JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri — Hunters rejoice!
The Missouri Department of Conservation last week finalized the 2022 hunting seasons for a variety of Missouri game, including bear, elk, migratory birds and waterfowl.
The state agency also extended the hunting and trapping season for furbearers, heeding stakeholder requests for better opportunities.
After an inaugural season with 12 black bear kills, MDC is offering another 400 permits to hunt black bears in southern Missouri from October 17-26.
Although 400 hunters can be licensed, a maximum of 40 bears can be hunted this fall. At least 10% of permits are reserved for qualified landowners.
The application fee is $10 and permits are $25.
Hunters applying for a permit must select one of the state’s three Black Bear Management Zones (BMZs). Permits are valid for public and private BMZ properties.
In addition to statewide quotas, each BMZ has its own license and harvest quotas. Once the BMZ quota is reached, bear hunting in that area ends for the season.
BMZ 1, located in the southwest corner of the state south of Joplin, Springfield and West Plains, has the largest quotas with permits capped at 200 and harvest limited to 20 bears.
BMZ 2, located in the southeast corner of the state and extending north past St. Louis, has a license limit of 150 and a harvest limit of 15 bears.
BMZ 3, located at the western end and stretching into central parts of the state, capped permits at 50 and harvesting at five bears.
Hunters should call the MDC before each hunting day to determine if the BMZ in which they are permitted to hunt is closed. Hunting hours range from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.
Permits allow hunters to harvest a maximum of one bear and only solitary black bears can be taken, meaning hunters cannot hunt bears known to be in the presence of other bears such as female black bears with cubs. Bears cannot be disturbed, pushed, harassed or removed from dens.
The MDC allows bear hunters to use the same methods they would use to hunt deer and elk, including firearms and archery. Bear hunters cannot use atlatl, bait or dogs.
Missouri hunters who are at least 11 years old on the first day of hunting can begin applying for permits in May at mdc.mo.gov/buypermits. The application period is from May 1 to 31 and permits are awarded by lottery.
The 2022 elk season includes a nine-day archery game from October 15-23 and a nine-day firearms game from December 10-18.
The MDC issues five bull elk licenses, one of which is restricted to eligible landowners. All five licenses are valid for the archery and firearms portions.
Missouri hunters who are at least 11 years old on the first day of hunting can begin applying for permits in May at mdc.mo.gov/buypermits. The application period is open until May and permits are awarded by lottery.
Hunters are required to pay a $10 application fee and, if selected, purchase the permit for $50.
All elk licenses can be used in Carter, Reynolds, and Shannon counties, except for the refuge portion of the Peck Ranch Conservation Area.
Hunters are permitted to use the same hunting methods as for deer hunting, and permits allow a bull elk with at least a 6-inch antler.
Fur-bearing animals and trapping
Effective June 30, the department is moving the deadline for hunting and trapping bobcats, raccoons, opossums and striped skunks from November 15 to the last day of February. The trapping deadline for coyote, mink, muskrat and river otter will also be extended to the end of February.
The department also extended the private land trapping season for coyotes, raccoons, opossums and striped skunks from March 1 to April 14 and approved an early hunting and trapping season for raccoons, l opossum and striped skunk from August 1 to October 15.
New MDC regulations provide more opportunities for hunters to harvest abundant species, including coyotes, raccoons and skunks.
Many furbearers, which are mammals traditionally trapped and hunted for their fur, are experiencing long-term population growth, according to the department.
The changes are a response to demands from stakeholders for the ministry to provide more opportunities to capture multiple species of furbearers, the ministry noted in a news release. MDC staff reviewed harvest seasons and recommended changes based on stakeholder requests.
Migratory bird hunting
The MDC’s hunting season for various migratory game birds largely begins in September, with hunting permitted from half an hour before sunrise until sunset.
The hunting season for mourning doves, Eurasian collared doves and white-winged doves runs from September 1 to November 29. Hunters can capture 15 birds per day for a total of 45 birds for the three species.
The hunting season for sora and Virginia rails is slightly shorter, running from September 1 to November 9. Hunters are limited to 25 birds per day and 75 in total to harvest both species.
Missouri’s season for Wilson’s (common) snipe also begins September 1, but continues through December 16. Hunters can harvest up to eight snipes per day for a maximum of 24 throughout the season.
The woodcock season starts later, from October 15 to November 28. Hunters are limited to harvesting three woodcocks per day for a total of nine throughout the season.
The MDC’s teal hunting season begins at sunrise September 10 and ends September 25 at sunset. Hunters can catch up to six teals per day for a total of 18 birds during the season.
Canada geese and geese have hunting seasons from October 1 to 9 and November 11 to February 6, 2023. Hunters can capture up to three Canada geese and Canada geese per day and have up to nine in possession . The hunt can start half an hour before sunrise and continue until sunset.
The hunting season for blue and white geese and Ross’s geese runs from November 11 to February 6, 2023. Hunters are limited to 20 blue, white or Ross’s geese per day with no total limit. The hunt can start half an hour before sunrise and continue until sunset. Hunters can use shotguns capable of holding more than three shells and recorded or amplified bird calls.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service requires that shells used to hunt waterfowl and coots be non-toxic. MDC has 14 approved non-toxic shell types listed on its website.
White-fronted goose season also runs from November 11 to February 6, 2023, but hunters are limited to harvesting two a day and having six in possession.
The MDC Light Goose Conservation Order runs from February 7, 2023 to April 30, 2023. It begins half an hour before sunrise and continues until half an hour after sunset . There is no daily or possession limit.
Missouri duck season is split between the northern, central, and southern zones of the state. The hunt can take place half an hour before sunrise and continue until sunset.
The duck season in the northern zone runs from October 29 to December 27. Hunting in the middle zone takes place from November 5 to 13 and from November 19 to January 8, 2023. Duck hunting in the southern zone is authorized from November 24 to 27. and from December 7 to January 31, 2023.
Hunters are limited to six ducks per day with certain species harvest restrictions, including up to:
• Four mallards, no more than two females
• Two scaup during the first 45 days and one scaup during the last 15 days
• Three wood ducks
• Two redheads
• Two Hooded Mergansers
• A pintail
• Two canvas backs
• Two black ducks
• A spotted duck
Coots follow the same season dates and areas as ducks. Hunters are limited to 15 coots per day and a total of 45 throughout the season.
Youth Hunt is available to Missourians 15 years of age or younger. Youth waterfowl season is October 22-23 for the North and Central Zones and November 19-20 for the South Zone.
Harvest limits and hunting hours for young are the same as for the regular waterfowl season. Young people will not need a permit if they are under the supervision of an adult who is at least 18 years old. If the young people are not certified in hunting education, the adult accompanying them must have a license and proof of hunting education. Adults cannot hunt ducks but can participate in other open seasons on youth hunting days.
The MDC’s falconry season for doves runs from September 1 to December 16. Beginning half an hour before sunrise, hunters can capture up to three doves per day and have up to nine in possession. The hunt ends at sunset.
The MDC falconry season for ducks, coots and mergansers is open during the teal, juvenile and waterfowl duck seasons and from February 10, 2023 to March 10, 2023. The hunt is open from sunrise to sunset. sun during September teal season and half an hour before sunrise for sunset during other seasons.
Hunters are limited to three birds per day and can own up to nine during regular duck hunting seasons and extended falconry seasons.