Regulations

Elk

Elk Hunting Regulations

Allowed hunting methods vary by portion

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

Hunter-orange requirement

Hunter orange is required during the firearms elk portion. 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, elk, 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, elk, 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.

Allowed

Elk urine and other scents, such as apple, acorn, and persimmon, may be used to attract elk 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, elk, and turkeys.

Limits

Elk hunting permits are distributed by random lottery. Those that are selected to receive a permit may take one (1) elk with at least one (1) antler no less than 6” in length.

Open Counties

Only Carter, Reynolds, and Shannon Counties are open to elk hunting. The refuge portion of Peck Ranch Conservation Area is closed to elk hunting. Resident Landowner Antlered Elk Hunting Permits are only valid on the qualifying landowner’s property within the Landowner Elk Hunting Zone.

Assisting other elk hunters

Adults who accompany youth hunters ages 11-15 do not need an elk hunting permit. The adult must be 18 or older and be hunter-education certified or born before January 1, 1967.

At all other times during the elk hunting season, a filled or unfilled elk hunting permit is required to assist others in taking elk, which includes calling and spotting.

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 an elk, 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 elk. However, you may use leashed dogs to track and recover mortally wounded elk, 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.

Immediately after Harvest

Hunters who take an elk must immediately notch the month and date of harvest to void their permit. If the elk must be left unattended prior to reporting through the Telecheck Harvest Reporting System (hereafter Telecheck), the voided permit or proper label must be attached to the elk. Elk must be Telechecked by 10:00 p.m. on the day of harvest. The elk must remain intact, field-dressed, or quartered with evidence of sex retained until it has been Telechecked.

Keep elk carcasses out of streams and lakes

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

Possession and sale

Properly checked deer, elk, 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.

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

Legally obtained elk 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 elk 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 elk 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.

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.

Firearm restrictions during elk firearms portion

During the firearms portion of the elk hunting season in open counties, 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.

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 and elk, 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, elk, 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, elk, and turkey, it must have the hunter's:

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

When storing wildlife other than deer, elk, 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, elk, 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 (except those acquired with a disposition form)
  • elk heads (except those acquired with a disposition form)
  • 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 or elk 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 or elk 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, elk, 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

Related Content

Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information (pdf, 5 MB)

Find out what's new with fall deer and turkey hunting regulations this year. Download the annually updated Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet.

Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information (pdf, 1 MB)

Read the booklet for regulations, permits, managed hunts, and more.

Migratory Bird and Waterfowl Hunting Digest (pdf, 4 MB)

Download the Migratory Bird and Waterfowl Hunting Digest

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 elk or accompanying an elk hunter during the firearms portion of the elk season.
  • 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, on an area that is having a managed firearms deer hunt, or during the firearms portion of the elk season 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 antlerless portions.
  • You are hunting small game or furbearers during the alternative methods portion.
  • You are hunting small game or furbearers during the firearms portion of the elk season.

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, elk, 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 are prohibited when hunting squirrels, rabbits, and furbearers (badger, bobcat, coyote, gray fox, opossum, raccoon, and striped skunk) during daylight hours during the firearms portion of the elk hunting season in the following counties:

  • Carter
  • Reynolds
  • Shannon

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.

Check the Code

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

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