John Lewis

Missouri General Hunting Regulations

Engaging in the pursuit of wildlife is a popular Missouri pastime that helps control wildlife populations. However, these activities must be done ethically and legally, following seasons, possession limits, weapon limitations, and other regulations. This in-depth guide covers key rules for hunting in the Show Me State.

MO Other Important Regulations

Hunting Schedules




1. Firearm Restrictions during Deer Gun Season

November Antlerless

  • Only shotguns with No. 4 shot or rimfire rifles of .22 caliber or less are permitted.
  • During rifle deer period, daylight furbearer activities are limited to strategies intended for deer engagement.

Elk Gun Season Firearm Restrictions

  • Individuals pursuing elk are permitted to utilize shotguns with No. 4 shot or rimfire rifles of .22 caliber in designated counties.
  • Waterfowl enthusiasts, trappers, and property owners on their land are exempted during the firearms segment of elk season.

2. Hunting Methods and Equipment

It spans various methods and equipment, with strict regulations in place to maintain ethical game practices:

  • Allowed methods include rifles, bows, atlatls, and slingshots, depending on the species and location.
  • Fully automatic weapons are prohibited during hunting.
  • Explosives, tranquilizers, and poisons are strictly forbidden.

3. Transportation and ATV Usage

Motorized Means of Transport

  • Using gasoline or diesel vehicles for taking, driving, or hurting wild animals is illegal.
  • Boats may be used for pursuing bears, deer, and elk if the motor is off and the forward movement has stopped.

Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)

  • Driving ATVs in Missouri’s streams and rivers is illegal, except for landowners, lessees, and agricultural employees.
  • Violators risk losing fishing and game privileges.

4. Artificial Lighting and Night Vision

Artificial Lighting

  • Bullfrogs, green frogs, raccoons, and other furbearing species may be hunted with artificial lights in February and March.
  • Property owners may use artificial lights but cannot possess weapons.

Night Vision/Thermal Imaging

  • Night vision and thermal imaging can only be used for taking coyotes or feral pigs on private property at night.
  • Authorization from the department is required for using these devices.

5. Hunting Calls and Practices


  • Hunting may involve sounds, with electronic or electronically triggered calls allowed for taking crows, furbearers, and light geese.
  • Mouth and hand calls are permitted at any time, while electronic calls can be used for coyotes between February 1 and March 31.

Practices During a Hunt

  • Responsible game practices include avoiding the destruction of furbearers’ caves or nests.
  • Wearing hunter orange is essential for safety, with specific regulations for its usage.

6. Post-Hunt Practices and Labeling

Disposal and Storage

  • Proper disposal of animals after a successful take is crucial, and edible animal parts should not be discarded.
  • Game must be kept separate from other hunters’ hauls, with specific guidelines for labeling bear, deer, elk, and turkey.

Labeling the animal

  • Hunters must label trapped animals before retaining or moving them, including essential details like name, address, date, and telecheck confirmation number.
  • Buying and selling of pelts, feathers, and other parts are regulated, with a bill of sale requirement for certain items.

7. Distribution of Wildlife

  • Wildlife can be moved for free, except for bear gall bladders, and counts against the individual’s daily limit for the day it was taken.
  • Specific labeling requirements apply for big game and other donated animals.

8. General Hunting Rules and Firearm Season Restrictions

Firearm Restrictions

  • Detailed restrictions on firearm usage during deer and elk firearms season are outlined.
  • Prohibitions on poisons, tranquilizers, chemicals, and fireworks for wildlife hunting are emphasized.

Other General Rules

  • Fully automatic guns are banned.
  • Restrictions on certain animals with shotguns and rimfire rifles are specified for various seasons.

John Lewis
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