Regulations

Otter

Trapping Regulations

General Provisions

  • The homes, nests or dens of furbearers must not be molested or destroyed.
  • No person shall accept payment for furbearers taken by another.
  • Wildlife held in traps, snares, or cable restraint devices may be killed or removed only by the user.
  • Bobcats and otters or their pelts must be delivered to an agent of the Conservation Department for registration or tagging before selling, transferring, tanning or mounting by April 10. Tagged bobcats, otters or their pelts may be possessed by the taker throughout the year and may be sold only to licensed taxidermists, tanners or fur dealers. It is illegal to purchase or sell untagged bobcats, otters or their pelts. Tagging tip: To make it easier to tag a pelt without damaging it, put a pencil or stick through the upper lip and eye socket before freezing the skin. The tag can be easily placed in those holes when the pelt is registered.
  • Restrictions on possession do not apply to tanned pelts, mounted specimens or manufactured products.
  • Skinned carcasses of legally taken furbearers may be sold throughout the year.

Special-Use Permit Required to Trap on Conservation Areas

Trapping with dog-proof style and other traps is allowed on many conservation areas. A Special Use Permit is required and these must be applied for at least 30 days before trapping begins. Contact the area manager at the regional office to see what opportunities are available in your area.

Traps

  • May be placed and set for furbearers at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 15 and must be removed by midnight of the last day of trapping season
  • Must have smooth or rubber jaws only, and may include foot-hold, Conibear, or other killing-type, foot-enclosing-type, cage-type, colony traps with openings no greater than 6 inches in height and 6 inches wide, snares set underwater only, and cable restraint devices.
  • Must be plainly labeled on durable material with the user’s full name and address or Conservation Number.
  • Wildlife must be removed or released from traps daily, except for colony and killing-type traps, which must be checked every 48 hours.
  • May not be set in paths made or used by people or domestic animals. Killing-type traps may not be set along public roadways, except underwater in permanent waters. Within communities having 10,000 or more inhabitants, only cage-type or foot-enclosing-type traps may be set within 150 feet of any residence or occupied building
  • May be used in conjunction with electronic calls

Conibear or Killing-type traps must comply with the following:

  • With a jaw spread greater than 5 inches, may be set underwater, but not in any dry land set
  • With a jaw spread not greater than 8 inches, may be set 6 feet or more above ground level in buildings

Snares must comply with the following:

  • Be set underwater
  • Have a loop 15 inches or less in diameter when set
  • Have a stop device that prevents the snare from closing to less than 2 1/2 inches in diameter
  • Be made with cable that is between 5/64 inch and 1/8 inch in diameter
  • Have a mechanical lock and anchor swivel

Cable Restraint Regulations

When used correctly, cable restraint devices hold animals alive and allow trappers to release non-target animals unharmed. The devices can be used to take furbearers from November 15 through January 31. 

Cable restraint devices MUST:

  • Be made of stranded steel cable, not greater than 5 feet long (not including extension, with a diameter of not less than 5/64 inch and equipped with a commercially manufactured breakaway rated at 350 pounds or less, a relaxing-type lock, a stop device that prevents it from closing to less than 2 1/2 inches in diameter, and an anchor swivel. Note: Compression-type chokes and other mechanically powered springs are prohibited.
  • Have a loop size of 12 inches diameter or smaller when set
  • Have the bottom of the cable loop set at least 6 inches or greater above the ground
  • Be anchored solidly or staked in a location not allowing entanglement
  • Be checked daily.

Cable restraint devices must NOT be:

  • Capable of extending to within 12 inches of a fence
  • Set using a drag
  • Set with a kill-pole
  • Used within 150 feet of any dwelling or driveway leading to a dwelling.

Note: Trappers may not possess live coyotes, red fox, and gray fox after March 15.

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.

Southeast Missouri Flood Map

During spring turkey and fall deer and turkey seasons, you cannot take wildlife, except waterfowl, when river levels exceed specified limits on local river gauges in certain flood-prone areas in southeast Missouri.

This map shows in real-time which areas are open or closed to hunting. Check it before heading out on your turkey or deer hunt.

For a complete listing of this rule, see 3 CSR 10-7.405 of the Wildlife Code of Missouri.

Numbers on the map refer to zones referenced in the regulation.

For a larger version of the map SE Regulatory Flood Zone

Zones

1: Scott County

No hunting (except waterfowl) during spring turkey or fall deer and turkey seasons when the Mississippi River is at or above 33 feet on the Thebes, IL gauge.

2: Mississippi County

No hunting (except waterfowl) during spring turkey or fall deer and turkey seasons when the Mississippi River is at or above 41 feet on the Cairo, IL gauge.

3: New Madrid and Mississippi Counties

No hunting (except waterfowl) during spring turkey season when the Mississippi River is at or above 34 feet on the New Madrid, MO gauge.

3A: New Madrid and Mississippi Counties

No hunting (except waterfowl) during fall deer and turkey seasons when the Mississippi River is at or above 34 feet on the New Madrid, MO gauge.

3B: New Madrid and Mississippi Counties

No hunting (except waterfowl) during fall deer and turkey seasons when the Mississippi River is at or above 36 feet on the New Madrid, MO gauge.

3C: New Madrid and Mississippi Counties

No hunting (except waterfowl) during fall deer and turkey seasons when the Mississippi River is at or above 40 feet on the New Madrid, MO gauge.

4: Pemiscot County

No hunting (except waterfowl) during spring turkey or fall deer and turkey seasons when the Mississippi River is at or above 32 feet on the Caruthersville, MO gauge.

5A: Dunklin County

No hunting (except waterfowl) during spring turkey or fall deer and turkey seasons when the St. Francis River is at or above 21 feet on the St. Francis, AR gauge.

5B: Dunklin County

No hunting (except waterfowl) during spring turkey or fall deer and turkey seasons when the St. Francis River is at or above 15.5 feet on the Holly Island, AR gauge.

Additional Otter and Muskrat Regulations

Otter pelts must be registered or tagged by a conservation agent before selling, transferring, tanning or mounting by April 10.

Tagged otter pelts may be possessed by the taker throughout the year and may be sold only to licensed taxidermists, tanners, or fur dealers.

It is illegal to purchase or sell untagged otters or their pelts.

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