Introduction to Waterfowl Hunting in Missouri
Missouri has a wide range of waterfowl hunting opportunities, from intensively-managed wetland conservation areas to many open-hunting conservation areas where water levels are only regulated by annual precipitation. Because there is high demand to hunt on some wetland areas, a few different types of drawings are used to fairly choose which hunters get to hunt in the form of random drawings.
Some of the best public waterfowl hunting opportunities are found on the Department’s 15 intensively-managed wetlands that provide habitat for many species of waterfowl. These 15 areas have draw procedures in place to fairly allocate limited hunting opportunities to hunters on areas with high demand. The three draw procedures are Quick Draw, Every Member Draws, and One Member Draws. Twelve of these areas allocate a portion of each day’s available hunting spots via the traditional Waterfowl Reservation System, and you must apply for a chance at these spots before waterfowl season, usually in the first half of September.
Only Missouri residents are allowed to enter reservation drawings via the Quick Draw or the traditional Waterfowl Reservation System. Nonresident hunters can be a member of a party of a Missouri resident that has been drawn for a reservation or try their luck for an unreserved spot in the “poor line”. Nonresident hunters can also go to any open-hunting waterfowl area without a reservation at any time during the waterfowl season.
Residents and nonresidents can hunt with a reservation holder or a Quick Draw reservation holder, and hunting parties are limited to four people.
Open Hunting Areas
Open hunting areas allow waterfowl hunting without a reservation at any time during the waterfowl season. A few of these areas are managed using water manipulation – most fill naturally with precipitation or flood events. Some of these areas can be a little more unpredictable, in terms of finding waterfowl every visit, but there’s no line, and no reservation needed! Check the Conservation Area Atlas for these open waterfowl areas using the Detailed Search tool.
Regardless of draw type, all members of a hunting party must be properly licensed prior to participating in the morning draw. Hunting party members may only participate in ONE morning drawing on the same day. Participation includes having another member submit a waterfowl hunting tag for you in your absence.
- Quick Draw is used at three intensively-managed waterfowl hunting areas: Grand Pass, Eagle Bluffs, and Otter Slough Conservation Areas.
- Every Member Draws is a draw procedure used at seven intensively-managed waterfowl hunting areas. Every Member Draws means that every person in a hunting party draws a numbered block or “pill.” The party uses its lowest drawn number to determine its place in line to pick a hunting spot. Every Member Draws is used at high-use areas, because it puts more hunters in the marsh by creating an incentive to team up with family and friends instead of hunting alone. The more pills you get to pull, the better chance of pulling a low number for your party!
- One Member Draws is a draw procedure used at eight intensively-managed waterfowl hunting areas. One Member Draws means that one member from each hunting party draws a pill to determine the hunting party’s place in line to pick a hunting spot. Areas that use One Member Draws generally turn fewer hunters away and would not benefit from the Every Member Draws procedure, because they are not as busy as Every Member Draws areas.
- Reservation holders must arrive and check in at the window a few minutes before official draw time.
- Reservation holders must present the proper permits (see Waterfowl Permit and Stamp Requirements below – to hunt waterfowl in the state of Missouri and a form of ID at check in.
- After checking in, reservation holders will draw one pill from a draw box filled with numbered pills representing all of the available hunting sites.
- At official draw time, a final call for reservation holders will be made, followed by an announcement: “The reservation drawing is closed." No late reservations will be honored.
Poor Line Members
- Before the official draw time, every member of the poor line at EMD areas, and one member from each waiting list party at OMD areas must sign the waiting list sheet.
- At official draw time, area staff announces that sign-up is closed and picks up the list. No names can be added to the waiting list after the list has been taken into the office.
- At official draw time, and following completion of the reservation-holder drawing, the morning speech will begin.
- Parties not signed up on the waiting list before official draw time will not be allowed to participate. Parties arriving late may be allocated a hunting spot if any remain after the drawing.
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