Regulations

Deer

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

During the November and antlerless portions, 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

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Hunter-Orange Requirement

For your safety, you are urged to wear hunter orange whenever you are hunting.

When Hunter Orange is Required

You must wear hunter orange if:

  • You are hunting any species of game during firearms deer season. Some exceptions are allowed. See below.
  • You are hunting on an area that is having a managed firearms deer hunt.
  • You are serving as a mentor to another hunter during firearms deer season or on an area that is having a managed firearms deer hunt.

To satisfy this rule, you must wear both a hunter-orange hat and a hunter-orange shirt, vest, or coat. The hunter-orange color must be plainly visible from all sides. Camouflage orange does not satisfy this rule.

When Hunter Orange Is Not Required

You don’t have to wear hunter orange during firearms deer season or on an area that is having a managed firearms deer hunt if:

  • You are hunting migratory game birds.
  • You are archery hunting within municipal boundaries where the discharge of firearms is prohibited.
  • You are hunting on federal or state land where deer hunting is restricted to archery methods.
  • You are using an archery permit during the alternative methods portion.
  • You are hunting in a county that is closed during the urban zones and antlerless portions.
  • You are hunting small game or furbearers during the alternative methods portion.

Deer Hunting Regulations

Allowed hunting methods vary by season

Allowed hunting methods vary by season. Be sure to view season information and the General Hunting Regulations before you hunt.

Hunter-orange requirement

Hunter orange is required during the firearms deer season. Read all the hunter-orange requirements before hunting.

Baiting regulations

Prohibited

Use of bait — which includes grain or other feed placed or scattered so as to attract deer or turkeys — while hunting is illegal.

An area is considered baited for 10 days after complete removal of the bait.

A hunter can be in violation if they take or attempt to take a deer or turkey by the aid of bait where the hunter knows or reasonably should know that the area is or has been baited.

It is illegal to place bait in a way that causes others to be in violation of the baiting rule.

Mineral and salt blocks are not allowed on conservation areas.

Additional rules apply in the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Management Zones.

Allowed

Doe urine and other scents, such as apple, acorn, and persimmon, may be used to attract deer while hunting, as long as the scents are not used on or with grain and other food products.

Mineral blocks, including salt, are not considered bait. However, mineral blocks that contain grain or other food additives are prohibited. Mineral and salt blocks are not allowed on conservation areas.

It is legal to hunt over a harvested crop field, but it is not legal to add grain or other crops, such as apples, to the field after it has been harvested.

Manipulating crops, such as mowing or knocking them down, is not considered baiting for deer and turkeys.

Limits

Check your permit and hunting season for information about limits. Also check to determine if antler point restrictions apply to the area where you are hunting.

Antlered deer limits

  • You may take only two antlered deer during the archery and firearms deer hunting seasons combined.
  • Archery hunters may take only one antlered deer before the November portion of firearms deer hunting season.
  • Only one antlered deer may be taken during firearms deer hunting season (all portions combined).
  • If you are drawn to participate in a managed hunt, you may take as many antlered deer as allowed at that specific hunt. Deer taken at a managed hunt do not count toward your firearms or archery season limits.

Chronic Wasting Disease

If you hunt in Adair, Barry, Cedar, Chariton, Christian, Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Hickory, Howell, Jefferson, Knox, Linn, Macon, Mercer, Oregon, Ozark, Perry, Polk, Putnam, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Warren, and Washington, you are in the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zones. Learn the best practices for harvesting deer in these counties.

Assisting other deer hunters

New! During the youth portions of firearms deer season, adults who accompany youth hunters do not need a deer hunting permit. The adult must be 18 or older and be hunter-education certified or born before January 1, 1967.

At all other times, mentors must possess a valid hunting permit for the appropriate season or be exempt. In the case of deer and turkey permits, the mentor’s permit can be filled or unfilled.

Tree stands placed on Conservation Department areas

Portable tree stands may be placed or used only between September 1 and January 31 on Conservation Department areas. Unattended stands must be plainly labeled on durable material with your full name and address, or Conservation number. You may not use nails, screw-in steps, or any material that would damage the tree. Tree stands must be removed from the area before February 1.

Missouri Outdoor Recreational Access Program

Special rules apply on areas enrolled in the Missouri Outdoor Recreational Access Program (MRAP). For example, on MRAP areas you must remove your tree stand when you leave each day. When hunting on an MRAP area, it is your responsibility to read and follow the rules that are posted at the area.

Retrieval of game

If you kill or injure a deer, you must make a reasonable effort to retrieve and include the animal in your season limit. However, this does not authorize trespass. It is illegal to leave or abandon commonly edible portions of game.

Use of dogs to hunt and recover game

Dogs may not be used to hunt deer. However, you may use leashed dogs to track and recover mortally wounded deer, provided you:

  • Have exhausted other reasonable means of finding the animal,
  • Contact a conservation agent,
  • Do not possess firearms or bows during dog-tracking activities, and
  • Maintain control of the leashed dog at all times.

Using dogs to recover game does not authorize trespass.

Read regulations on hunting with dogs.

Keep deer carcasses out of streams and lakes

It is illegal to place a deer carcass or any of its parts into any well, spring, brook, branch, creek, stream, pond, or lake.

Possession and sale

Properly checked deer and turkeys may be possessed by anyone if labeled with the taker’s full name, address, date taken, and Telecheck confirmation number. The Telecheck confirmation number must remain attached to the carcass until a meat processor begins working on the animal.

Deer left at commercial processing or cold storage plants must be claimed by May 1 following the season taken.

Legally obtained deer heads, antlers, hides, and feet may be sold by the taker as long as the taker provides a bill of sale that shows:

  • The taker’s full name and address,
  • The species and number of parts, and
  • The full name and address of the buyer.

For deer heads and/or antlers attached to skull plates, a dated bill of sale identifying the seller must be retained while the heads or antlers are in the buyer’s possession.

Any person who finds a dead deer with antlers still attached to the skull plate may take the antlers, but must report the find to a conservation agent within 24 hours to receive authorization to possess the antlers.

No authorization is needed to possess, buy, or sell shed antlers not attached to the skull plate.

Read general regulations about giving away, possessing, storing and selling wildlife.

Chronic Wasting Disease Regulations

The CWD Management Zone includes counties within approximately 10 miles of CWD detections. Special regulations apply in these counties.

For the 2019–2020 deer seasons, the CWD Management Zone includes Adair, Barry, Cedar, Chariton, Christian, Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Hickory, Howell, Jefferson, Knox, Linn, Macon, Mercer, Oregon, Ozark, Perry, Polk, Putnam, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Warren, and Washington counties.

Fall 2019 Mandatory CWD Sampling

Hunters who harvest deer on November 16 and 17 from CWD Management Zone counties must take their deer, or the head with at least six inches of the neck in place, to one of the MDC CWD sampling locations. Sampling stations will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

CWD Management Zone Map 2019

Special Regulations for the CWD Management Zone

Prohibition on feeding

Grain, salt products, minerals and other consumable products used to attract deer are prohibited year-round within CWD Management Zone counties. The following exceptions are allowed:

  • Feed placed within 100 feet of any residence or occupied building
  • Feed placed in a manner that excludes access by deer
  • Feed and minerals used solely for normal agricultural, forest management, or wildlife food plot production practices
  • Feed placed as part of a feral hog or CWD management effort authorized by the Conservation Department

Other Special Regulations for the CWD Management Zone

  • Antler-Point Restriction: MDC has removed the antler-point restriction for CWD-Management-Zone counties. This was done so young bucks are no longer protected from harvest because young bucks can spread the disease to new areas as they search for territories and mates.
  • Firearms Antlerless Permits: MDC has also increased the availability of firearms antlerless permits for CWD Management Zone counties to increase antlerless harvest opportunities  This was done to help prevent undesired population increases in local deer numbers.

Bringing Harvested Deer or Other Cervids into Missouri

  • Hunters who harvest deer, elk, or moose outside of the state and bring the animals back must report the entry into Missouri within 24 hours by calling 877-853-5665 or reporting it online.
  • The carcass must be taken to a licensed meat processor or taxidermist within 72 hours of entry.
  • Hunters just passing through Missouri on their way to another state are exempt from this requirement as long as they are not in Missouri for longer than 24 hours.
  • The reporting requirement is only for whole carcasses and carcasses that have the head and spinal column attached.
  • Parts that do not require reporting and that are at lower risk for harboring CWD include: meat that is cut and wrapped; boned-out-meat; quarters or other portions of meat with no parts of the spine or head attached; hides or capes from which excess tissue has been removed; antlers, including those attached to skull plates; and skulls where all muscle and brain tissue has been removed.

Hunters and Landowners Can Slow the Spread of CWD

Surveillance suggests that CWD is relatively rare in Missouri. There is hope that we can minimize the long-term impacts of the disease if we slow its spread. You can help by:

  • Complying with CWD-related regulations.
  • Properly disposing of deer carcasses in a permitted landfill or by burying carcasses on the property where they were harvested. (Transporting deer carcasses from the property where they were harvested and leaving them lay on the land introduces the greatest risk for disease spread.)
  • Reporting sick deer to your local conservation agent or your regional Conservation Department office.
  • Voluntarily testing deer harvested in the CWD Management Zone outside of opening weekend.

Related Content

Mandatory CWD Sampling - 2019

Get details on MDC mandatory sampling activities, counties included in mandatory sampling, sampling locations, an interactive map to find locations, mandatory sampling instructions and tips, and details on mandatory sampling. 

Voluntary CWD Sampling Statewide All Season

MDC offers free, voluntary CWD sampling of hunter-harvested deer taken in counties of its CWD Management Zone during the entire deer-hunting season.

Carcass Disposal

Carcasses or carcass remains of CWD-infected deer can expose other deer to the disease. Dispose your carcass properly.

Antler Point Restrictions

What are antler point restrictions?

In Missouri counties with antler restrictions, an antlered deer must have at least four points on one side to be taken.

How to count antler points

antler diagram

Each of the following counts as a point:

  1. The end of the main beam
  2. An antler point, if it is at least 1 inch long
  3. Any broken tine that is at least 1 inch long
  4. The brow tine, if it is at least 1 inch long

Tines, main beams and brow tines all count as a point if they are at least 1-inch long. A buck with seven points is a legal deer in counties with antler-point restrictions.

Counties with a 4 antler point minimum

2019_Antler Point Restriction

These counties require that bucks you harvest have at least four antler points on one side of their rack. This rule applies to both the archery and firearms deer hunting seasons. It does not apply to youth hunts.

  • Andrew
  • Atchison
  • Audrain
  • Barton
  • Bates 
  • Benton
  • Boone
  • Buchanan
  • Caldwell
  • Callaway
  • Camden
  • Carroll
  • Cass (applies to part of county)
  • Clark
  • Clinton
  • Cole
  • Cooper
  • Daviess 
  • DeKalb
  • Gentry
  • Grundy
  • Harrison
  • Henry
  • Holt
  • Howard
  • Johnson
  • Lafayette
  • Lewis
  • Lincoln 
  • Livingston
  • Maries 
  • Marion
  • Miller
  • Moniteau
  • Monroe
  • Montgomery
  • Morgan
  • Nodaway
  • Osage
  • Pettis
  • Phelps
  • Pike 
  • Platte (applies to part of county)
  • Pulaski
  • Ralls
  • Randolph
  • Ray
  • Saline 
  • Schuyler
  • Scotland
  • Shelby
  • Vernon
  • Worth

Legal

Legal buck heads

Does, button bucks and bucks with spikes less than 3 inches are legal to take on Antlerless or Any-Deer Permits; but for deer management, it is better to take does.

Protected

buck head
3-point buck head: protected

Protected deer include all antlered deer (defined as having at least one antler 3 inches or longer) that do not have a minimum of at least four points on one side.

 

County Restrictions on Antlerless Deer Hunting

Antlerless Permits

Archery antlerless permits can be used during the archery deer season in open counties. Firearm antlerless permits can be used during all portions of firearms deer season. However, some areas are closed to firearms hunting during the urban zones and antlerless portions.

How many Archery Antlerless Permits can you fill?

Hunters may purchase and fill any number of Archery Antlerless Deer Hunting Permits during the archery deer season in all counties BUT:  Dunklin, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, and Scott counties.

Missouri counties (in orange where any number of archery antlerless deer permits can be used.

Antlerless Archery 2019

How Many Firearms Antlerless Permits Can You Fill?

You may purchase as many antlerless permits as you want, but each county or county section has a limit on the number of antlerless permits you may fill. Resident landowners and lessees with at least 75 acres may harvest additional antlerless deer using no-cost Resident Landowner Firearms Antlerless Deer Hunting Permits.

Antlerless Permit Map 2019

Firearms Antlerless Permits Map

  • Counties in gray: During firearms season, antlerless deer may be taken only on an any-deer permit or a landowner antlerless deer hunting permit: Butler, Carter, Dunklin, Iron, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Reynolds, Scott. Stoddard, and Wayne.
  • Counties in blue: You may fill two firearms antlerless deer hunting permits in these counties during firearms deer season (all portions combined): Adair, Audrain, Barry, Barton, Benton, Boone, Callaway, Carroll, Cedar, Chariton, Christian, Clark, Clay, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dade, Dallas, Franklin, Gasconade, Greene, Grundy, Hickory, Howell, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lewis, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Marion, McDonald, Mercer, Miller, Moniteau, Monroe, Morgan, Oregon, Osage, Ozark, Perry, Pike, Putnam, Polk, Ralls, Randolph, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Warren, and Washington.

    You may fill two firearms antlerless deer hunting permits in parts of these counties during firearms deer season (all portions combined): Cass and Platte.

    Resident landowners and lessees with at least 75 acres may harvest additional antlerless deer using no-cost Resident Landowner Firearms Antlerless Deer Hunting Permits.

  • Counties in orange: You may fill one firearms antlerless deer hunting permit in these counties or county sections during firearms deer season (all portions combined). Resident landowners and lessees with at least 75 acres may harvest additional antlerless deer using no-cost Resident Landowner Firearms Antlerless Deer Hunting Permits.

Antlerless Portion of the Firearms Season

Firearms hunting is allowed only in counties or county sections shaded blue or orange in the map below. Areas in white are closed to firearms hunting during the antlerless portion.

Antlerless Portion Map 2019

Firearms Antlerless Portion Map

Counties closed to firearms hunting during the antlerless portion: Andrew, Atchison, Butler, Carter, Dunklin, Holt, Iron, Mississippi, New Madrid,  Nodaway, Pemiscot, Reynolds, Scott, Stoddard, and Wayne.

All other counties (shaded orange in the map above) are open to firearms hunting during the antlerless portion.

Kansas City Deer Hunting Zone

Kansas City urban zone

  • Portion of Platte County south of Hwy 92
  • Portion of Cass County north of Route 2
  • All portions of Clay and Jackson counties
Kansas City Urban Zone map

Questions? Contact our regional office

Kansas City Region
12405 SE Ranson Road
Lee’s Summit, MO 64082
816-622-0900

 

Hunting with Dogs

Hunters may use dogs to take and retrieve game, but there are restrictions by species, times, and locations.

When Dogs are Illegal to Use

Dogs are prohibited when hunting deer and turkey.

Dogs can not be used to harvest muskrat, mink, river otter, and beaver. 

Dogs are prohibited when hunting furbearers (badger, bobcat, coyote, gray fox, opossum, raccoon, and striped skunk) during daylight hours from Nov.1 through the close of the November portion of the firearms deer season and in counties that have an antlerless portion of the deer season.

Dogs are prohibited when hunting squirrels and rabbits during daylight hours of the November portion of the firearms deer season in the following counties:

  • Butler
  • Carter
  • Dent
  • Iron
  • Madison
  • Oregon
  • Reynolds
  • Ripley
  • Shannon
  • Wayne

Dogs must wear ID

While hunting, all dogs, except for those used by waterfowl and game bird hunters, must wear a collar with the owner’s full name and address, Conservation Number or complete telephone number.

Training Dogs

During training, dogs may chase but not take wildlife that can be hunted with dogs. You will need a hunting permit appropriate for the wildlife or exception when training dogs that are chasing wildlife.

Only a pistol with blank ammunition may be used during daylight hours to train dogs during closed seasons.

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Check the Code

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

Comment on Regulations

Cover of Fall Deer and Turkey Regulations and Information