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Hunting: General Provisions

Wanton Waste

It is illegal to intentionally leave or abandon any portion of any wildlife that is commonly used as human food.

Dogs may be used in hunting wildlife — except deer, turkey, muskrat, mink, river otter, and beaver. The hunting of furbearers with dogs during daylight hours is prohibited statewide from Nov. 1 through the close of the November portion of the firearms deer season and during the antlerless portion in counties that are open during that portion. Dogs may not be used to hunt squirrels and rabbits during the daylight hours of the November portion of the firearms deer season in the following counties: Butler, Carter, Dent, Iron, Madison, Oregon, Reynolds, Ripley, Shannon, and Wayne.

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. For training dogs, wildlife that can be hunted with dogs may be chased, but not taken. Only a pistol with blank ammunition may be used during daylight hours to train dogs during closed seasons. A hunting permit or exception is required when training dogs that are chasing wildlife.

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.

Legal Firearm Methods

Legal firearm methods used to hunt wildlife — except beaver, mink, muskrat, river otter, turtles, and fish — include the following:

  • Pistols, revolvers, and rifles propelling a single projectile at one discharge (may not be used for hunting turkey; must be centerfire or a muzzleloader for hunting deer)
  • Guns powered by spring, air, or compressed gas (may not be used for hunting turkey. See Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet for regulations during the firearms deer season.)
  • Shotguns not larger than 10 gauge
  • Crossbows, which are classified as a firearm method
  • Shotguns with the magazine cut off or plugged to reduce the capacity to not more than 3 shells in the magazine and chamber combined. This restriction does not apply to shotguns used while hunting deer and during the Conservation Order for snow geese.

Legal firearm methods used to hunt deer and turkey are listed in the Spring Turkey Hunting Information booklet, available at permit vendors in March, and the Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available at permit vendors in the summer.

Fully automatic firearms are prohibited for all hunting.

Hunting Game Birds With Firearms

Shotguns are the only firearm allowed for hunting game birds (except crow). Pistols, revolvers, rifles, and shotguns may be used to hunt crow.

Baiting Not Allowed

Migratory birds, turkey, and deer may not be hunted with the aid of bait. An area is considered baited for 10 days following complete removal of the bait. It is legal, however, to hunt over food plots. For complete baiting rules, see special deer, turkey, and migratory bird hunting regulation booklets listed under Related Information below.

Special Provision During the Firearms Deer Season

Except for the urban and alternative methods 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.

Bows, which include longbows, compound bows, and recurve bows, may be used to take wildlife during hunting seasons. Arrows containing any drug, poison, chemical or explosive are prohibited, but illuminated sights, scopes, quickpoint sights and hand-held string releasing mechanisms may be used.

Atlatls may be used to take wildlife during hunting seasons (except turkey during the spring and fall firearms seasons).

Slingshots may be used to take wildlife (except deer and turkey) during hunting seasons.

Motor driven conveyances may not be used to take, drive or molest wildlife. Deer may not be hunted from a boat with a motor attached; however, a motorboat may be used to hunt other wildlife if the motor is shut off and the boat’s forward progress has stopped.

Artificial lights may be used only to hunt bullfrogs and green frogs, or to hunt raccoons and other furbearing animals when treed with the aid of dogs. Using lights to search for, spot, illuminate, harass, or disturb other wildlife is a violation of the Wildlife Code of Missouri. 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. You may not possess night vision or thermal imagery equipment while carrying a firearm, bow, or other implement used to take wildlife.

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.

Poisons, tranquilizing drugs, chemicals or explosives may not be used to take wildlife.

Electronic calls may be used to pursue and take crows, furbearers, and light geese during the Conservation Order only, but without the aid of an artificial light or night-vision equipment. Mouth and hand calls may be used any time. Electronic calls or electronically activated calls may not be used or possessed while hunting species other than crows, furbearers or light geese during the Conservation Order.

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. Deer and turkey must be labeled with your full name, address, date taken, and Telecheck confirmation number. All other wildlife must be labeled with your full name, address, permit number, species, and the date taken. Wildlife received as a gift will be included in the possession limit of the person you give it to.

Keep Take Separate and Identifiable

You must keep any wildlife you take separate or identifiable from that of any other hunter.

Possessing, Transporting, and Storing Wildlife

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. If you store wildlife other than deer or turkey taken in Missouri, it must have the owner’s full name, address, permit number, species, and the date it was placed in storage. If you transport wildlife, it must have the full name, address, and permit number of the taker and the date it was taken. Commercially processed deer must be claimed or stored by the owner by May 1 following the season taken or the owner shall be in violation.

Deer and turkey taken in Missouri must be labeled with the full name and address of the taker, the date taken, and the Telecheck confirmation number.

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 or feet. They must be accompanied by a bill of sale showing the seller’s full name, address, and the number and species of the parts, and 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.

For your safety, you are urged to wear hunter orange whenever you are hunting.

To comply with regulations, however, you must wear a hunter-orange outer garment and cap when you are engaged in the following:

  • Firearms deer hunting
  • Hunting small game and furbearers in any area where hunting deer with centerfire firearms is allowed. Hunter orange is not required for small game hunters during the alternative methods portion of the firearms deer season.
  • Archery hunting during the youth portions and antlerless portion (in open counties) of the firearms deer season

Note: Camouflage-orange garments do not meet the hunter-orange requirement. For other hunter-orange regulations, see the Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet listed under Related Information below.

Key Messages: 

Conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt and fish.

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