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 may be used to hunt:
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.
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.
When storing deer, elk, and turkey, it must have the hunter's:
Telecheck confirmation number
When storing wildlife other than deer, elk, or turkey, it must have the hunter’s:
Date it was placed in storage
When transporting wildlife other than deer, elk, or turkey, it must have the hunter’s:
Date it was taken
Buying and selling pelts, feathers, and other parts
Unless federal regulations prohibit, you may buy, sell or barter:
deer heads (except those acquired with a disposition form)
elk heads (except those acquired with a disposition form)
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:
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.
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, non-hunters 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.
Browse tips for safe Missouri deer hunting using firearms or archery methods.
Nontoxic Shot Regulations
When is Nontoxic shot required?
All waterfowl hunting (ducks, geese, teal, and coots)
Hunting dove, rails, snipe, and woodcock on public areas with nontoxic shot requirement posted.
Hunting with a shotgun (including dove, turkey, quail, rabbit, squirrel) on thirty-seven conservation areas.
Waterfowl hunters in Missouri have used nontoxic shot since 1991. This requirement has been shown to reduce the incidences of lead poisoning in wildlife.
Approved types of nontoxic shot
These shot types have been approved as nontoxic by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (as of January 2019):
Corrosion-inhibited copper (CIC)
Tungsten-bronze (two types)
Use or possession of lead shot is prohibited for all hunting with a shotgun on the following conservation areas:
B. K. Leach Memorial
Little Bean Marsh
Lower Hamburg Bend
Marais Temps Clair
Ralph and Martha Perry
Ten Mile Pond
Wolf Creek Bend
Use or possession of lead shot for hunting doves is prohibited on the following conservation areas:
Bilby Ranch Lake
August A . Busch
Harmony Mission Lake
William R . Logan
Maintz Wildlife Preserve
Guy B . Park
Pony Express Lake
James A . Reed Memorial Wildlife Area
Robert E . Talbot
Truman Reservoir Management Lands (Bethlehem)
White (William G . and Erma Parke) Memorial Wildlife Area
Nontoxic shot is safer for wildlife and people
Lead is poisonous to both people and wildlife. Research shows that doves, waterfowl, and many other species of birds can suffer from lead poisoning after consuming lead pellets from spent shotgun shells. Lead poisoning can be fatal to birds and other wildlife, including bald eagles that feed on waterfowl with lead shot in the carcasses.
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:
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:
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.
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.