Options for duck zones and split seasons
Duck zones aim to provide the best season dates for private and public land. Missouri has the opportunity to revise zones every five years, with possible options including the following:
- No more than four zones with no splits
- Split seasons (no more than three segments) with no zones, or
- No more than three zones with the option for 2-way (2-segments) in one, two, or all zones.
NOTE: A split season refers to a season that is open for a period of time, closes, and then reopens for a second period of time.
Zone boundaries represent a compromise
Given the range of hunter preferences, not all hunters will be completely satisfied with season dates and zone boundaries. Our aim is to accommodate at least a portion of most hunters’ desires.
Whether or not changes are recommended for a given five-year period will depend primarily upon hunter input. If most hunters from a particular region prefer a different season structure (zones and splits) or season dates, a change will likely be recommended. Otherwise, we will not recommend change just for the sake of change. Regardless, we appreciate hunters' time and effort, which help us develop the best possible recommendations for Missouri duck hunters.
2017-2020 Zone Boundaries
North Zone: That portion of Missouri north of a line running west from the Illinois border at Lock and Dam 25; west on Lincoln County Hwy. N to Mo. Hwy. 79; south on Mo. Hwy. 79 to Mo. Hwy. 47; west on Mo. Hwy. 47 to I-70; west on I-70 to U.S. Hwy. 63; north on U.S. Hwy. 63 to U.S. Hwy. 24, west on U.S. Hwy. 24 to Mo. Hwy. 10, west on Mo. Hwy. 10 to U.S. Hwy. 69, north on U.S. Hwy. 69 to Mo. Hwy. 116, west on Mo. Hwy. 116 to U.S. Hwy. 59, south on U.S. Hwy. 59 to the Kansas border.
Middle Zone: The remainder of Missouri not included in other zones.
South Zone: That portion of Missouri south of a line running west from the Illinois border on Mo. Hwy. 74 to Mo. Hwy. 25; south on Mo. Hwy. 25 to U.S. Hwy. 62; west on U.S. Hwy. 62 to Mo. Hwy. 53; north on Mo. Hwy. 53 to Mo. Hwy. 51; north on Mo. Hwy. 51 to U.S. Hwy. 60; west on U.S. Hwy. 60 to Mo. Hwy. 21; north on Mo. Hwy. 21 to Mo. Hwy. 72; west on Mo. Hwy. 72 to Mo. Hwy. 32; west on Mo. Hwy. 32 to U.S. Hwy. 65; north on U.S. Hwy. 65 to U.S. Hwy. 54; west on U.S. Hwy. 54 to the Kansas border.
Hunters help establish seasons and zones every five years
Every five years, the Missouri Department of Conservation hosts public workshops to gather hunter input about duck season dates and zone boundary locations for the next five years. Participants have the opportunity to review long-term data about weather, migration, habitat use, harvest, and hunter opinions, and discuss their season date and zone preferences with other hunters and Conservation staff. Hunter input gathered through the workshops, combined with hunter opinion surveys, is used to establish Missouri’s duck season dates and zones for the following five years.
||Liberal (60 Days)
||Moderate (45 Days)
||Restrictive (30 Days)
- Opens on first Saturday in November
- Opens on second Saturday in November
- Opens on Saturday nearest Nov. 14
- Opens on Saturday nearest Nov. 6 for seven days
- Closes for five day
- Opens again for 53 days
- Opens on Saturday nearest Nov. 15
- Opens on Saturday nearest Nov. 19
- Opens on Thanksgiving Day for four days
- Closes as long as necessary to avoid an excess of 60 days
- Opens again and runs until Jan. 31
- Opens on Saturday nearest Dec. 10
- Closes Dec. 20–25
- Opens again on Dec. 26 and runs until last Sunday in January
- Opens on Saturday nearest Dec. 15
- Closes Dec. 19–25
- Opens again on Dec. 26 and runs until Sunday nearest Jan. 20
Each year’s regulation recommendation is based on the status of the mallard breeding population and the condition of prairie ponds in Canada. A three-tiered package of open seasons includes liberal (60 days), moderate (45 days), and restrictive (30 days) options. For more information, see the USFWS Adaptive Harvest Management.