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.
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.
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 may not be used to take wildlife.
Motor driven transportation may not be used to take, drive or molest wildlife.
A motorboat may be used to hunt wildlife, except bear, deer and elk, if the motor is shut off and the boat’s forward progress has stopped.
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:
Landowners 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, except:
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, except when hunting coyotes from February 1 – March 31 in conjunction with other legal hunting methods.
The dens or nests of furbearers shall not be molested or destroyed.
Wildlife, except waterfowl, may not be pursued or taken while trapped or surrounded by floodwaters or while fleeing from floodwaters or fire.
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.
It is illegal to intentionally leave or abandon any portion of any wildlife that is commonly used as human food.
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.
When storing bear, deer, elk, and turkey, it must have the hunter's:
When storing wildlife other than bear, deer, elk, or turkey, it must have the hunter’s:
When transporting wildlife other than bear, deer, elk, or turkey, it must have the hunter’s:
Unless federal regulations prohibit, you may buy, sell or barter legally obtained:
They must be accompanied by a bill of sale showing:
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.
You may give wildlife (excluding bear gall bladders) 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.
Bear, deer, elk, and turkey must be properly labeled as outlined above.
All other wildlife being given away must be labeled with:
You can find dates, allowed methods and valid permits on the turkey hunting seasons section.
New! Mentors who are assisting youth hunters do not need a permit during the youth spring turkey season and the youth portions of firearms deer season.
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.
Hunters who harvest a turkey must void their permit immediately by notching the month and day of harvest.
As long as you stay with your harvested turkey, you don't need to attach your notched permit to the bird, but you must keep your permit on hand. If you leave your turkey, you must attach your permit to the turkey's leg. Visit the Telecheck page for more information on how to properly tag and check your bird.
For your safety, you are urged to wear hunter orange whenever you are hunting.
You must wear hunter orange if:
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.
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:
Waterfowl hunters in Missouri have used nontoxic shot since 1991. This requirement has been shown to reduce the incidences of lead poisoning in wildlife.
These shot types have been approved as nontoxic by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (as of January 2019):
Use or possession of lead shot is prohibited for all hunting with a shotgun on the following conservation areas:
Use or possession of lead shot for hunting doves is prohibited on the following conservation areas:
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.
Hunters may use dogs to take and retrieve game, but there are restrictions by species, times, and locations.
Dogs are prohibited when hunting bear, deer, elk, and turkey.
Dogs cannot 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 during the antlerless portion of firearms deer season in counties that are open during this season portion.
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:
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.
All hunters should treat the outdoors with respect and follow ethical hunting practices. These include:
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
No hunting (except waterfowl) during spring turkey or fall deer and turkey seasons when the Mississippi River is at or above 35 feet on the Thebes, IL gauge.
No hunting (except waterfowl) during spring turkey or fall deer and turkey seasons when the Mississippi River is at or above 43 feet on the Cairo, IL gauge.
No hunting (except waterfowl) during spring turkey season when the Mississippi River is at or above 34 feet on the New Madrid, MO gauge.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.