Regulations

Frog

General Hunting Regulations

Methods

Seasons, permits, and species have specific rules governing the type of firearm, bow, atlatl, and slingshot which may be used to hunt. Review the information in those areas before hunting.

Fully automatic weapons are prohibited for all hunting.

Firearm restrictions during deer firearms season

Except for the alternative methods portion, other wildlife may be hunted only with a shotgun and shot not larger than No. 4 or a .22 or smaller caliber rimfire rifle. This does not apply to waterfowl hunters, trappers, or to landowners on their land.

If you are hunting furbearers during daylight hours during firearms deer season, only deer hunting methods may be used.

Poisons, tranquilizing drugs, chemicals, and explosives

Poisons, tranquilizing drugs, chemicals, and explosives may not be used to take wildlife.

Motor driven transportation

Motor driven transportation may not be used to take, drive or molest wildlife.

A motorboat may be used to hunt wildlife, except deer, if the motor is shut off and the boat’s forward progress has stopped.

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)

It is illegal for anyone (except landowners and lessees on land they own or lease and certain agricultural workers) to drive all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in Missouri’s streams and rivers unless the ATV is on a crossing that is part of the highway system. Violators could lose their fishing and hunting privileges.

With limited exceptions, all-terrain vehicle use is prohibited on conservation areas. Other vehicles are restricted to graveled and paved roads and established parking areas, unless otherwise posted.

Artificial lights

Artificial lights may be used to hunt:

  • bullfrogs
  • green frogs
  • raccoons and other furbearing animals when treed with the aid of dogs

Landowners and lessees may use artificial lights on their property, but while doing so may not be in possession of — or be in the company of someone who possesses — a firearm, bow, or other implement used to take wildlife.

Artificial lights may not be used to search for, spot, illuminate, harass, or disturb other wildlife than the above.

You may not possess night vision or thermal imagery equipment while carrying a firearm, bow, or other implement used to take wildlife.

Calls

Mouth and hand calls may be used any time.

Electronic calls or electronically activated calls may be used to pursue and take crows and furbearers. They may also be used to take light geese during the Conservation Order. Electronic calls may not be used with artificial light or night-vision equipment.

Dogs

Dogs may be used in hunting wildlife -- except deer, turkey, muskrat, mink, river otter, and beaver. Learn more about the rules for hunting with dogs.

During a hunt

Furbearer dens or nests

The dens or nests of furbearers shall not be molested or destroyed.

Hunter orange

For your safety, you are urged to wear hunter orange whenever you are hunting. You are required to wear hunter orange at certain times and locations. Learn more about the hunter orange rules.

Hunting near flood waters or fire

Wildlife, except waterfowl, may not be pursued or taken while trapped or surrounded by floodwaters or while fleeing from floodwaters or fire.

Hunting and trapping on public roadways

You may not take any wildlife from or across a public roadway with a firearm, bow or crossbow. A Conibear-type trap may be used adjacent to public roadways only if set underwater in permanent waters.

After a successful hunt

Excessive waste

It is illegal to intentionally leave or abandon any portion of any wildlife that is commonly used as human food.

Possessing, transporting, and storing wildlife

You must keep any wildlife you take separate or identifiable from that of any other hunter.

You can possess and transport wildlife as part of your personal baggage. It may be stored at your home, camp, place of lodging or in a commercial establishment.

Proper labeling

When storing deer and turkey, it must have the hunter's:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Date taken
  • Telecheck confirmation number

When storing wildlife other than deer or turkey, it must have the hunter’s:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Permit number
  • Species
  • Date it was placed in storage

When transporting wildlife other than deer or turkey, it must have the hunter’s:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Permit number
  • Date it was taken

Buying and selling pelts, feathers, and other parts

Unless federal regulations prohibit, you may buy, sell or barter:

  • feathers
  • squirrel pelts
  • rabbit pelts
  • groundhog pelts
  • turkey bones
  • turkey heads
  • deer heads
  • antlers
  • hides
  • feet

They must be accompanied by a bill of sale showing:

  • the seller’s full name, address
  • the number and species of the parts
  • the full name and address of the buyer

Wildlife and wildlife parts, after mounting or tanning, also may be bought and sold.

People who receive or purchase deer heads or antlers attached to the skull plate must keep the bill of sale as long as the heads or antlers are in their possession. The bill of sale must include the transaction date and a signed statement from the sellers attesting that the deer heads and antlers were, to their knowledge, taken legally.

Giving away wildlife

You may give wildlife to another person, but it will continue to be a part of your daily limit for the day when taken. Wildlife received as a gift will be included in the possession limit of the person you give it to.

Deer and turkey must be properly labeled as outlined above.

All other wildlife being given away must be labeled with:

  • your full name
  • address
  • permit number
  • species
  • date taken

Hunter Ethics

All hunters should treat the outdoors with respect and follow ethical hunting practices. These include:

  • If you hunt on private land, be sure to obtain permission from the landowner and respect his or her property as if it were your own. Scout the area you plan to hunt so you know where the boundaries, houses, roads, fences and livestock are located on the property.
  • If you do not kill your game instantly, make every effort to find the wounded animal. Permission is required to enter private land.
  • Clean and care for your game properly.
  • Pick up all litter, including spent ammunition. Leaving an area better than the way you found it is a sign of thanks for the privilege of hunting.
  • Report observed violations of the law to a conservation agent or local sheriff as soon as possible.
  • If you are involved in a firearms-related accident, the law requires that you identify yourself and render assistance; failure to do so is a Class A misdemeanor.
  • Develop your skills and knowledge, and share them with others.
  • Know and obey all wildlife laws.
  • Know and follow the rules of gun safety.
  • Respect the rights of hunters, nonhunters and landowners.
  • Make every effort to retrieve and use all game.
  • Respect the land and all wildlife.
  • Be sensitive to others when displaying harvested game.
  • Remember, hunting is not a competitive sport.

General Fishing Rules and Methods

Allowed fishing methods

You may take fish by pole and line, trotline, throwline, limb line, bank line and jug line. Ice fishing tackle, or tip-ups, are considered a pole-and-line method.

These methods are accepted for catching all species offish, although additional restrictions may apply to specific fishingareas.

Game fish not hooked in the mouth or jaw must be returned to the water unharmed immediately, except paddlefish legally taken during the paddlefish snagging season.Game fish include goggle-eye (commonly known as Ozark bass, rock bass, and shadow bass), warmouth, northern pike, muskellunge, tiger muskie, muskie pike hybrid, chain pickerel, grass pickerel, all species of catfish except bullheads, all species of black bass (largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted), paddlefish (spoonbill), all species of crappie, white bass, yellow bass, and striped bass, trout, walleye, sauger, and shovelnose sturgeon.

Allowed alternate methods

You may use permittedalternate methods in designated waters to take certain species, including paddlefish andnongame fish.Nongame fish include bluegill, green sunfish, carp, carpsuckers, suckers, buffalo,drum, gar, and all other species other than those defined as game fish or listed asendangered.

Permitted alternatemethods include:bow, crossbow, gig, atlatl, snare,underwater spearfishing, snagging or grabbing.Additional restrictionsapply to specific species andfishingareas. See fishing seasons, paddlefish snagging season,and area specific regulations for more information.

All of the above methods of taking fish are considered sport fishing methods.

Number of poles and hooks

If you use more than 3 poles (or 2 poles on the Mississippi River) at any one time, the additional poles must be labeled with your full name and address or Conservation Number. Regardless of the method or number of poles, you may not use more than a total of 33 hooks at any one time; except on the Mississippi River the maximum is 50 hooks at one time. If fishing on the Mississippi River and on other Missouri waters at the same time, no more than 50 hooks may be used and not more than 33 on waters other than the Mississippi.

Hooks on trotlines must be staged at least 2 feet apart. Hooks on any type of line, as well as the line itself, must be attended every 24 hours or removed.

Prohibited fishing methods

No one may use any explosive, poison, chemical or electrical equipment to kill or stupefy fish. Such material or equipment may not be possessed on waters of the state or adjacent banks.

Spearguns may not be possessed on unimpounded waters or adjacent banks, and spears may not be propelled by explosives.

It also is illegal to attempt to take fish by hand, with or without a hook, and to intentionally leave or abandon any commonly edible portion of any fish.

Only live-bait traps are allowed

Fish traps, including slat and wire ones, may not be possessed on waters in Missouri or on adjacent banks. However, live-bait traps are allowed.

Labels required on traps and lines

You must place a tag of a durable material with your full name and address or your Conservation Numberon live-bait traps, trotlines, throwlines, limb lines, bank lines, jug lines and live boxes.

Use of Lights

As an aid to fishing methods, an artificial light may be used only above the water surface. However, while fishing by pole and line only, underwater lights may be used to attract fish. Underwater lights also may be used when bowfishing on lakes, ponds and other impoundments.

Check Special Area Regulations

Special fishing restrictions exist for particular areas. Always check before you fish.

Search Special Area Regulations

Conservation Area Regulations

Search Places to Go for conservation area-specific information before fishing.

Search Places to Go

Possession and Length Limits

Daily and Possession Limits

You may possess no more than the daily limit of any given species while you are on waters, or on the banks of waters, where daily limits for those species apply. Any species taken into actual possession, unless released unharmed immediately after being caught, shall continue to be included in the daily limit of the taker for the day. 

Where only catch-and-release fishing is allowed, fish must be returned unharmed immediately to the water after being caught.

The possession limit is twice the statewide daily limit. Fish you take and possess must be kept separate or distinctly identifiable from fish taken by another person. If you are away from your catch, the device holding the fish must be plainly labeled with your full name and address.

Length Limit Definitions

Many fish species and fishing areas have length limits.

A minimum length limit means that fish below a designated length must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught.

A slot length limit or protected length range means that fish within a designated length range must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught.

A maximum length limit means that fish above a designated length must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught.

Regardless of where taken, fish that are not of a legal length cannot be possessed on the waters or banks where length limits apply. The head and tail must remain attached to the fish while you are fishing on waters where length limits apply.

Learn how to measure fish correctly.

Possessing, transporting, and storing fish

The fish you catch in Missouri, or elsewhere, may be possessed and transported as your personal baggage, if you have the required permit. Fish may be stored, preserved or refrigerated only at your home, camp, place of lodging or in a commercial establishment. Stored fish must be labeled with your full name, address, permit number, species of fish and the date placed in storage. Fish taken in another state by methods not permitted in Missouri may not be possessed on waters of the state.

Approved Aquatic Species List

Fishes

  • Shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus)
  • Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula)
  • Spotted gar (Lepisosteus oculatus)
  • Longnose gar (Lepisosteus osseus)
  • Shortnose gar (Lepisosteus platostomus)
  • Bowfin (Amia calva)
  • American eel (Anguilla rostrata)
  • Gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum)
  • Threadfin shad (Dorosoma petenense)
  • Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
  • Golden trout (Oncorhynchus aquabonita)
  • Cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii)
  • Brown trout (Salmo trutta)
  • Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)
  • Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch)
  • Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)
  • Northern pike (Esox lucius)
  • Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy)
  • Goldfish (Carassius auratus)
  • Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella)
  • Common carp (Cyprinus carpio)
  • Bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis)
  • Golden shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas)
  • Bluntnose minnow (Pimephales notatus)
  • Fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas)
  • River carpsucker (Carpiodes carpio)
  • Quillback (Carpiodes cyprinus)
  • White sucker (Catostomus commersoni)
  • Blue sucker (Cycleptus elongatus)
  • Bigmouth buffalo (Ictiobus cyprinellus )
  • Black bullhead (Ameirus melas)
  • Yellow bullhead (Ameirus natalis)
  • Brown bullhead (Ameirus nebulosus)
  • Blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus)
  • Channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)
  • Flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris)
  • Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis)
  • White bass (Morone chrysops)
  • Striped bass (Morone saxatilis)
  • Green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus)
  • Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus)
  • Warmouth (Lepomis gulosus)
  • Orangespotted sunfish (Lepomis humilis)
  • Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)
  • Longear sunfish (Lepomis megalotis)
  • Redear sunfish (Lepomis microlophus)
  • Smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu)
  • Spotted bass (Micropterus punctulatus)
  • Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides)
  • White crappie (Pomoxis annularis)
  • Black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus)
  • Yellow perch (Perca flavescens)
  • Sauger (Sander canadensis)
  • Walleye (Sander vitreus)
  • Freshwater drum(Aplodinotus grunniens)

Crustaceans

  • Freshwater prawn (Macrabrachium rosenbergii)
  • Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei)
  • Virile (“Northern”) crayfish (Orconectes virilis)
  • White River crawfish (Procambarus acutus)
  • Red Swamp crawfish (Procambarus clarkii)
  • Calico (“Papershell”) crayfish (Orconectes immunis)

Porous-Soled Waders Ban

To prevent the spread of didymo, an invasive alga, the use of shoes, boots or waders with porous soles of felt, matted or woven fibrous material is prohibited at all trout parks, trout streams, Lake Taneycomo and buffer areas.

Use of porous-Soled waders, boots or shoes is prohibited on the following waters:

Trout Parks

  • Maramec Spring Park
  • Bennett Spring State Park
  • Montauk State Park
  • Roaring River State Park

Lakes and streams

  • Barren Fork Creek in Shannon County
  • Blue Springs Creek in Crawford County
  • Capps Creek in Barry and Newton counties
  • Crane Creek in Stone and Lawrence counties
  • Current River in Dent, Texas, and Shannon counties
  • Dry Fork Creek in Crawford and Phelps counties
  • Eleven Point River in Oregon County
  • Hickory Creek in Newton County
  • Lake Taneycomo and its tributaries in Taney County
  • Little Piney Creek in Phelps County
  • Meramec River in Crawford and Phelps counties
  • Mill Creek in Phelps County
  • Niangua River in Dallas and Laclede counties
  • North Fork of White River in Ozark County
  • Roaring River in Barry County
  • Roubidoux Creek in Pulaski County
  • Spring Creek in Phelps County
  • Stone Mill Spring Branch in Pulaski County

Live Bait Regulations

Live Bait Species

Live bait includes crayfish, freshwater shrimp, southern leopard frogs, plains leopard frogs, cricket frogs, and nongame fish. Bullfrogs and green frogs taken under season limits and methods also may be used as bait.

  • Bighead carp and silver carp may not be used as live bait but may be used as dead or cut bait.
  • Live bait taken from public waters of Missouri may not be sold or transported to other states.
  • Game fish or their parts may not be used as bait.

Methods

  • Live bait may be taken by trap, dip net, throw net, pole and line or seine.
  • Live-bait traps must have a throat opening not more than 1-1/2 inches in any dimension, and must be labeled with the user’s full name and address, or Conservation Number.
  • Traps must be removed if they cannot be checked at least once every 24 hours.
  • Seines must not be more than 20 feet long and 4 feet deep, with a mesh of not more than 1/2 inch bar measure.
  • Live bait, except fish, may be taken by hand.
  • Crayfish also may be taken by trap with an opening not to exceed 1-1/2 inches by 18 inches.

Length Limits

  • All bluegill, green sunfish and bullheads more than 5 inches long and other species of nongame fish more than 12 inches long must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught by any of the methods listed above except pole and line. The daily limits for nongame fish apply to the large fish taken by pole and line.
  • There is no length limit on bighead carp, common carp, gizzard shad, goldfish, grass carp and silver carp when used as bait.

Seasons

Live bait may be taken throughout the year.

Daily Limit

  • A combined total of 150 crayfish, freshwater shrimp and non-game fish.
  • 5 each of southern leopard frog, plains leopard frog and cricket frog.
  • A combined total of 8 bullfrogs and green frogs. Bullfrogs and green frogs may be taken only from sunset June 30 through Oct. 31.
  • Any number of goldfish and bighead, common, grass and silver carp.
  • Any number of live bait, when purchased or obtained from a source other than the waters of the state or a licensed commercial fisherman; must be species on the Approved Aquatic Species List and angler must carry a dated receipt for the bait.

Other Species That May be Used as Bait

  • Nongame fish of any size, except bowfin, if taken according to the non-game methods and seasons.
  • Mussels and clams legally taken by sport fish methods.

Alabama Rig Regulations

The Alabama, umbrella and similar rigs may be fished in Missouri so long as they use only three lures or baits. The remaining attachment points can include similar baits so long as their hooks have been removed or other hook-less attractors such as spinner blades are used. This rig is intended to be fished using a rod and reel.

The Alabama rigs we have seen have more than three wires and attachment points. These rigs may be used but only with up to three hooks. (Each bait or lure counts as a hook.) The additional wires and attachment points can be used. However, whatever is attached may not include a hook. You may also clip the extra wires and attachment points off or not use them at all.

Examples of allowed Alabama rigs

modified umbrella rig
This is a standard Alabama rig “modified” to meet the Missouri Wildlife Code. Note that two of the baits have had the hook removed to meet the three-hook limit.
Photo by: David Stonner
legal umbrella rig
This rigging is consistent with the Wildlife Code. Each lure is considered one hook byWildlife Code definition. Spinner blades were added as attractors to the “extra” attachment points.
Photo by: David Stonner
fishhooks
This is a collection of hooks you typically find on the sporting good rack.
Photo by: David Stonner
one-hook lures
Any one of these lures used independently is considered "one hook" by definition in ourMissouri Wildlife Code.
Photo by: David Stonner

Examples of prohibited Alabama rigs

illegal umbrella rig
This rigging would NOT be legal in Missouri. You cannot fish five hooks on a pole and line. To comply with the Code, you would need to clip the hooks off two of the baits, OR remove and replace two of the hooked baits with hookless baits or attractors.
Photo by: David Stonner

Maximum number of poles and hooks

Anglers must not have more than three 3 unlabeled poles and not more than 33 hooks in the aggregate, for any or all fishing methods.

On the Mississippi River, an angler may not have more than 2 unlabeled poles and not more than 50 hooks in the aggregate at one time. While fishing concurrently on the Mississippi River and other Missouri waters, not more than 50 hooks in the aggregate may be used and not more than 33 of those hooks may be used in waters other than the Mississippi River.

While the absolute total number of hooks is either 33 or 50, depending on whether you or not you are fishing on the Mississippi River, you may not use more than 3 hooks per pole.

Definitions

Pole and line: Fishing methods using tackle normally held in the hand, such as a cane pole, casting rod, spinning rod, fly rod, or ice fishing tackle commonly known as a tip-up, to which not more than 3 hooks with bait or lures are attached. This fishing method does not include snagging, snaring, grabbing, or trotlines or other tackle normally attached in a fixed position (rule 3 CSR 10-20.805 (44) in the Wildlife Code).

Hook: Single- or multiple-pronged hooks and the ordinary artificial lures with attached single- or multiple-pronged hooks and dropper flies. A multiple-pronged hook or 2 or more hooks employed to hold a single bait, shall be considered a single hook in counting the allowable total in use (rule 3 CSR 10-20.805 (30) in the Wildlife Code).

Rule 3 CSR 10-6.410 (Fishing Methods) sets the number of poles and hooks.

The current interest in the use of Alabama rigs is noteworthy. Some of the conversations would lead one to believe they are always fish magnets. Time will tell. Plastic worms and electronic fish finders have not produced negative impacts to our bass populations. Fortunately, we have length and daily limits to protect such sport fisheries. We will continue to monitor the use of Alabama and similar rigs and will take action should it be warranted. In the meantime, we will appreciate the excitement this new rig has brought to fishing.

Conservation Area Regulations

Search the Atlas for Conservation Area-specific information before hunting.

Search Atlas

Check the Code

This is NOT a legal document. Regulations are subject to revision during the current year.
Refer to the Wildlife Code.

Cover of Missouri Hunting and Trapping Regulations