Note To Our Readers
Leader in Hunter Recruitment
Conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt. Today, Missouri has a population of 6 million. Within this number are 800,000 hunters. The number of Americans who hunt has declined slowly in recent decades. However, Missouri has the nation’s highest hunter replacement ratio.
Missouri is one of only six states with a positive hunter replacement ratio, replacing every 100 lost hunters with 116 new hunters. This is accomplished, not with a silver bullet approach, but with a long-term approach to make hunting and shooting opportunities more available and accessible to all residents of our great state.
Today the Department has five staffed shooting and 70 unstaffed shooting ranges. The Department has also provided funds and equipment for numerous school, municipal and other ranges open to the public. All together, an estimated 350,000 shooters per year enjoy these facilities across the state. To read more about our shooting ranges, turn to Page 8.
Since 1957, Missouri helped to make hunting a safe form of recreation through Hunter Safety and now Hunter Education Certification. Missouri has certified more than 1.13 million hunters through this public safety program. Hunter education helps make hunting one of the safest activities the family can enjoy. Every year Missouri’s Hunter Education Program is one of the top four in the nation for its number of Hunter Education graduates, thanks in great part to the dedication of more than 1,200 volunteer instructors.
Of course the Department has long been a source for free public hunting programs to train and educate non-hunters, new hunters and experienced hunters alike on all aspects of outdoor skills, wildlife, habitat, hunting skills, equipment, new techniques, game care, cooking, special educational hunts and shooting sports. With such a wide range of programs we are better able to serve our diverse citizenry—providing more opportunities for a greater number of Missourians to discover and participate in hunting.
The Department is not only a leader in providing opportunities to train hunters, but also in reducing barriers to participation in hunting. The Department has taken a number of steps in recent years to make it easier for youth and adults to get involved, including:
- Establishing special youth hunting seasons for deer, turkey, quail, waterfowl and pheasants, where mentoring adults can focus their efforts on teaching, and where the probability of successful youth harvest is greatest.
- Maintaining free small-game hunting and reduced-cost deer and turkey permit prices for resident and non-resident youth under age 16.
- Implementing online hunter education courses with associated hands-on field days for those who pass the required test after independent study.
- Introducing the Apprentice Hunter Authorization, which allows persons 16 years old or older to hunt with a mentor for up to two years.
Missouri provides world-class wildlife hunting opportunities in a range of hunting seasons (deer, small game, turkey and waterfowl). It continues to be a state where hunting access is readily available not just on private lands, but on conservation areas as well. To explore conservation areas and hunting opportunities near you, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/8911.
These and many more reasons have the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance listing Missouri as one of the least restrictive states in the nation for hunters and hunting recruitment.
With ceaseless innovation, strong mentoring and education, the Department, in partnership with the citizens of Missouri, continues to make this state a great place to hunt—enriching both our quality of life and our economy. If you would like to learn more about hunting in Missouri, please visit mdc.mo.gov/node/88.
Robert L. Ziehmer, director