2013 General Deer Regulations

In Missouri, deer may be pursued, taken, killed, possessed or transported only as outlined in the Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet.

Firearms safety

Firearms safety is the first responsibility of every hunter. All hunters must be familiar with and follow the rules of safe firearms handling.

Hunter-orange requirements

The following people are required to wear a cap or hat and also a shirt, vest or coat of hunter orange so that the color is plainly visible from all sides. Camouflage orange does not satisfy this requirement.

  • Firearms deer hunters during all portions of the firearms deer season
  • Adults accompanying youths hunting deer on a firearms deer hunting permit
  • Archery hunters during the youth portions statewide and during the urban zones and antlerless portions in open areas
  • All hunters (except migratory bird hunters) during the urban zones, youth, November and antlerless portions in open areas.

Note: Fall firearms turkey hunters must wear hunter orange in some areas Oct. 11–14 (see Firearms Deer Hunting).

The following firearms deer hunters are exempt from the hunter-orange requirement:

  • Hunters using archery methods within municipal boundaries where discharge of firearms is prohibited
  • Archery permittees hunting during the alternative methods portion of the firearms deer season
  • Hunters on federal or state public hunting areas where deer hunting is by archery methods only. Hunter orange, however, is recommended for archery hunters who are hunting close to areas open to firearms methods.

Note: Safety conscious hunters display hunter-orange even when it isn’t required. Here’s some examples:

  • When walking to and from a turkey hunt, especially when carrying harvested game
  • When hunting inside a camouflage blind
  • When hunting close to areas where firearms hunting is allowed

Beware: When using a camouflage blind, other hunters cannot see you even if you are legally wearing hunter orange. To be safe, tie hunter orange on each side of the blind so it can be seen from all sides.

Definitions

Deer - White-tailed deer and mule deer.

Antlered Deer - A deer with at least one antler a minimum of 3 inches long, except that special restrictions apply in 63 counties.

Take - To hunt, pursue, wound, capture or kill any wildlife in any manner. Also includes acts of assistance to other persons attempting to take wildlife.

Taker - A person who takes or attempts to take wildlife.

Resident - A person who does not claim resident privileges in another state or country, and whose actual and legal residence are both in Missouri and have been for at least the last 30 days.

Methods prohibited

  • Deer and turkeys may not be taken with the use of dogs, electronic calls, electronically activated calls, live decoys, or bait.
  • Deer may not be hunted, pursued or taken within any area enclosed by a fence greater than 7 feet in height, except in
    licensed hunting preserves.
  • Deer and turkeys may not be pursued or taken from or with the aid of a motor-driven vehicle. Deer may not be taken while they are in a stream or other body of water, or from any boat with a motor attached.

Antlered deer limit

  • Each hunter may take only one antlered deer during the firearms deer season. This includes all portions, including the two youth portions.
  • If you want to take additional antlered deer, you must hunt on an archer’s hunting permit during the archery deer season or in a managed hunt where antlered deer can be taken.

Hunter-education requirement

All hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1967, must complete an approved hunter-education program and display their card before they can purchase a firearms deer or turkey hunting permit unless:

  • They first purchase an Apprentice Hunter Authorization. 
  • They are ages 6–15 and will be hunting with a qualified mentor.
  • They failed to pass the hunter-education certification tests due to a developmental disability. 

Hunters do not need to show their hunter-education card if certification can be verified electronically. Most hunters who use the e-Permits System will have their certification verified online. If this is not possible, some hunters will need to contact the Department to provide proof of hunter-education certification. Once in the database, hunters won’t have to submit this information again.

A person must be at least 11 years old to receive hunter-education certification. People hunting with resident landowner permits are exempt from the hunter-education requirement unless they were born on or after Jan. 1, 1967, and are mentoring a firearms hunter who is not hunter-education certified.

Assisting other deer hunters

A person must have a filled or unfilled deer hunting permit to assist others in pursuing or taking deer, which includes participating in deer drives or enticing deer with calls or rattling antlers. It is illegal to shoot or take a deer for another hunter.

Note: Party hunting where hunters pool their tags is prohibited.

Purple paint law

Landowners may post or define the boundaries of their property by marking trees and fence posts with purple paint. In a court of law, a property boundary marked with purple paint is the same as posting “No Trespassing” signs.

Tree stands placed on Conservation Department areas

Only portable tree stands may be placed or used only between Sept. 1 and Jan. 31 on Conservation Department areas. Unattended stands must be plainly labeled on durable material with the full name and address, or Conservation I.D. number of the owner and be removed from the area before Feb. 1. Use of nails, screw-in steps or any material that would damage the tree is prohibited.

Retrieval of game

Anyone who kills or injures a deer must make a reasonable effort to retrieve and include the animal in his or her season limit, but this does not authorize trespass. It is a violation to wantonly leave or abandon commonly edible portions of game.

Use of dogs to recover legally taken game

A hunter can use leashed dogs to track and recover mortally wounded deer, provided the hunter:

  1. Has exhausted other reasonable means of finding the animal,
  2. Contacts a conservation agent,
  3. Does not possess firearms or bows during dog-tracking activities, and
  4. Maintains control of the leashed dog at all times.

Note: The use of dogs to recover game does not authorize trespass.

Keep deer carcasses out of streams and lakes

It is illegal to place a deer carcass or any of its parts into any well, spring, brook, branch, creek, stream, pond or lake. See the Chronic Wasting Disease pages to see how hunters can limit the spread of chronic wasting disease by proper disposal of deer carcasses.

Labeling game

All harvested deer and turkeys, either whole or processed, must be labeled with the taker’s full name, address, and Telecheck confirmation number. Deer must also be labeled with the date taken.

Giving away deer

A hunter who takes a deer or turkey may give it to another person, but the game counts toward the taker’s bag limit. Deer and turkeys that are given away must be labeled with the taker’s full name, address, date taken and Telecheck confirmation number.

Possession, storage and sale

Properly checked deer may be possessed by anyone if labeled with the taker’s full name, address, date taken and Telecheck confirmation number. The Telecheck confirmation number must remain attached to the carcass until a processor begins the act of processing the meat for packaging.

Deer left at commercial processing or cold storage plants must be claimed by May 1 following the season taken or the owner will be in violation of Rule 3 CSR 10-4.140.

Legally obtained deer heads, antlers, hides and feet may be sold by the taker, but the taker must provide a bill of sale showing:

  • The taker’s full name and address
  • The species and number of parts
  • The full name and address of the buyer.

For deer heads and/or antlers attached to skull plates, a dated bill of sale identifying the seller must be retained while the heads or antlers are in the buyers possession.

Any person who finds a dead deer with antlers still attached to the skull plate may take the antlers, but must report the find to a conservation agent within 24 hours to receive authorization to possess the antlers.

No authorization is needed to possess, buy and sell shed antlers not attached to the skull plate.

Shooting dogs is illegal

Although landowners have some recourse if dogs are injuring or killing livestock under Missouri Revised Statutes, Section 273.030, dogs that merely enter private property may not be killed. In fact, Section 578.012 provides penalties for intentionally killing a dog or other animal.

Anyone killing a dog under circumstances other than the narrow ones described above can expose themselves to significant legal difficulty. Those who kill dogs may be forced to pay restitution and/or face criminal charges. Because dogs are considered personal property, dog killings are investigated by local law enforcement authorities, not by conservation agents.

It is illegal for people to trespass on private property. Ethical hunters who use dogs do their best to keep them off property where dogs are not wanted, and should contact the property owner for permission to retrieve them when their dogs follow game onto such private property. The Conservation Department works with the Sporting Dog Association of Missouri and other groups to encourage legal and ethical hunting activities and to establish good relationships with private landowners.

Don’t hunt over bait

  • Use of bait—which includes grain or other feed placed or scattered so as to attract deer or turkeys—while hunting is illegal.
  • An area is considered baited for 10 days after complete removal of the bait.
  • A hunter can be in violation if they take or attempt to take a deer or turkey by the aid of bait where the person knows or reasonably should know that the area is or has been baited.
  • It is illegal to place bait in a way that causes others to be in violation of the baiting rule.
  • Doe urine and other scents, such as apple, acorn and persimmon, may be used to attract deer while hunting, as long as the scents are not used on or with grain and other food products.
  • Mineral blocks, including salt, are not considered bait. However, mineral blocks that contain grain or other food additives are prohibited.
  • It is legal to hunt over a harvested crop field, but it is not legal to add grain or other crops, such as apples, to the field after it has been harvested.
  • Manipulating crops, such as mowing or knocking them down, is not considered baiting for deer and turkeys; however, it is illegal to hunt waterfowl over manipulated crops.
  • Additional rules apply regarding deer attractants in the CWD Containment Zone.

Deer Attractants Prohibited in Containment Zone

Grain, salt products, minerals, and other consumable natural or manufactured products used to attract deer are prohibited in the CWD Containment Zone. However, the following exceptions are allowed:

  • Feed placed within 100 feet of any residence or occupied building
  • Feed placed in a manner that excludes access by deer
  • Feed and minerals used solely for normal agricultural, forest management, or wildlife food plot production practices Activities such as feeding deer or attracting them using salts and minerals artificially concentrates many deer in a small area. This increases the chance for CWD to be spread from one deer to another or from the soil to a deer.

Key Messages: 

Conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt and fish.

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