All About Captive Wildlife

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Published on: Aug. 2, 2006

Last revision: Nov. 29, 2010

page 1 for a list of regional office phone numbers).

Permit Types

Class I Wildlife Breeder Permits allow the holder to exhibit, possess and propagate, buy and sell those animals defined as Class I wildlife. These include bullfrogs, green frogs and birds (including ring-necked pheasants and gray partridges) that are native to the continental United States. Also included under the Class I permit are mammals, with the exception of bison, mountain lions, wolves and black bears or any hybrid of these species, nonvenomous reptiles, and amphibians native to Missouri.

Class II Wildlife Breeder Permits allow the same privileges as a Class I permit but also include those animals defined as Class II wildlife. These include the five poisonous snakes of Missouri: the pygmy rattlesnake, timber rattlesnake, massasauga rattlesnake, copperhead and cottonmouth. Also included are black bear, mountain lions, wolves, or any of their hybrids.

Hobby Permits authorize the holder to purchase, possess and propagate no more than 50 ring-necked pheasants and bobwhite quail together and not more than one game mammal. Animals may be held for personal use only. Persons holding wildlife under this permit may not sell any of the animals they hold. No hoofed animals or Class II animals can be held on this permit.

Licensed Hunting Preserve Permits allow the holder to maintain and operate a licensed hunting preserve. With this permit you can purchase, propagate, hold in captivity, and sell legally acquired pheasants, exotic partridges, quail and ungulates (hoofed animals). Depending on which types of animals are held, licensed hunting preserves must follow other guidelines that are set out in detail in Missouri’s Wildlife Code.

Field Trial Permits are used for sanctioned events, and allow you or designated shooters to shoot legally obtained quail, pheasants, chukars and mallard ducks. All of the birds must be marked with permanent avian leg bands prior to release, and captive mallards must be marked with a permanent avian leg band, removal of the hind toe from the right foot, or a web tattoo.

Dog Training Permits allow holders to tune up their bird dog before the season. Under this permit you can operate a dog-training area on no more than 40 acres and purchase legally acquired pheasants, exotic partridges and quail. Permit holders can have up to two training assistants, and all must have the appropriate hunting license.

The Captive Wildlife Boom

  • The North American Elk Breeders Association, founded in 1990 with 300 members, had grown to 1,400 members with 90,000 farmed elk by 1997.
  • The American bison industry is reported to be growing by 30 percent each year, with more than 250,000 farmed bison in 1997, compared to 30,000 bison in 1972.
  • The number of llamas in the U.S. was reported at more than 123,000 in 1999, up from 53,000 in 1992.
  • In just four years, from 1992 to 1996, the estimated number of farmed deer in the U.S. grew from 44,000 to 126,000. In Missouri, well over 200 permits are currently issued to citizens who are raising white-tailed deer.

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