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Missouri Hunting Guide

Missouri offers opportunities for hunting a variety of popular game. Hunters annually report strong harvest numbers from the state, and many of the game species continue to maintain high population levels.

What to Hunt

With strict attention to conservation efforts, Missouri presents hunters with strong populations of many popular game species.



Hunting pressure can be very high on Missouri deer populations, as the state offers very high concentrations of top-end bucks and trophy deer. It is not permitted to use bait, and mineral and salt blocks are not allowed in conservation areas. Hunters may take two antlered deer during the combined archery and firearms season, and only one may be taken during firearms season. Archers may take only one antlered deer before the November firearms season begins.



Hunters can enjoy public land that is well-inhabited by gobblers. Missouri offers both fall and spring seasons for archery and firearms. Fall archery season is quite a bit longer than firearms season; it typically ranges from September through January, while fall firearm season is often in October. It is not legal to use bait to hunt turkey, but it is legal to hunt over a harvested crop field as long as no bait is added to the field.



Northern bobwhite quail are fairly common throughout much of Missouri. Although quail populations have seen notable decline in recent years, the state still offers public and private quail hunting opportunities for hunters (resident and non-resident alike). Quail season generally runs from November through January, with a daily limit of 8 and a possession limit of 16 quail. Quail may only be hunted with a shotgun.



Missouri offers conservation areas that are managed specifically for waterfowl and bird species. Many of these issue hunting permits through a reservation system. Waterfowl are also abundant on public lands. Mississippi offers teal, geese, duck, and coot. Seasons range from September through February, depending on the season.

Other Missouri game species include: Beaver, Bobcat, Wilson's Snipe, Coyote, Frog, Crow, Dove, Fox, Geese, Brant, Ducks, Coots, Groundhog, Mink, Muskrat, Otter, Opossum, Badger, Pheasant, Squirrel, Rabbit, Raccoon, Striped Skunk, Teal, Rail, Woodcock, Bullfrog and Green Frog etc. found in the "Hunting Seasons" section at bottom of the page.

Where to Hunt

Missouri offers hunters significant amounts of public land for recreational use. Note that it is illegal to hunt in any of Missouri’s state forests.

Conservation Areas

Conservation Areas (CAs) are owned or managed by the Department of Conservation. There are over 1,000 areas found across the entirety of Missouri. The size of conservation areas varies significantly, but they total nearly one million acres combined. Many of them have dedicated purposes, which may include hunting and outdoor recreation. Each of these areas are subject to rules and regulations. It is important to familiarize yourself with a CA’s restrictions before planning a hunt.

Mark Twain National Forest

Mark Twain National Forest has 1.4 million acres of land open for public hunting. There are no fees charged for hunting in this forest. The Mark Twain National Forest features many of the state’s most popular species, including deer, turkey, rabbit, squirrel, woodcock, mourning dove, duck, raccoon, bobcat, fox, and coyote.

Licensing Fees

License Resident Nonresident
​Archer's Hunting Permit ​$19.00 ​$265.00
​Fall Firearms Turkey Hunting Permit ​$13.00 ​$130.00
​Firearms Any-Deer Hunting Permit ​$17.00 ​$265.00
​Migratory Bird Hunting Permit ​$6.00 ​$6.00
​Nonresident Daily Small Game Permit ​N/A ​$14.00
​Furbearer Hunting and Trapping Permit ​$10.00 ​$192.00
​Small Game Hunting Permit ​$10.00 ​$94.00

Hunter Education

Hunter education is required to purchase any type of firearms hunting permit in Missouri. These courses are available as a combination of self-study and classroom work or entirely online. The online-only class is available only to Missouri residents age 16 or older.

Youth Hunting

Youth 10 or younger may hunt with a firearm if they are in the immediate presence of a licensed adult hunter.

Missouri also offers youth hunting days and weekends for various game species each year. These events are open to youths between the ages of 6 and 15. Youth who have not passed a hunter’s education course must be accompanied by a licensed hunting adult.


A trapping license is required to trap animals in Missouri. The following animals are considered furbearing mammals in Missouri: racoon, opossum, muskrat, coyote, beaver, mink, red fox, gray fox, striped skunk, badger, bobcat, and river otter.

Hunting Seasons

Game Season Begins Season Ends
Beaver Nov 15 2023 Mar 31 2024
Bobcat Nov 15 2023 Feb 29 2024
Wilson's Snipe Sep 1 2023 Dec 16 2023
Coyote Jan 1 2023 Dec 31 2023
Frog Jun 30 2023 Oct 31 2023
Crow Nov 1 2023 Mar 3 2024
Dove Sep 1 2023 Nov 29 2023
Deer* Sep 15 2023 Jan 15 2024
Elk* Oct 21 2023 Dec 17 2023
Fox Nov 15 2023 Jan 31 2024
White Fronted Geese Nov 11 2023 Feb 6 2024
Light Geese Nov 11 2023 Feb 6 2024
Canada Geese Oct 7 2023 Feb 6 2024
Brant Oct 7 2023 Feb 6 2024
Ducks, Coots, and Geese Oct 21 2023 Jan 7 2024
Groundhog May 8 2023 Dec 15 2023
Mink Nov 15 2023 Feb 29 2024
Muskrat Nov 15 2023 Feb 29 2024
Otter Nov 15 2023 Feb 29 2024
Opossum Aug 1 2023 Feb 29 2024
Badger Nov 15 2023 Jan 31 2024
Pheasant Nov 1 2023 Jan 15 2024
Quail Oct 28 2023 Jan 15 2024
Squirrel May 27 2023 Feb 15 2023
Rabbit Oct 1 2023 Feb 15 2024
Raccoon Aug 1 2023 Feb 29 2024
Striped Skunk Aug 1 2023 Feb 29 2024
Turkey* Apr 17 2023 May 7 2023
Sep 15 2023 Oct 31 2023
Teal Sep 9 2023 Sep 24 2023
Sora and Virginia Rail Sep 1 2023 Nov 9 2023
Woodcock Oct 15 2023 Nov 28 2023
Bullfrog and Green Frog Jun 30 2023 Oct 31 2023

*Hunting dates for this species may vary by zone, method of take, or subspecies of animal. Visit the state’s website here to find out more.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not to be construed as legal advice or acted upon as if it is legal advice: it is provided for informational purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate, up-to-date content, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information.