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Hunting in Missouri

Hunting is a great way to experience the outdoors in Missouri, and you’ll find plenty of game animals like deer, elk, bears, turkeys, quail, pheasants, rabbits, and squirrels. Don’t forget about predators too – coyotes and foxes are big draws for hunters as well!

Fishing opportunities abound with the state’s many rivers and lakes. You need to get yourself an MDC hunting license if you want to give it a go – both residents and non-residents can apply for one online or at any authorized retailer. Be sure to check out all relevant regulations before heading out into nature so that your hunt runs smoothly.

In this detailed guide, we will cover all you need to know about hunting in Missouri. What types of animals you can hunt, the best places to hunt them, hunting seasons & regulations, and license information: we have got it all right here.

Hunting in Missouri

What Can You Hunt in Missouri?

With its large population of small game animals like squirrels, pheasants, quail, rabbits, and doves – as well as big-game such as whitetail deer, black bear, and elk – there’s something to fit every hunter’s skill level in the Show-Me State.

In the Southeast portion of the state, you’ll find plenty of fox and gray squirrels perfect for chasing after with your trusty rifle or bow; while in the Northwest corner, you can test your luck on pheasant hunts amid sprawling fields of grain.

Quail and rabbit hunting are also popular throughout urban areas. And don’t forget about dove hunting – both mourning & white-winged species exist all over Missouri for some serious wing-shooting action!


Missouri boasts some of the best deer hunting opportunities in America. For those seeking a unique challenge, bowhunting is an excellent way to get up close and personal with nature.

To legally take part in this activity, hunters must obtain special permits from their local Department of Conservation. Whether done from a tree stand or ground blind, it’s necessary for all bowhunters to keep up-to-date with local regulations before heading out on their hunt.

For those who prefer something more traditional, rifle hunting is also available throughout much of Missouri during certain seasons – as long as your firearm has at least 3x magnification power affixed to its scope.

Whenever taking part in such activities safety should always come first – we recommend wearing blaze-orange clothing so that other hunters can easily identify you.

White-tailed Deer Season Missouri

Season Dates
Archery Sep 15 – Nov 10, Nov 22 – Jan 15
Firearms Antlerless Portion Oct 06 – Oct 08, Dec 02 – Dec 10
Youth Firearms Oct 28 – Oct 29, Nov 24 – Nov 26
Firearms November Portion Nov 11 – Nov 21
Firearms CWD Portion Nov 22 – Nov 26
Firearms Alternative Methods Dec 23 – Jan 02


When it comes to hunting elks in Missouri, there are a few things you need to know before setting off on your adventure. Firstly, get yourself a valid license from the state – they can be found online or at any sporting goods store.

Secondly, familiarize yourself with the season dates for elk hunting – usually running mid-September through early December, so make sure to plan accordingly if you want to hunt during this time period.

Once that’s all squared away and you’re ready for takeoff, scout out an area with good elk habitat that also has access points for vehicles or horses; doing so will make navigation much easier when searching for herds of these majestic animals.

Also, don’t forget about safety: educate everybody in your party on proper gun handling procedures and wear blaze orange clothing whenever possible (so other hunters won’t mistake you as game).

Elk Season

Season Dates
Archery Oct 21 – Oct 29
Firearms Dec 09 – Dec 17


Hunting bears in Missouri requires the proper permits and comes with its own set of risks. From October 1st through December 31st, late November and early December are prime times to track down these apex predators.

Whether you opt for still-hunting or baiting, safety should be your top priority – never approach a bear if it’s not necessary. Make sure you have all the right gear like bear spray or an appropriate rifle with ammo before embarking on your hunt. Taking extra precautions will help ensure successful hunting in Missouri.

Hunting Bears in Missouri

Bear Season in Missouri

Species Dates
Bear Oct 16 – Oct 25


It’s the perfect time to plan your next turkey hunt in Missouri, the season runs from mid-April through mid-May. Before you head out, make sure all permits and licenses are up-to-date with local laws.

It’s also important to brush up on regulations specific to turkey hunting. Bring along essential gear like a shotgun with tight chokes (for clean kills at a distance), plenty of shells, and decoys for luring birds into range.

Scouting is key when it comes to finding turkeys; check topographical maps for open fields or grassy meadows where they feed/roost during daylight hours, then drive around the area looking for active flocks.

Patience is paramount during the hunt itself; don’t rush things or push too hard, take your time so as not to spook them away before getting into range naturally.

Turkey Season Missouri

Season Dates Bag Limit
Spring Apr 17 – May 07 2 Bearded Turkeys
Spring Youth Apr 01 – Apr 02 1 Bearded Turkey
Archery Sep 15 – Nov 10, Nov 22 – Jan 15 2 Turkeys (Either Sex)
Fall Firearms Oct 01 – Oct 31 2 Turkeys (Either Sex)


Hunting coyotes in Missouri can be an exciting experience. With the right preparation and knowledge, you’ll have a successful hunt. First off, it’s essential to understand their habits – they’re most active at dusk and dawn while preying on rabbits, rodents, and birds. This will help you find them when hunting.

Secondly, make sure to have the best gear; use a rifle or shotgun with optics for better accuracy as well as camouflage clothing so that your presence is undetectable. Also, bring binoculars to help spot them from afar before firing away.

Lastly, check local regulations prior to heading out – there may be restrictions regarding time limits or locations where coyotes can be hunted in Missouri so keep that in mind. Preparing thoroughly means more success when going after these cunning creatures of the night!

Coyote Season

Season Dates
Hunting Season Jan 01 – Dec 31
Trapping Season Nov 15 – Feb 29


If you’re looking for a thrilling hunt, rabbit hunting in Missouri is the way to go. All that’s needed is your small game permit from the Department of Conservation and some basic gear like a shotgun or .22 rifle with plenty of ammo.

When scouting for rabbits, keep an eye out for thick brushy areas near fields or agricultural land – they love hiding spots! Morning and late afternoon/evening are usually when they’re most active so those are great times to start searching. If you’re lucky enough, you may spot them hopping around looking for food with their ears poking up above tall grasses or bushes.

Hunting Rabbits in Missouri

Rabbit Season

Season Dates
Hunting Season Oct 01 – Feb 15
Trapping Season Nov 15 – Jan 31


If you’re ready to hunt raccoons in Missouri, it pays to do your homework. Brush up on the state’s hunting regulations and laws before hitting the woods – a valid license is mandatory for trapping or night hunting, so make sure you’ve got one.

The right gear can also go a long way; consider air rifles or crossbows as an alternative to traditional firearms like shotguns and rifles. Don’t forget bait, lures, traps, and other supplies too.

The best time of year for chasing those pesky critters? Late fall through early spring – when they’re most active. Look around wooded areas with plenty of cover near water sources such as rivers and creeks; agricultural fields are also great spots because their food sources (corn & soybeans) draw them in droves.

Set up your traps or stands accordingly once you find an area that looks promising – then get ready for some serious raccoon wrangling!

Raccoon Season

Season Dates
Hunting and Trapping Aug 01 – Oct 15
Hunting and Trapping Nov 15 – Feb 29


Squirrels are abundant in Missouri, with gray squirrels being the most common. However, if you know where to look, fox and red squirrels can also be found. If you’re hunting these furry critters, remember they’re most active during the early morning and late afternoon hours – this is when your best chance of success lies.

To increase your chances of a successful hunt even further, familiarize yourself with their dietary habits; nuts, seeds, fruits, fungi, and insects are all on the menu for them. It’s also important to keep an eye out for any local regulations surrounding hunting squirrels as each area may have different restrictions or requirements that need to be met before heading out.

With knowledge of their diet preferences and habitat needs combined with awareness of relevant laws, you’ll soon have those pesky squirrelly pests under control.

Squirrel Season

Species Dates
Squirrel May 27 – Feb 15


Bobcats are much bigger and have longer legs than your typical housecat. With their bobbed tail, they’re also great swimmers and can easily scale most heights. In Missouri, these agile animals prefer heavily wooded areas with thick underbrush that is broken up by rocky outcroppings, bluffs, and glades as well as clearings and timber-filled swamps for their hunting grounds.

You may spot one of these nocturnal cats in the day or night but they tend to hunt during dawn or dusk when the environment is most conducive for them to thrive. Rabbits remain a staple part of their diet but don’t be surprised if you see them eating small rodents such as squirrels along with quail and turkey plus an occasional deer fawn here in there too.

Bobcats rely on more than just smell – sharp eyesight and hearing help them stay alert throughout the year so they can score a meal whenever the opportunity arises.

Hunting Bobcats in Missouri

Bobcat Season

Species Dates
Bobcat Nov 15 – Feb 29

Fox Season

Species Dates
Gray Fox, Red Fox Nov 15 – Jan 31

Beaver Season

Species Dates
Beaver (Trapping only) Nov 15 – Mar 31

Nutria Season

Species Dates
Nutria (Trapping only) Nov 15 – Mar 31

Badger Season

Season Dates
Hunting and Trapping Nov 15 – Jan 31

Opossum Season

Species Dates
Opossum Aug 01 – Oct 15
Opossum Nov 15 – Feb 29

Otter Season

Species Dates
Otter (Trapping only) Nov 15 – Feb 29

Muskrat Season

Species Dates
Muskrat (Trapping only) Nov 15 – Feb 29

Mink Season

Species Dates
Mink (Trapping only) Nov 15 – Feb 29

Groundhog Season

Hunting Groundhogs in Missouri

Species Dates
Groundhog May 08 – Dec 15

Striped Skunk Season

Species Dates
Striped Skunk Aug 01 – Oct 15
Striped Skunk Nov 15 – Feb 29

Crow Season

Species Dates
Crow Nov 01 – Mar 03

Dove Season

Season Dates
Hunting Sep 01 – Nov 29
Falconry Sep 01 – Dec 16

Quail Season

Species Dates
Quail Nov 01 – Jan 15
Quail Youth Season Oct 28 – Oct 29

Pheasant Season

Species Dates
Pheasant Nov 01 – Jan 15
Pheasant Youth Season Oct 28 – Oct 29

Duck Season

Season Dates
North Zone Oct 28 – Dec 26
Middle Zone Nov 04 – Nov 12
Middle Zone Nov 18 – Jan 07
South Zone Nov 23 – Nov 26, Dec 07 – Jan 31
Youth-North Zone Oct 21 – Oct 22
Youth-Middle Zone Oct 21 – Oct 22
Youth-South Zone Nov 18 – Nov 19
Falconry Feb 11 – Mar 10

Goose Season

Hunting Geese in Missouri

Season Dates
Light Geese Nov 11 – Feb 06
Brant Geese Oct 07 – Oct 15
Brant Geese Nov 11 – Feb 06
Canada Geese Oct 07 – Oct 15
Canada Geese Nov 11 – Feb 06
Greater White-Fronted Geese Nov 11 – Feb 06
Youth-North Zone Oct 21 – Oct 22
Youth-Middle Zone Oct 21 – Oct 22
Youth-South Zone Nov 18 – Nov 19
Light Goose Conservation Order Feb 07 – Apr 30

Youth Waterfowl Season

Season Dates
North Zone Oct 22 – Oct 23
Middle Zone Oct 22 – Oct 23
South Zone Nov 19 – Nov 20

Teal Season

Species Dates
Teal Sep 09 – Sep 24

Snipe Season

Species Dates
Snipe Sep 01 – Dec 16

Woodcock Season

Species Dates
Woodcock Oct 15 – Nov 28

Rail Season

Species Dates
Sora & Virginia Rail Sep 01 – Nov 09

Missouri Hunting License Information

If you’re looking to hunt in Missouri, you’ll need a valid hunting license. To get one, you must be at least 12 years old and may have to complete an approved hunter education course.

Prices vary depending on the type of game hunted and length of validity – for example, an annual resident’s deer permit costs $17 while non-residents pay up to $265. There are also youth permits available for those under 18 as well as disabled veterans and lifetime permits.

When purchasing your license, make sure to bring proof of residency & age along with any relevant certifications from hunter education courses that may apply.

Once licensed, it is essential that all state regulations regarding hunting in Missouri are adhered to including bag limits, seasons & other applicable restrictions based on species or areas within the state boundaries.

Where Can You Hunt in Missouri?

If you’re looking for a place to hunt, Missouri has you covered. The Mark Twain National Forest is an excellent spot for deer hunting; spanning over 1.5 million acres and offering some of the best deer hunting in the state. The Ozark Mountains are also great for tracking whitetail as well as other game such as turkey and small game animals.

Waterfowlers will find paradise on earth with duck and goose hunting along the Mississippi River or Lake of the Ozarks, while public areas throughout Missouri provide exceptional opportunities too.

Upland hunters can flush out quail and pheasant around Clark County or Stoddard County – but don’t forget about turkey during spring season when they nest and mate.

Public Hunting Places in Missouri

Mark Twain National Forest

The Mark Twain National Forest is a beautiful and expansive outdoor playground, home to an abundance of wildlife. Whether you’re chasing after deer, turkey, squirrels, or quail – the range of terrain across the 1.5 million acres provides plenty of exciting hunting opportunities for any level of experience.

Trek along trails through rolling hills or dense hardwood forests to find your ideal spot – with numerous streams and rivers nearby providing excellent fishing too.

Before heading out on your adventure though, make sure you familiarize yourself with all regulations in place within MTNF. Obtaining necessary permits is key as well as adhering to safety protocols while there – so take heed before stepping foot onto the land.

With this knowledge comes great responsibility; but if done right, it’s sure to be an unforgettable trip into one of America’s most majestic national forests.

Truman Lake

Truman Lake is a haven for outdoorsmen and nature enthusiasts alike. Here, you can hunt deer, turkey, quail, waterfowl, and more – while watching out for other small critters like rabbits or squirrels. Cast your line in the lake from the shoreline or boat to get the full experience of this natural retreat. There are plenty of public launch sites so it’s easy to set up camp or take off on an adventure!

The terrain around Truman Lake is diverse with something for everyone; open meadows filled with wildflowers provide perfect spots to relax after a day hunting game animals that hide away within thick forests and marshy areas nearby. The bluffs encircling the lake make prime scouting grounds where you can plan your next mission.

August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area

August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area offers the perfect hunting grounds for hunters, boasting over 5,000 acres of diverse habitats filled with plenty of deer, turkey, and other game to pursue. The area is kept in top shape so you can enjoy your hunt while feeling safe and secure.

You’ll find a variety of terrain from woodland areas to grasslands and wetlands. There are also several ponds or lakes great for fishing. You won’t be short on amenities either; camping sites, picnic spots, and trails make exploring even more fun whether it’s hiking or biking you’re after.

Be sure to check out the Missouri Department of Conservation website before any excursion as regulations must be followed at all times ensuring safety remains the priority number one during your time here at August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Welcome to Ozark National Scenic Riverways, an ideal destination for hunters of all stripes. This magnificent 80,000-acre area boasts lush forests and crystal-clear rivers that are teeming with wildlife.

Whether you’re in search of small game or large – deer, turkey, squirrels, rabbits, and more – the opportunities here are endless. Even elk and bears can be found roaming these woods if you know where to look.

And don’t forget about waterfowl hunting! With its many streams and wetlands populated by ducks and geese alike, this paradise is sure to please any avid hunter looking for a challenge.

Eleven Point State Park

The Eleven Point State Park is the perfect spot for nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike. With 4,000 acres filled with wildlife like deer, turkeys, squirrels, and more – you can gear up and get ready to hunt.

Bow hunting is especially popular here – just make sure to stick to the designated archery areas before taking off into the woods. Keep safety top of mind when using bows or firearms around these parts.

Private Hunting Places in Missouri

Before embarking on your hunt, it’s essential to understand the rules and regulations that govern hunting on private lands in Missouri. To legally hunt, you must have a valid license from the state.

Furthermore, be aware of local firearm and equipment laws as well as wearing blaze orange when out in the field. When selecting a spot for hunting privately, consider what type of game is available nearby, how much space there is to roam around, or if there are any amenities like restrooms or camping spots close by.

Lastly, if bringing family or friends, it’s crucial they know all safety measures associated with private lands for a successful and safe hunting experience.