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 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 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, elk, turkey, muskrat, mink, river otter, and beaver. Learn more about the rules for hunting with dogs.
The dens or nests of furbearers shall not be molested or destroyed.
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.
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.
Special regulations apply to deer or elk harvested in CWD zones.
When storing deer, elk, and turkey, it must have the hunter's:
When storing wildlife other than deer, elk, or turkey, it must have the hunter’s:
When transporting wildlife other than deer, elk, or turkey, it must have the hunter’s:
Unless federal regulations prohibit, you may buy, sell or barter:
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 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:
To pursue, take, possess, and transport ducks, coots, and geese in Missouri, except during the Conservation Order, you must possess and carry the following, unless exempt:
1) a Missouri permit to hunt small game is required of:
An annual permit is available to residents for $10 and to nonresidents for $80 from any permit vendor. A daily permit is also available to nonresidents from any permit vendor for $11 per day.
Exemption: Missouri resident landowners hunting on their own land do not need a Missouri small game hunting permit, but the Migratory Bird Hunting Permit and Duck Stamp are required (see below).
2) Missouri Migratory Bird Hunting Permit is required of:
This permit is available for $6 from any permit vendor. Purchase of this permit satisfies requirements for Migratory Game Bird Harvest Registration.
3) Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp is required of: Residents and nonresidents age 16 and over. To be valid, the federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (duck stamp) must be signed in ink across the face.
Stamps are available for $25 at some U.S. Post Offices, MDC regional offices, nature centers, and visitor’s centers, but not at permit vendors or waterfowl hunting conservation areas.
Duck stamps are also available online at the Buy e-Permits link below or at Missouri permit vendors. The electronic duck stamp, or e-Stamp, allows customers to purchase the Federal Duck Stamp online and use it immediately. The e-Stamp costs $28.50 and is valid for 45 days from the date of purchase. Within that time, a physical duck stamp will be mailed to the customer. After 45 days, the customer must carry their Federal Duck Stamp while hunting. Retail vendors will still be able to process e-Stamp transactions for hunters.
Resident and nonresident hunters age 15 and younger are not required to purchase any permits to hunt ducks, coots or geese in Missouri. However, they must have in their possession a valid Hunter Education Certificate Card while hunting or be in the immediate presence of an adult age 18 or older who possesses a Missouri small game hunting permit and is hunter education certified or born before Jan. 1, 1967.
During the Conservation Order residents and nonresidents age 16 and older only need a Conservation Order Permit to chase, pursue and take snow, blue and Ross’s geese. This permit costs $5 for residents and $40 for nonresidents. Hunters with either a Resident Lifetime Conservation Partner Permit or a Resident Lifetime Small Game Hunting Permit do not need to purchase a Conservation Order Permit to hunt light geese during the Conservation Order.
Hunters 15 years old and younger do not need a Conservation Order Permit, but must possess a valid hunter-education certificate card or hunt in the immediate presence of a properly licensed adult 18 years old or older who is hunter-education certified or was born before January 1, 1967.
Note: A Missouri small game hunting permit, Missouri Migratory Bird Hunting Permit and Federal Duck Stamp are not required during the Conservation Order.
Only shotguns, 10 gauge or smaller, are allowed for hunting migratory game birds.
If a shotgun can hold more than three shells, it must be plugged with a one-piece filler that cannot be removed without disassembling the gun.
You can't use a sink box or anything else that conceals you below the surface of the water.
Hunting from a motor vehicle, including aircraft, is not allowed. Paraplegics and persons missing one or both legs are exempted from this regulation.
Motorized vehicles, including aircraft, or motor boats or sailboats may not be used to round up migratory birds.
You can't hunt from a motorboat or sailboat unless the motor is off or sails furled.
Live decoys are prohibited. All tame or captive ducks and geese must be removed 10 days prior to hunting. All tame or captive ducks and geese must be kept where migratory waterfowl cannot see them and their calls are quieted.
Recorded or amplified bird calls or amplified imitations of bird calls are not allowed.
You can't bait your hunting area. All bait must be removed 10 days prior to hunting.
Hunting over freshly planted food plots is prohibited.
All hunters must make a reasonable effort to retrieve any bird killed or crippled while hunting. The bird must be in the hunter's custody until it is brought back to the hunter's lodging or a taxidermist.
On the opening day of the season, no person shall possess any freshly killed migratory game birds in excess of the daily bag limit.
No person shall have more than the daily bag limit of migratory game birds, tagged or not tagged, at or between the place where taken and either (a) one’s automobile or principal means of land transportation; or (b) one’s personal abode or temporary or transient place of lodging; or (c) a migratory bird preservation facility; or (d) a post office; or (e) a common carrier facility.
All hunters must tag migratory birds before giving the bird to another person for processing, storage, or for taxidermy. The tag will have the hunter's address, number and species of birds, and the date the birds were killed, and be signed by the hunter.
All birds must be tagged before the hunter gives the birds as a gift, or are transported by another person. If the birds are mailed or shipped, the box must have the tagging information.
All waterfowl must have the head or one fully-feathered wing attached while the bird is in transit to the hunter's home or taxidermist.
Each year, there are two youth-only waterfowl hunting days in each zone for ducks, geese and coots. Youth hunters must be:
No permits are required for youth hunters. If the youth possesses a valid hunter-education certificate card, the accompanying adult does not need a permit or hunter-ed certification. However, if the youth is not hunter-ed certified, the accompanying adult must be hunter-ed certified unless they were born before Jan. 1, 1967, and possess a Missouri permit to hunt small game or be exempt.
Shooting hours and limits are the same as the regular duck, goose, and coot seasons.
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.
Trumpeter swans are protected by federal and state laws and may not be shot.
Trumpeter swans are twice the size of Canada geese and four times the size of snow geese. Young swans are gray.
Hunters may use dogs to take and retrieve game, but there are restrictions by species, times, and locations.
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:
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.