Missouri Wildlife Code Changes Affect Hunters

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Changes to Missouri's Wildlife Code that went into effect July 1 affect youth and nonresident permits, the antler-point restriction, urban deer hunting zones and the timing of the antlerless and muzzleloader portions of firearms deer season.

The Youth Deer and Turkey Hunting Permit, which has been around since 1999, no longer is available. However, hunters who bought the discontinued permit before July 1 still can use it for fall deer and turkey hunting. The $17 permit entitles holders age 6 through 15 to take one turkey in the spring and one in the fall and one deer during any firearms deer hunting season segment. The Youth Antlerless Deer Hunting Permit also was discontinued July 1.

Instead, young hunters - whether residents or nonresidents - can buy regular firearms deer hunting permits at half the price paid by adult Missouri residents.

The order of the muzzleloader and antlerless portions of firearms deer season is reversed this year, with the antlerless portion taking place Nov. 25 through Dec. 6, and the muzzleloader portion running from Dec. 19 through 29. The Conservation Commission changed the timing of these events at the request of hunters.

Also new this year is a requirement that youths be at least 6 years old to receive landowner permits. Reduced-cost nonresident landowner deer and turkey hunting permits are no longer available, and prices for nonresident hunting and fishing permits have increased.

Another set of changes is aimed at bringing consistency to requirements for mentors of firearms hunters who have not completed hunter education. Until this year, hunters as young as 17 could serve as mentors under the requirements for some permits, while other permits required 21-year-old mentors. In certain circumstance, mentors faced no age restrictions.

This year when mentoring a firearms hunter who is not hunter-education certified and not hunting on a landowner permit, all mentors, including landowners on their own land, must be at least 18 years old and hunter-education certified unless they were born before Jan. 1, 1967.

Qualifying nonresident students may purchase resident permits this year, except lifetime permits.

New areas with the antler-point restriction include Ste. Genevieve County and the portions of Cass and Jefferson counties not included in the new urban deer zones. The antler-point restriction no longer applies to the portion of northeastern Franklin County now in the Urban Zone.

Archery antlerless deer permits now may be used in Cape Girardeau County, and qualifying air-powered guns may be used during firearms managed deer hunts.

Finally, deer-hunting methods and seasons have been changed on some conservation areas in an effort to improve game management and hunting quality. Details of this and other regulation changes are explained in the 2009 Summary of Missouri Hunting and Trapping Regulations and the 2009 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations & Information booklet. These publications are available wherever hunting permits are sold or at www.missouriconservation.org.