Urban Deer Hunting

Missouri’s metropolitan areas are a complex mix of municipal and county governments, each with its own jurisdiction and set of laws. However, some of these governments do allow hunting within their boundaries. With a little research and leg work, metro hunters can successfully find a close-to-home hunting spot.

Where to find local ordinances

Before hunting in an urban area, search the Web for that city's local ordinances, which are usually found in the weapons section of a city’s municipal code. Key words to look for are discharging a firearm or projectile weapon, hunting, bow and arrow, archery or crossbow.

If you have questions about an ordinance, contact the city's police department. Some neighborhoods may also have rules regarding hunting within a subdivision. Check the neighborhood board of trustees for additional restrictions that may limit the use of hunting equipment.

Most cities that allow hunting restrict the methods to archery. Overall, unincorporated county ordinances allow for firearms and archery hunting with some restrictions on lot acreage.

If you live in a community with an abundance of deer, but ordinances prohibiting hunting, let your city officials know that you would like to see this ordinance changed.

Urban counties portion of firearms deer season

The urban counties portion of the firearms deer season allows for the harvest of antlerless deer in certain counties. Sixteen MDC conservation areas are open during this season. However, the urban portion does not give hunters free rein to hunt anywhere in an urban county. You must abide by all local ordinances.

Where to hunt?

Several managed hunts are held in urban areas on state, county, and city properties in areas where deer densities are high. See the Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet for details. A small number of managed hunts are administered locally. To find out about these hunts contact the urban wildlife biologist in your region.

Finding a hunting spot on private land is somewhat more difficult. It takes determination and a lot of leg work. You must find and then convince complete strangers to allow you to hunt on their property. Knock on doors, talk to friends or relatives, ask around at local community meeting or civic clubs, visit local hardware stores and restaurants, visit places that may receive deer damage such as orchards, farms and tree nurseries.

Don't trespass

Remember — purchasing a hunting permit does not give you the right to trespass. Trespassing is one of the biggest complaints from landowners regarding hunters. The best rule of thumb is if you don’t own it or do not have permission from the person who does own it, you shouldn’t be there. This also includes retrieving your deer if it crosses property lines. If an injured or dead deer that you have shot has entered another person’s property, contact your local conservation agent to aid you in retrieving your deer.

Tips for hunting in private land

  • Purchase your own liability insurance so the landowner won’t be responsible for accidents.
  • Get bow-hunter-education certified. Show you care about improving your knowledge and skills.
  • Offer to help maintain the property
  • Share the venison you harvested with the property owner.
  • Take does if the landowner is worried about deer damage.
  • Don’t invite friends to hunt if you haven’t asked the landowner.

When hunting in an urban area

  • Remember, your actions may influence another’s perception of hunting and of other hunters.
  • Be ethical, limit your shooting yardage, don’t trespass, and treat the land and the landowner with the utmost respect.
  • Be discreet and mindful of where you place your tree stand and where you park. Cover your deer with a tarp when hauling it from your stand to your vehicle.
  • Clean your deer in an appropriate place and bury the gut pile.
  • Carry written permission from the landowner while you are hunting.
  • Hunting on Conservation Areas in Urban Counties

    Conservation Areas Open During the Urban Portion of Deer Season
    (using a firearm method)
    Region Area Name County Methods Allowed
    Kansas City Marshall CA Platte Archery & Muzzleloader methods only
    Kansas City Cooley Lake CA Clay Archery & Muzzleloader methods only
    Central Three Creeks CA Boone No antlerless permits allowed
    Central Marion Bottoms Cole Statewide regulations apply
    Central Smith CA Cole Archery & Muzzleloader methods only
    Central Smokey Water CA Cole Statewide regulations apply
    St. Louis Upper Mississippi Pool 26 St. Charles Statewide regulations apply
    • Marion Bottoms and Smith CA fall within Cole and Moniteau counties. Only the Cole County portion of these conservation areas can be legally hunted with a firearm during the Urban Portion.
    • Please note Smokey Waters CA falls within Cole and Osage counties. Only the Cole portion of the conservation area can be legally hunted with a firearm during the Urban Portion.

    The following conservation areas are completely closed during the Urban Portion.

    • Amarugia Highlands CA – Cass County
    • Hart Creek CA – Boone County
    • Lick Creek – Boone County
    • Scrivner Road CA – Cole County
    • Cuivre Island  (Island Portion Only) – St. Charles
    • Little Sac Woods – Greene County

Key Messages: 

Conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt and fish.

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