Wildlife Code Changes
Missourians value the state’s forests, fish and wildlife. To ensure these resources are protected, each year the Regulations Committee reviews the Wildlife Code of Missouri. Also each year, the public, as well as Department of Conservation staff, bring proposed changes for the committee to review.
During the review process, the committee researches the effects of the proposed regulation changes. Information reviewed by the committee often includes costs to the taxpayers, effects on wildlife populations, user group surveys, public comments and feasibility studies. When research shows a change could improve management of a species or provide more opportunities for Missourians to enjoy the outdoors, a proposed regulation change is sent to Director John Hoskins. If he approves the change, he submits the proposal to the Conservation Commission, four citizens appointed by the governor. If passed by the Commission, the proposed changes are filed with the secretary of state and published in the Missouri Register, which can be found online.
The filing begins the 30-day public comment period. If no comments are received, the final regulation is filed and becomes effective either 30 days after publication in the State Code of Regulations or on the date specified in the proposal. When comments are received, the Regulation Committee reviews the proposal. Based on the public’s comments, the Commission may decide to drop, modify or implement the regulation.
To take advantage of the latest breeding statistics, population surveys and harvest data from the previous hunting season, some season dates and limits can become effective in a shorter time frame. In rare circumstances, emergency rules can become effective 10 days after filing with the secretary of state.
Letters, e-mails and phone messages from Missourians concerning regulation changes are shared with the Regulations Committee. Not every suggested change can be made, but all suggestions are carefully reviewed. If you would like to see what changes are being considered, go online.
Last year’s review resulted in the following:
Joachim Creek from the Highway V bridge to the Highway A bridge in Jefferson County now has a length limit of 15 inches for all black bass and a daily limit of one smallmouth bass. These restrictions will help maintain a quality smallmouth bass population as fishing pressure increases in this watershed.
Snagging, snaring and grabbing no longer are allowed for catching shovelnose sturgeon. This will help protect these fish that are often in high demand for their eggs.
A trout permit is no longer needed to fish