Wildlife Code Changes

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Published on: Feb. 2, 2006

Last revision: Nov. 23, 2010

stocked with hybrid striped bass to increase predation on overabundant gizzard shad and crappie. The new length limit will allow the stocked fish to become large enough to prey on adult shad and help establish a hybrid striped bass population.

  • Non-native goldfish and bighead, common, grass and silver carp of any length may now be taken for use as live bait.
  • To help other states keep unwanted species out of their waters and to stop the illegal commercialization of native species from Missouri waters, anglers are not allowed to transport or sell native species taken in Missouri as live bait in other states.
  • To minimize negative impacts to invertebrates listed in the Missouri Species and Communities of Conservation Concern Checklist, a Wildlife Collector’s Permit must be obtained to collect or possess these species. The checklist is available online.
  • Mussels listed as species of conservation concern in the Wildlife Code are protected. The list of species is available online.
  • To protect public safety, help control the spread of wildlife diseases and prevent the proliferation of non-native species in the wild, escaped animals from big game hunting preserves and from holders of Class I wildlife breeder permits must be reported immediately to the Department.
  • Because sturgeon fisheries in Missouri have been under increased harvest pressure due to the demand for caviar, the commercial harvest restrictions imposed upon the Missouri River will now be expanded to the Mississippi River. In portions defined as commercial waters, shovelnose sturgeon that measure 24 to 32 inches may be taken from Oct. 15 through May 15 by holders of a Resident Shovelnose Sturgeon Commercial Harvest Permit or Nonresident Mississippi River Shovelnose Sturgeon Commercial Harvest Permit. Shovelnose sturgeon smaller than 24 inches and larger than 32 inches must be released unharmed. Bordering states are working with the Department to protect this fish species and standardize regulations. As a result, fishermen who possess a valid commercial permit to harvest shovelnose sturgeon issued by Illinois or Tennessee may harvest shovelnose sturgeon from the Missouri portion of the Mississippi River without further permit or license.

  • Other changes clarify the intent of existing regulations.

    • If a mountain lion, which is protected in Missouri, is killed by a person who is protecting property, the intact carcass, including pelt, must be surrendered to an agent of the Department within 24 hours. This wording was changed to show that the pelt along with the carcass must be surrendered.
    • The experimental catfish hand-fishing season will continue this year, but several items were added to the regulation to clarify allowable methods. Only feet and bare hands may be used without the aid of hooks, snorkeling or SCUBA equipment, or other man-made devices. Hand fishers may not possess fishing equipment, except a stringer, while on designated hand fishing waters or adjacent banks. Stringers may not be used as an aid for taking catfish, and may not be used until the fish is in possession at or above the surface of the water. Natural sticks may be used to locate catfish, but may not be used as an aid for taking fish. Catfish taken by hand-fishing methods may not be possessed on waters closed to hand fishing. Also, every hand fisher must keep an up-to-date, accurate record showing the date, waters fished, length, weight, species and sex of catfish caught or taken and other biological data as listed on the form furnished by the Department.
    • Crayfish traps, as well as other live-bait trapping methods, may be used to take live bait. All traps used to take live bait must be labeled with the angler’s full name and address, and must be attended every 24 hours.
    • A complete list of regulations is available online at A printed version of the Wildlife Code of Missouri is available at permit vendors. Area regulations and maps are available at and at Conservation Department regional offices

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