2003 Wildlife Code Changes
The purpose of the annual review is to determine whether the existing regulations continue to fulfill the mission of conserving the state's forest, fish and wildlife resources without unnecessarily regimenting or inconveniencing the public. When specific needs are identified, rule changes are recommended to the Missouri Conservation Commission for approval.
Rule changes that appear in the 2003 Wildlife Code, which is now available, become effective March 1, 2003 and are highlighted in this summary. Hunters, anglers and trappers should review and understand the regulations before venturing afield.
Resident Firearms Any-Deer Hunting Permit
This permit, enacted to begin with the fall 2002 firearms deer season, allows hunters to take a deer of any sex statewide. Missouri's deer population is now large enough to support either-sex deer harvest statewide. The former Resident Firearms Any-Deer Hunting Permit allowed hunters to take a deer of either sex only in a specified deer management unit. The Resident Firearms Deer Hunting Permit for "bucks only" is no longer available.
Youth Deer And Turkey Hunting Permit
Any person ages 6 through 15 years old may purchase a Youth Deer & Turkey Hunting Permit without displaying a hunter education certificate card. Under this provision, a youth possessing this permit will be allowed to hunt in the immediate presence of a properly licensed adult who has a valid hunter education certificate card. Previously, there was no minimum age requirement for purchasing a youth deer and turkey hunting permit, and the maximum age limit for purchase was 11 years.
Removing Wildlife from Traps
Wildlife must be removed or released from traps daily, except for Conibear-type traps set under water, which must be checked every 48 hours.
Expanded Reciprocal Fishing Privileges with Kansas
Any person possessing a valid sport fishing license issued by Missouri or Kansas, or who is legally exempted from those license requirements, without further permit or license, may fish in either state's portion of the Missouri River and its backwaters. These persons may also fish from or attach devices or equipment to land in either state. Anglers must abide by the regulations of the state in which they are fishing, regardless of the state in which they are licensed. They must also abide by the more restrictive of the two states' regulations when fishing in the other state's waters. These new reciprocal fishing privileges are the same as those already in effect on the portion of the river that we share with Nebraska, and they should increase Missouri River fishing opportunities for Missouri anglers.
Extracted paddlefish eggs may not be possessed while on Missouri waters or adjacent banks, and may not be transported. They also may not be bought, sold or offered for sale.
Walleye and Sauger that are at LEAST 18 Inches in Total Length May Now Be Taken From Wappapello Lake and the St. Francis River and Their Tributaries
After several years of walleye fingerling stocking in the upper 51 miles of the St. Francis River and strong enforcement of the "no harvest of walleye and sauger" regulation since 1997, the Conservation Department has re-established a walleye population that is strong enough to support some harvest pressure.
Clarification of the Black Bass Daily Limit on the Meramec, Big and Bourbeuse Rivers and Their Tributaries
On the Meramec, Big and Bourbeuse rivers and their tributaries, the daily and possession limit for black bass is twelve (12) in the aggregate and may include no more than six (6) largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in the aggregate, except that the daily limit may include no more than one (1) smallmouth bass on the smallmouth bass special management areas. The special management areas are on the Big River from the Highway 21 bridge (near Washington State Park) to its confluence with the Meramec River, on the Meramec River from Scotts Ford to the railroad crossing at Birds Nest, and Mineral Fork from the Highway F bridge (Washington County) to its confluence with the Big River.
Please remember that on the Meramec, Big and Bourbeuse rivers and their tributaries, there is no minimum length limit on spotted bass. The minimum length limit on largemouth and smallmouth bass is 12, except in the smallmouth bass special management areas, where the minimum length limit on smallmouth bass is 15.
Urban Winter Trout Areas in the St. Louis Area
With the addition of Jefferson Lake in Forest Park, the St. Louis area's urban winter trout fishing program has grown to 16 lakes. Some new special regulations will help provide quality fishing for as many anglers as possible throughout the trout fishing season.
From November 1 through January 31 at all urban winter trout areas, only 1 fishing pole may be used and the use of chum is prohibited. During this same season, at August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area lakes 22, 23 and 24, Carondelet Park-Boathouse Lake (St. Louis), January-Wabash Park Lake (Ferguson) O'Fallon Park Lake (St. Louis), Suson Park lakes 1, 2, 3 (St. Louis County) and Vlasis Park Lake (Ballwin), you must stop fishing for all species after having 5 trout in possession.
Please remember that from November 1 through January 31 at August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area lakes 21 and 28, Jefferson Lake (St. Louis), Tilles Park Lake (St. Louis County), Walker Lake (Kirkwood) and Wild Acres Park Lake (Overland), only flies, artificial lures and soft unscented plastic baits may be used, trout must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught, and trout may not be possessed on these waters.
No Fishing Allowed on the Osage River Within 225 Feet Below Bagnell Dam
This area is being closed to fishing because of a serious, year-round problem with the illegal snagging of sport fish.
No Daily Limit on Goldfish and Bighead, Common, Grass and Silver Carp
These are exotic species and they are considered undesirable in most of the waters where they occur. Thus, on most waters, they do not warrant protection with daily limits.
New Regulations for Paddlefish, Bowfin and Shovelnose Sturgeon
While on waters of the state or adjacent banks, extracted paddlefish eggs may not be possessed, and bowfin and shovelnose sturgeon must remain whole and intact. These regulations are needed to help control illegal activities related to the harvest and sale of fish eggs.
Camping on Conservation Department lands
Total camping days on all Department of Conservation lands are limited to 30 days within one calendar year (Jan. 1-Dec. 31). Camping requests in excess of 30 days within a calendar year may be granted with a special use permit.