2015 General Deer Regulations


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.
To hunt, pursue, wound, capture or kill any wildlife in any manner. Also includes acts of assistance to other persons attempting to take wildlife.
A person who takes or attempts to take wildlife.
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.

Hunter-Orange Requirement

You must wear hunter orange if:

  • You are hunting any species of game during firearms deer season. Some exceptions are allowed. See below.
  • You are hunting on an area that is having a managed firearms deer hunt.
  • You are serving as a mentor to another hunter during firearms deer season or on an area that is having a managed firearms deer hunt.

To satisfy this rule, you must wear both a hunter-orange hat and a hunter-orange shirt, vest, or coat. The hunter-orange color must be plainly visible from all sides. Camouflage orange does not satisfy this rule.

You don't have to wear hunter orange if:

  • You are hunting migratory game birds.
  • You are archery hunting within municipal boundaries where the discharge of firearms is prohibited.
  • You are hunting on federal or state land where deer hunting is restricted to archery or crossbow methods.
  • You are archery hunting during the alternative methods portion.
  • You are hunting in a county that is closed during the urban zones and antlerless portions.
  • You are hunting small game or furbearers during the alternative methods portion.

Assisting Other Deer Hunters

You must have a filled or unfilled turkey hunting permit to call turkeys for another hunter. You must have a filled or unfilled deer hunting permit to assist others in 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 or turkey for another hunter. Party hunting where hunters pool their tags is prohibited.

Methods Prohibited

  • Electronic calls and electronically activated calls may not be used or possessed while hunting deer and turkeys.
  • Dogs may not be used to take deer and turkeys.
  • Artificial lights may not be used to spot, locate, or take deer and turkeys.
  • Night vision equipment and thermal imagery devices may not be used or possessed while hunting.
  • Poisons and tranquilizing drugs may not be used. Arrows, bolts, and darts must not contain any chemical
    or explosive.
  • Slingshots may not be used to take deer and turkeys.
  • Wildlife may not be taken from or across a public roadway with a firearm, bow, or crossbow.
  • Deer and turkeys may not be taken from or with the aid of motor-driven vehicles.
  • Live decoys may not be used or possessed while hunting turkeys.
  • Deer may not be taken while they are in a stream or other body of water, or from any boat with a motor attached,
    regardless of whether the motor is running or not.
  • Deer may not be taken within any area enclosed by a fence greater than 7 feet in height, except in licensed hunting preserves.

Baiting Regulations

  • 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 hunter 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 in the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Management Zones.

Firearms Deer Hunting Season

The firearms deer hunting season is made up of five portions:

  • Urban zones: Oct. 9 – 12, 2015, only in certain areas
  • Youth: Oct. 1 – Nov. 1, 2015, and Jan. 2 – 3, 2016, statewide
  • November: Nov. 14 – 24, 2015, statewide
  • Antlerless: Nov. 25 – Dec. 6, 2015, only in certain areas
  • Alternative methods: Dec. 19 – 29, 2015, statewide

The November portion typically opens on the Saturday 12 days before Thanksgiving. The early youth portion typically opens on the first Saturday in November. These formulas are provided for reference only and are subject to change. Dates for each portion are set annually by the Conservation Commission. To allow hunters time to plan, the Commission announces firearms deer season dates in December of the previous year.

Antlered Deer Limits

  • You may take only one antlered deer during the firearms deer season. This includes all portions, including both youth portions.
  • You may take two antlered deer using an archer's hunting permit during archery deer season. However, only one antlered deer may be taken before the November portion of firearms deer season.
  • If you are drawn to participate in a managed hunt, you may take as many antlered deer as allowed at that specific hunt. Deer taken at a managed hunt do not count toward your firearms or archery season limits.

Tree Stands Placed on Conservation Department Areas

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 your full name and address, or Conservation ID number. You may not use nails, screw-in steps, or any material that would damage the tree. Tree stands must be removed from the area before Feb. 1.

Retrieval of Game

If you kill or injure a deer or turkey, you must make a reasonable effort to retrieve and include the animal in your season limit. However, this does not authorize trespass. It is illegal to leave or abandon commonly edible portions of game.

Use of Dogs to Recover Legally Taken Game

You may use leashed dogs to track and recover mortally wounded deer or turkeys, provided you:

  1. Have exhausted other reasonable means of finding the animal
  2. Contact a conservation agent
  3. Do not possess firearms or bows during dog-tracking activities
  4. Maintain control of the leashed dog at all times

Using 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.

Giving Away Deer and Turkeys

You may give your deer or turkey to another person, but the game counts toward your season 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 and turkeys 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 meat processor begins working on the animal.

Deer left at commercial processing or cold storage plants must be claimed by May 1 following the season taken.

Turkeys may not be possessed after Feb. 15 following the season taken.

Legally obtained turkey bones and feathers, and 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 buyer’s 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.

Cervids Harvested Outside of Missouri

If you harvest a deer, elk, or moose out of state and bring the animal with the spinal column or head attached into Missouri, you must report the animal's entry within 24 hours at 877-853-5665 or The carcass must be taken to a licensed meat processor or taxidermist within 72 hours of entry. Upper canine teeth and the items listed as safe to transport from the CWD Containment Zone do not require a phone call. If you are passing through Missouri on the way to another state, you are exempt from this requirement as long as you are not in Missouri longer than 24 hours.

Key Messages: 

Conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt and fish.

Hunting Other Game

Other game may be hunted during Missouri's firearms deer season, but some restrictions apply. Browse special restrictions before going afield.

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