General Hunting Regulations


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.


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 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

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

Turkey Hunting Regulations

Check permits and seasons for hunting dates and allowed methods

You can find dates, allowed methods and valid permits on the turkey hunting seasons section.

Assisting other turkey hunters

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.

Baiting regulations

  • Use of bait - which includes grain or other feed placed or scattered as to attract 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 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 blocks, including salt, are not considered bait, but mineral blocks that contain grain or other food additives are prohibited.
  • It is legal to hunt over a harvested crop field, but it is illegal 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 turkeys.

Voiding permits

Hunters who harvest a turkey must void their permit immediately by notching the month and day of harvest.

Tagging and checking

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.

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.

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):

  • Bismuth-tin
  • Copper-clad iron
  • Corrosion-inhibited copper (CIC)
  • Iron (steel)
  • Iron-tungsten
  • Iron-tungsten-nickel
  • Tungsten-bronze (two types)
  • Tungsten-iron-copper-nickel
  • Tungsten-iron-polymer
  • Tungsten-matrix
  • Tungsten-polymer
  • Tungsten-tin-bismuth
  • Tungsten-tin-iron
  • Tungsten-tin-iron-nickel

Dove Hunting

Use or possession of lead shot for hunting doves is prohibited on the following conservation areas:

  • Bilby Ranch Lake
  • Bois D’Arc
  • August A . Busch
  • Crowley’s Ridge
  • Davisdale
  • Harmony Mission Lake
  • Lamine River
  • William R . Logan
  • Maintz Wildlife Preserve
  • Pacific Palisades
  • Guy B . Park
  • Peabody
  • Pony Express Lake
  • James A . Reed Memorial Wildlife Area
  • Reform
  • Robert E . Talbot
  • Truman Reservoir Management Lands (Bethlehem)
  • Weldon Spring
  • Whetstone Creek
  • White (William G . and Erma Parke) Memorial Wildlife Area

All Hunting

Use or possession of lead shot is prohibited for all hunting with a shotgun on the following conservation areas:

  • Aspinwall Bend
  • Black Island
  • Bob Brown
  • Church Farm
  • Columbia Bottom
  • Cooley Lake
  • Coon Island
  • Corning
  • Deroin Bend
  • Diana Bend
  • Duck Creek
  • Eagle Bluffs
  • Franklin Island
  • Frost Island
  • Fountain Grove
  • Four Rivers
  • Grand Pass
  • B. K. Leach Memorial
  • Little Bean Marsh
  • Little River
  • Lower Hamburg Bend
  • Marais Temps Clair
  • Montrose
  • Nishnabotna
  • Nodaway Valley
  • Otter Slough
  • Ralph and Martha Perry
  • Platte Falls
  • Plowboy Bend
  • Rose Pond
  • Rush Bottoms
  • Schell-Osage
  • Settle’s Ford
  • Ted Shanks
  • Ten Mile Pond
  • Thurnau
  • Wolf Creek Bend

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 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.

Hunter Ethics

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.
  • Remember, hunting is not a competitive sport.

Related Content

Hunter Education & Skills Training

Hunter education is required for firearms hunting in Missouri. Find opportunities near you.

Tree Stand Safety

Follow these safety tips to avoid getting hurt when you hunt from elevated tree stands.

Safe Deer Hunting

Browse tips for safe Missouri deer hunting using firearms or archery methods.

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Turkey: How to Telecheck Turkey (Fall)


Turkey: How to Telecheck Turkey (Spring)


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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