bows, longbows, and crossbows. However, it is crucial to use broadhead arrows for hunting games like deer and feral hogs. Other requirements, such as draw weight and arrow length, are not regulated for Missouri hunting.
Prohibited Hunting Activities in Missouri
There are several activities that are strictly prohibited while hunting in Missouri:
- Hunting on private lands without the landowner’s permission.
- Hunting under the influence of alcohol.
- Possessing, importing, holding, or releasing wildlife without a valid permit from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
- Hiding the possession of illegally obtained games and wildlife or their body parts.
- Killing or crippling a game without the intention of taking or retrieving them.
- Hunting or firing at farm deer and exotic wild animals kept under wildlife licenses.
- Shooting a firearm from the opposite side of a major road.
- Hunting from vehicles, including motorboats, powerboats, and aircraft.
- Buying or selling games or their body parts, except for specific exceptions like antlers and hides.
- Discharging firearms remotely using computers or similar devices for hunting games and wildlife.
- Using substances like chemicals, drugs, poisons, etc., to hunt games in Missouri.
- Using baits, pitfalls, hooks, nets, snares, decoys, deadfalls, etc., to take games in Missouri.
- Using communication devices while pursuing games and wildlife.
- Disturbing or harassing games and wildlife in their dens, holes, or living spaces.
- Shooting a firearm within 50 yards across any public road in Missouri.
- Blinding wildlife with lights while hunting them.
Hunters Dressing Regulations
During specific hunting seasons in Missouri, hunters and their escorts are required to wear fluorescent yellow outer clothing. The cloth should cover an area of at least 550 square inches and be visible above the hunter’s waist level. This regulation is essential for safety and helps prevent accidents during hunting expeditions. However, there are exceptions, and certain hunting seasons may not require fluorescent yellow dressing.
Hunting While Open Carry
Open carry is legal while hunting in Missouri, including during bow hunting sessions. This allows hunters to carry firearms openly for self-defense or other lawful purposes while engaging in hunting activities.
Missouri’s Hunter’s Protection Law
To preserve hunting activities and ensure a safe environment for hunters in the state, Missouri has enacted the Hunter’s Protection Law. This law encompasses various provisions that protect hunters’ rights and penalize those who interfere with hunting, trapping, and fishing activities. Some of the key provisions include:
- Interference with hunting, trapping, and fishing activities is considered an offense under Missouri’s hunter harassment laws.
- Deliberately pursuing or disturbing game animals in a way that interferes with hunting activities is a violation of the law.
- It is unlawful to disturb or harass hunters with legal rights to hunt in wildlife or forest areas.
- Trespassing on privately or publicly owned land designated for hunting without obtaining permission from the owner or authorized personnel is prohibited.
By upholding these laws, Missouri aims to ensure a safe and enjoyable hunting experience for all its residents and visitors.
Missouri Hunting Licenses, Permits, and Tags
Before embarking on a hunting journey in Missouri, hunters must obtain the necessary licenses, permits, and tags based on their residency and age. The Missouri Department of Conservation issues various licenses to residents and non-residents, each designed for specific hunting purposes. Let’s explore the different types of licenses available:
Missouri Residents License
Missouri residents can obtain the following licenses:
- Hunting Licenses: This license is available to residents aged 16 and above and allows hunting within the state. The cost of this license is $19.
- Hunting Licenses for Seniors: Senior residents aged 64 and above can apply for this license, which costs $13.
- Hunting and Habitat License: This comprehensive license allows residents to engage in both hunting and trapping activities. There are two types available: a one-year license for $30 and a three-year license for $86.
- Migratory Game Birds Permits: This permit enables residents to hunt migratory birds in Missouri and costs $10.
- Federal Duck Stamp: Hunters who wish to hunt ducks in Missouri must obtain a federal duck stamp, which costs $25.
- Apprentice License for Hunting and Habitat: This license is intended for apprentice hunters in Missouri and allows them to participate in hunting and trapping activities. The cost of this license is $30.
- Furharvester License: Residents engaged in harvesting fur-bearing games require this license. There are two types based on age requirements: one for hunters aged 16 and above at $22.5 and another for hunters under the age of 16 at $75.
- Hunting and Fishing License: This combined license grants residents the privilege of both hunting and fishing and costs $47.
- Lifetime Hunting License for Senior Residents: Senior residents can obtain this lifetime license for hunting in Missouri, priced at $52.5.
- Lifetime Fur Harvester License for Senior Residents: Similar to the lifetime hunting license, this license is available for senior residents interested in harvesting fur-bearing games, costing $52.5.
- Deer Permit: For residents focused solely on deer hunting in Missouri, the deer permit is a requirement, and it costs $28.5.
- First Antlerless Deer Permit: This initial Missouri deer hunting license allows hunters to take antlerless deer and is priced at $28.5.
- Subsequent Antlerless Deer Permit: For hunters looking to expand their deer hunting activities, this permit allows the taking of additional antlerless deer at a cost of $13.
Non-Residents Hunting License
Non-residents who wish to hunt in Missouri can obtain the following licenses:
- Non-residents Hunting Licenses: This license is available to non-residents aged 18 and above, allowing hunting within the state at a cost of $112.
- Junior Non-residents Hunting License: Young hunters under the age of 18 can apply for this license, which costs $32.
- Non-residents Habitat Fee License: Non-residents interested in trapping can obtain this license at a cost of $13.
- Non-residents Hunting and Habitat Combination License: Similar to the resident license, this combined license allows non-residents aged 18 and above to participate in both hunting and trapping activities at a cost of $123.
- Non-residents Migratory Game Bird Permits: This permit enables non-residents to hunt migratory bird games in Missouri, priced at $10.
By acquiring the appropriate licenses, both residents and non-residents can enjoy the exciting hunting opportunities that Missouri has to offer.
Missouri Hunting Season
Missouri offers a diverse range of hunting seasons for various game animals, providing hunters with a year-round opportunity to pursue their passion. Let’s explore some of the key hunting seasons in Missouri:
Missouri Deer Hunting Seasons
- Youth Hunting Season: This season takes place from September 19th to October 4th, providing young hunters with a chance to experience the thrill of deer hunting.
- Disabled Hunters Season: Occurring from September 16th to October 4th, this season allows disabled hunters to enjoy hunting in accessible areas.
- Archery Hunting Seasons: From October 1st to December 4th and October 21st to January 10th, archery hunters can test their skills and patience.
- Early Muzzleloader Firearm Season: Taking place from October 17th to October 25th, this season caters to hunters using muzzleloader firearms.
- Late Muzzleloader Firearm Season: From December 21st to January 10th, hunters have the opportunity to utilize muzzleloader firearms once again.
- First Season for Regular Firearm: Occurring from December 5th to December 9th, this season is open to hunters using regular firearms.
- Second Season for Regular Firearm: From December 12th to December 20th, hunters can continue using regular firearms for their hunting activities.
- Holiday Antlerless Season: Running from December 24th to January 2nd, this season allows hunters to target antlerless deer.
For each deer harvested in Missouri, a specific permit is required, so hunters must ensure compliance with the state’s regulations.
Missouri Turkey Hunting Seasons
- Fall Hunting Season for Guns and Bows: From October 12th to December 4th, hunters can participate in turkey hunting using guns and bows.
- Fall Hunting Season for Archery: This season takes place from October 1st to December 4th and from December 21st to January 10th, giving archery enthusiasts ample opportunities to hunt turkeys.
Missouri Small Games Hunting Season
- Youth Rooster Pheasants Hunting Season: Running from October 24th to October 25th, this season allows young hunters to engage in rooster pheasant hunting.
- Rooster Pheasant Hunting Season: From October 31st to January 10th, hunters can take part in rooster pheasant hunting.
- Quail Hunting Season: Occurring from October 31st to January 31st, this season caters to quail hunters.
- Fox Hunting Season: Starting on September 5th and extending until January 31st, this season allows hunters to pursue foxes.
- Gray Squirrel Hunting Season: Running from September 5th to January 31st, this season provides an opportunity for gray squirrel hunting.
- Crow Hunting Seasons: From October 15th to November 30th and from January 14th to March 31st, hunters can take part in crow hunting.
- Pigeon Hunting Season: Pigeon hunting is open throughout the year.
- Groundhog Hunting Season: Groundhog hunting is open throughout the year.
Missouri offers a plethora of hunting opportunities, allowing hunters to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature while enjoying their favorite sport.
Missouri Wildlife, Games, and Fishes
Missouri is home to a diverse range of wildlife and game animals, making it a paradise for hunters. Some of the most common animals available for hunting include:
Missouri Deer Hunting
Deer hunting in Missouri is a popular and rewarding activity, with deer inhabiting various regions of the state. They are known to thrive in forested areas, as well as other habitats that provide them with adequate cover. Examples of such areas include brushes, grass regions, fencelines, and marshy areas. The state offers specific hunting seasons for deer, ensuring that hunters can pursue their passion with precision and care. Hunters must obtain the appropriate deer permit to participate in these seasons.
Missouri Turkey Hunting
Turkey hunting in Missouri is a highly sought-after activity, especially during the fall and spring seasons. The eastern wild turkey species is prevalent in Missouri and inhabits the developed oak forests of the state. Regions like the loess hills in the western area and the yellow river forest in the northeast are renowned for turkey hunting. Additionally, the timber forest areas in the eastern part of Missouri also offer excellent turkey hunting opportunities.
Missouri Fox Hunting
Missouri is home to two common fox species: the gray fox and the red fox. Among the two, the red fox is more abundant in the state. These foxes are adaptable creatures, capable of surviving in various habitats. However, in Missouri, they are often found in forested and grassland areas.
Missouri Coyote Hunting
Coyotes are fairly distributed throughout Missouri, with a higher concentration in the western regions of the state. Unlike some other species, coyotes are not restricted to specific habitats and can be found in grasslands, timberlands, brush piles, and regions with switchgrass.
Missouri Pheasant Hunting
Pheasant hunting in Missouri is a popular activity, and the state boasts a significant pheasant population, particularly in the northwest region. In recent years, pheasant hunting has seen decent numbers, with the peak being 2016, when approximately 245,000 pheasants were harvested.
Missouri Quail Hunting
Missouri is renowned for its exceptional quail hunting opportunities, making it one of the best states for quail hunting in the USA. The bobwhite quail is commonly found in the southern parts of the state, while other quail species can be encountered in different regions.
Missouri Duck Hunting
Ducks are primarily found in wetland areas of Missouri, far from human habitation. Wildlife refuge areas are among the best places for deer hunting in the state. Ducks tend to inhabit shallow areas of water bodies, such as ponds and lakes, providing a unique and challenging hunting experience.
Missouri Dove Hunting
Doves are widespread throughout Missouri due to their migratory nature. As a result, they can be found in all counties of the state. Doves typically inhabit open habitats, including wooded areas, farmlands, and grasslands, making them a popular game for hunting enthusiasts.
Missouri Hunting Shooting Ranges
For hunters looking to improve their shooting skills or simply enjoy some target practice, Missouri offers a variety of shooting ranges open to the general public. These shooting ranges provide a safe and controlled environment for hunters to hone their marksmanship. Some of the notable shooting ranges in Missouri include:
- August A. Busch Mem. Conservation Area Range Complex
- Cape Girardeau County Gun Club
- Fort Leonard Wood – Sportsmen Center
- Gateway Gun Club
- Jay Henges Shooting Range
- Kansas City Trapshooters Association
- Missouri Trapshooter Association
- Ozark Shooters Sports Complex
- Prairie Grove Shotgun Sports
- River Hills Sporting Clays
- St. Louis Skeet and Trap Club
- Vanzant Clay Pigeon Farm
- The Shooting Place
- Snow White Enterprises
- Laurie Trap & Skeet
- Aurora Trap & Skeet
These shooting ranges offer an excellent opportunity for hunters to practice and refine their shooting skills, ensuring they are well-prepared for the hunting season.
Missouri Hunting Lands for Sale and Lease
For hunters looking to own or lease hunting lands in Missouri, there are various opportunities available. Owning or leasing hunting lands provides hunters with a private and controlled environment for their hunting activities. Some of the hunting lands available for sale and lease in Missouri include:
Missouri Hunting Lands for Sale
- Branson West, Missouri (Stone County) – 1,025 acres
- Gainesville, Missouri (Ozark County) – 2,900 acres
- Urich, Missouri (Henry County) – 72 acres
- Exeter, Missouri (Barry County) – 444 acres
- Ava, Missouri (Douglas County) – 10 acres
- Camdenton, Missouri (Camden County) – 34 acres
- Wayland, Missouri (Clark County) – 2,000 acres
- Seymour, Missouri (Webster County) – 20 acres
Missouri Hunting Lands for Lease
- 885 acres of deer hunting lease available in Clay County, Missouri.
- Whitetail Deer Hunting Farm – 90 Acres available in Barton County, Missouri.
- 120 acres Farm available for Whitetail Hunting in Barton County, Missouri.
- Guided Duck Hunting in Livingston County – 167 acres.
- Northern Missouri Farm in secluded creek bottom, Chariton County – 128 acres.
- Whitetail Deer seasonal hunting lease in Stoddard County – 150 acres.
Owning or leasing hunting lands provides hunters with a unique opportunity to create their own hunting haven, ensuring memorable experiences with friends and family.
Missouri is undeniably one of the most interesting states for hunting in the USA. With its diverse wildlife and game animals, abundant hunting opportunities, and well-regulated hunting seasons, the state offers a hunter’s paradise. From deer and turkey hunting to smaller game species like foxes and quails, Missouri caters to hunters of all levels of experience and interests.
However, it is essential for hunters to adhere to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ regulations and hunting laws. Understanding the restrictions, prohibitions, and licensing requirements will ensure a safe, enjoyable, and ethical hunting experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can convicted felons hunt in Missouri?
Convicted felons are prohibited from possessing firearms while hunting in Missouri. However, there is an exception for felons whose rights to possess firearms have been restored either at the state or federal level.
2. How can I make sure my firearm is not considered loaded while hunting in Missouri?
A firearm is considered loaded in Missouri if the magazine or chamber contains shells, the nipple possesses a percussion cap, or the frozen pan contains gunpowder. For crossbows, they will be considered loaded when they are cocked.
3. Are there restrictions on the number of shells a shotgun can have while hunting migratory birds in Missouri?
Yes, shotguns used for the taking of migratory birds in Missouri can only have a maximum of 3 shells in both the chamber and magazines. A plug may be needed to limit the firearm’s capacity.
4. Can I use a suppressor for hunting in Missouri?
Yes, you can use a suppressor that is lawfully allowed for hunting in Missouri. However, if hunting with suppressors on private lands, you will need the permission of the landowner.
5. Is it legal to hunt on private lands without the landowner’s permission in Missouri?
No, it is strictly prohibited to hunt on private lands without the permission of the landowner. Always ensure you obtain written permission before hunting on any private property.