2010 Regulations Update

Each year, the Conservation Commission evaluates regulations to ensure Missourians have many ways to enjoy our forest, fish and wildlife. In doing so, the commission also is careful to protect the great resources that we have for future generations. The new regulations that go into effect March 1 expand hunting, trapping and fishing opportunities by adding new methods, longer seasons and increased limits for some species. Other regulations protect native species by trying to limit diseases and exotic species from entering the state.

The following regulation changes encourage more people to enjoy the outdoors:

Surveys of small-game hunters showed that fewer people are hunting squirrels today than were pursuing them five years ago. To encourage new hunters to take up this sport and to allow avid squirrel hunters more time in the field, the daily limit is increased from six to 10, and the possession limit from 12 to 20. According to population surveys, an increase in harvest should not negatively impact this abundant resource.

Thermal imaging equipment has been added to the list of prohibited hunting methods. Like spotlighting, thermal imaging equipment gives hunters an unfair advantage. It also is a tool that could be used by deer poachers who hunt during closed hours.

Trappers will be able to take more otters in many parts of the state this year because the otter and muskrat trapping zones have been eliminated. The new statewide season runs from Nov. 15–Feb. 20 with no limit. This change simplifies the regulations and allows more trappers to help reduce otter conflicts during the regular trapping season. Muskrat season also is statewide, which allows trappers to sell muskrats that are accidentally caught, thus making wise use of a resource. Also, the deadline for tagging bobcat and otter pelts has been extended to April 10.

Trappers who use cable restraint devices need to be aware of several changes. First, cable restraint devices may be used from Dec. 15 through the last day in February, giving trappers an extra month to take coyotes and other furbearers. Also, the Cable Restraint Device Permit has been eliminated. Now the only permit required is a Resident Trapping Permit. However, trappers who want to use cable restraint devices are still required to complete a certified training course. This is to ensure they have been taught how to correctly use these devices, similar to snares, so that non-target animals can be released unharmed. The Resident Trapping Permit will indicate