General Regulations


Seasons, permits, and species have specific rules governing the type of firearm, bow, atlatl, and slingshot that may be used to hunt. Review the information in those areas before hunting.

Fully automatic weapons are prohibited for all hunting.

Deer Firearms Season: Firearm Restrictions

During the November statewide deer firearms season, including the antlerless and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) portions in open counties, hunting regulations stipulate that wildlife other than deer may only be hunted with shotguns using shot no larger than No. 4, or with a .22 caliber or smaller rimfire rifle. Exceptions to these restrictions include waterfowl hunters, trappers, landowners hunting on their own land, and elk hunters during their specific firearms season.

Additionally, those hunting furbearers during daylight hours within the deer firearms season must adhere strictly to deer hunting methods.

Elk Firearms Season: Firearm Restrictions

During the firearms portion of the elk hunting season in open counties, specific restrictions are placed on the types of firearms that can be used to hunt other wildlife. Hunters are limited to using shotguns with shot not larger than No. 4 or .22 caliber or smaller rimfire rifles. These restrictions are designed to ensure the safety and conservation of wildlife populations during the elk firearms season.

However, exceptions are made for certain groups: waterfowl hunters, trappers, and landowners hunting on their own property are exempt from these firearm restrictions. Additionally, deer hunters during the antlerless portions of the firearms deer season are not subject to these limitations.

Poisons, Tranquilizing Drugs, Chemicals, and Explosives

In the interest of ethical hunting and wildlife preservation, the use of poisons, tranquilizing drugs, chemicals, and explosives is strictly prohibited in taking wildlife. These materials pose significant risks not only to the target species but also to the ecosystem and other non-target species. The regulation ensures that hunting practices remain humane and do not cause unnecessary suffering or ecological damage.

Motor Driven Transportation

Motor driven transportation is not permitted for the taking, driving, or molesting of wildlife. This rule is in place to prevent the undue stress and potential harm that motorized vehicles can cause to wildlife. However, a motorboat may be used in the hunting of wildlife, excluding bear, deer, and elk, provided the motor is shut off and the boat’s forward progress has ceased. This exception allows for the responsible use of boats in hunting while ensuring the safety and conservation of wildlife.

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)

Strict rules govern the use of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) in Missouri, particularly concerning their use in streams and rivers. Except for landowners, lessees on their land, and certain agricultural workers, driving ATVs in Missouri's streams and rivers is illegal unless crossing at designated highway system points. Violation of these regulations could result in the loss of fishing and hunting privileges.

Furthermore, the use of all-terrain vehicles is generally prohibited on conservation areas, with limited exceptions. Other vehicles are restricted to graveled and paved roads and established parking areas unless otherwise posted.

Artificial Lights

Artificial lights are permissible in certain specific hunting scenarios:

  • Bullfrogs & Green Frogs: Hunters may use artificial lights to hunt these species.
  • Raccoons & Other Furbearing Animals: Allowed when these animals are treed with the aid of dogs.
  • Coyotes: Permissible from February 1 – March 31 in conjunction with other legal hunting methods.

Landowners are allowed to use artificial lights on their property, but must not possess or accompany anyone with firearms, bows, or any implements used to take wildlife. The use of artificial lights to search, spot, illuminate, harass, or disturb wildlife other than the specified animals is prohibited.

Night Vision and Thermal Imagery

The possession of night vision or thermal imagery equipment while carrying a firearm, bow, or other implement used to take wildlife is generally prohibited with the following exceptions:

  • Coyotes: Allowed from February 1 – March 31 alongside other legal hunting methods.
  • Feral Swine: Landowners or their authorized representatives can use this equipment for taking feral swine on their property.
  • Department Authorization: Individuals may use such equipment if they have written authorization from a department agent.


  • Mouth and Hand Calls: These can be used at any time for hunting.
  • Electronic/Electronically Activated Calls: These are allowed for pursuing and taking crows and furbearers, as well as for taking light geese during the Conservation Order. However, electronic calls cannot be used in conjunction with artificial light or night-vision equipment, except when hunting coyotes.

Hunting with Dogs

Dogs are permitted as aids in hunting wildlife with specific exceptions. Hunters may not use dogs to hunt bear, deer, elk, turkey, muskrat, mink, river otter, or beaver. For those planning to hunt with the aid of dogs, it's important to familiarize themselves with the detailed rules and regulations that govern this practice to ensure ethical hunting and the safety of both the dogs and wildlife. These rules are designed to protect certain wildlife populations and ensure that hunting practices are conducted responsibly and sustainably.

Rules and Safety During a Hunt

Furbearer Dens or Nests

Hunters must not disturb or destroy the dens or nests of furbearers. This regulation is in place to protect the natural habitats of these animals and ensure their populations are not adversely affected during the hunting season.

Hunter Orange

While hunting, it is strongly advised for safety reasons to wear hunter orange. There are specific times and locations where wearing hunter orange is mandatory. Hunters should acquaint themselves with these regulations to ensure their safety and the safety of others.

Hunting Near Flood Waters or Fire

It is prohibited to pursue or take wildlife, except waterfowl, when the animals are trapped or surrounded by floodwaters or fleeing from floodwaters or fire. This rule ensures that hunting remains ethical and that animals are not taken advantage of in vulnerable situations.

Hunting and Trapping on Public Roadways

Wildlife may not be taken from or across public roadways using firearms, bows, or crossbows. Additionally, Conibear-type traps are only allowed adjacent to public roadways if they are set underwater in permanent waters. This is to ensure public safety and respect for community spaces while also allowing for certain types of trapping under controlled conditions.

Guidelines for Post-Hunt Procedures

Excessive Waste

It is illegal and unethical to intentionally leave or abandon any portion of the wildlife that is commonly used as human food. This ensures respect for the animal and prevents wasteful practices.

Possessing, Transporting, and Storing Wildlife

After a successful hunt, you must keep your game separate or identifiable from that of any other hunter to ensure clear ownership. Wildlife can be possessed and transported as part of personal baggage and stored at your home, camp, place of lodging, or a commercial establishment.

Proper Labeling

Specific labeling requirements are set for storing and transporting wildlife:

  • Bear, Deer, Elk, and Turkey: When storing, include the hunter's full name, address, date taken, and Telecheck confirmation number.
  • Wildlife Other Than Bear, Deer, Elk, or Turkey: When storing, include the hunter's full name, address, permit number, species, and the date it was placed in storage. When transporting, include the hunter's full name, address, permit number, and the date it was taken.

Buying and Selling Pelts, Feathers, and Other Parts

You may buy, sell, or barter legally obtained parts like feathers, squirrel pelts, rabbit pelts, and more, unless prohibited by federal regulations. All transactions must be accompanied by a bill of sale detailing the seller’s full name, address, the number and species of the parts, and the full name and address of the buyer. Note that special regulations apply to black bear gallbladders, which may not be bought, sold, or transported in certain conditions. Mounted or tanned wildlife parts may also be bought and sold.

Giving Away Wildlife

Wildlife, excluding bear gall bladders, may be given to another person, but it will continue to count towards the giver's daily limit and will be included in the possession limit of the recipient. Proper labeling is required when giving away wildlife, detailing the full name, address, permit number, species, and date taken of the giver. For bear, deer, elk, and turkey, the labeling must follow specific guidelines outlined above.

Sign Up for Huntlink!

Huntlink is a free program that will allow us to send you state regulations to your email for the states you hunt in. The benefits of this are:

1. PDF Format - Downloadable

2. Able to be read with or without reception

3. Delivered right to your email with no ads

And much more!


The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.