2013 General Fall Turkey Regulations

In Missouri, turkeys may be pursued, taken, killed, possessed or transported only as outlined in the Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet.

Firearms safety

Firearms safety is the first responsibility of every hunter. All hunters must be familiar with and follow the rules of safe firearms handling.

Hunter-orange requirements

The following persons are required to wear a cap or hat and also a shirt, vest or coat of hunter orange so that the color is plainly visible from all sides. Camouflage orange does not satisfy this requirement.

  • All hunters (except migratory bird hunters) during the urban zones, youth, November and antlerless portions in open areas.

Note: Fall firearms turkey hunters must wear hunter orange in some areas Oct. 11–14 (see Firearms Deer Hunting).

The following firearms deer hunters are exempt from the hunter-orange requirement:

  • Hunters using archery methods within municipal boundaries where discharge of firearms is prohibited

Note: Safety conscious hunters display hunter-orange even when it isn’t required. Here’s some examples:

  • When walking to and from a turkey hunt, especially when carrying harvested game
  • When hunting inside a camouflage blind, put hunter-orange on all sides of the blind
  • When hunting close to areas where firearms hunting is allowed

Beware: When using a camouflage blind, other hunters cannot see you even if you are legally wearing hunter orange. To be safe, tie hunter orange on each side of the blind so it can be seen from all sides.

Methods prohibited

  • Turkeys may not be taken with the use of dogs, electronic calls, electronically activated calls, live decoys or bait.
  • Turkeys may not be pursued or taken from or with the aid of a motor-driven vehicle.

Hunter-education requirement

All hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1967, must complete an approved hunter-education program and display their card before they can purchase a firearms turkey hunting permit unless:

  • They first purchase an Apprentice Hunter Authorization. 
  • They are ages 6–15 and will be hunting with a qualified mentor.
  • They failed to pass the hunter-education certification tests due to a developmental disability.

Hunters do not need to show their hunter-education card if certification can be verified electronically. Most hunters who use the e-Permits System will have their certification verified online. If this is not possible, some hunters will need to contact the Department to provide proof of hunter-education certification. Once in the database, hunters won’t have to submit this information again.

A person must be at least 11 years old to receive hunter education certification. People hunting with resident landowner permits are exempt from the hunter-education requirement unless they were born on or after Jan. 1, 1967, and are mentoring a firearms hunter who is not hunter education certified.

Assisting other turkey hunters

A person must have a filled or unfilled turkey hunting permit to call turkeys for another hunter. Also, a person must have a filled or unfilled deer hunting permit to assist others in pursuing or taking deer, which includes participating in deer drives or enticing deer with calls or rattling antlers. It is illegal to shoot or take a deer or turkey for another hunter. Note: Party hunting where hunters pool their tags is prohibited.

Purple paint law

Landowners may post or define the boundaries of their property by marking trees and fence posts with purple paint. In a court of law, a property boundary marked with purple paint is the same as posting “No Trespassing” signs.

Tree stands placed on Conservation Department areas

Only portable tree stands may be placed or used only between Sept. 1 and Jan. 31 on Conservation Department areas. Unattended stands must be plainly labeled on durable material with the full name and address, or Conservation I.D. number of the owner and be removed from the area before Feb. 1. Use of nails, screw-in steps or any material that would damage the tree is prohibited.

Retrieval of game

Anyone who kills or injures a turkey must make a reasonable effort to retrieve and include the animal in his or her season limit, but this does not authorize trespass. It is a violation to wantonly leave or abandon commonly edible portions of game.

Use of dogs to recover legally taken game

A hunter can use leashed dogs to track and recover mortally wounded turkeys, provided the hunter:

  1. Has exhausted other reasonable means of finding the animal,
  2. Contacts a conservation agent,
  3. Does not possess firearms or bows during dog-tracking activities, and
  4. Maintains control of the leashed dog at all times.

Note: The use of dogs to recover game does not authorize trespass.

Keep deer carcasses out of streams and lakes

It is illegal to place a deer carcass or any of its parts into any well, spring, brook, branch, creek, stream, pond or lake. See Page 4 for how hunters can limit the spread of chronic wasting disease by proper disposal of deer carcasses.

Labeling game

All harvested turkeys, either whole or processed, must be labeled with the taker’s full name, address, and Telecheck confirmation number.

Giving away turkeys

A hunter who takes a deer or turkey may give it to another person, but the game counts toward the taker’s bag limit.
Turkeys that are given away must be labeled with the taker’s full name, address, date taken, and Telecheck confirmation number.

Possession, storage and sale

Properly checked turkeys may be possessed by anyone if labeled with the taker’s full name, address, date taken and Telecheck confirmation number. The Telecheck confirmation number must remain attached to the carcass until a processor begins the act of processing the meat for packaging.

Turkeys may not be possessed after Feb. 15 following the season taken.

Legally obtained turkey bones and feathers, may be sold by the taker, but the taker must provide a bill of sale showing:

  • The taker’s full name and address
  • The species and number of parts
  • The full name and address of the buyer.

Shooting dogs is illegal

Although landowners have some recourse if dogs are injuring or killing livestock under Missouri Revised Statutes, Section 273.030, dogs that merely enter private property may not be killed. In fact, Section 578.012 provides penalties for intentionally killing a dog or other animal.

Anyone killing a dog under circumstances other than the narrow ones described above can expose themselves to significant legal difficulty. Those who kill dogs may be forced to pay restitution and/or face criminal charges. Because dogs are considered personal property, dog killings are investigated by local law enforcement authorities, not by conservation agents.

It is illegal for people to trespass on private property. Ethical hunters who use dogs do their best to keep them off property where dogs are not wanted, and should contact the property owner for permission to retrieve them when their dogs follow game onto such private property. The Conservation Department works with the Sporting Dog Association of Missouri and other groups to encourage
legal and ethical hunting activities and to establish good relationships with private landowners.

Don’t hunt over bait

Turkeys may not be hunted with the aid of bait. If you put out food for turkeys in an area you intend to hunt, be sure to mark your calendars with a date to remove all food.

  • Use of bait while hunting—which includes grain or other feed placed or scattered so as to attract turkeys—is illegal.
  • An area is considered baited for 10 days even after complete removal of the bait.
  • A hunter can be in violation if they take or attempt to take a turkey by the aid of bait where the person knows or reasonably should know that the area is or has been baited.
  • It is illegal to place bait in a way that causes others to be in violation of the baiting rule.
  • Mineral blocks, including salt, are not considered bait. However, mineral blocks that contain grain or other food additives are prohibited.
  • It is legal to hunt over a harvested crop field, but it is not legal to add grain or other crops, such as apples, to the field after it has been harvested.
  • Manipulating crops, such as mowing or knocking them down, is not considered baiting for turkeys; however it is illegal to hunt waterfowl over manipulated crops.


Take - To hunt, pursue, wound, capture or kill any wildlife in any manner. Also includes acts of assistance to other persons attempting to take wildlife.

Taker - A person who takes or attempts to take wildlife.

Resident - A person who does not claim resident privileges in another state or country, and whose actual and legal residence are both in Missouri and have been for at least the last 30 days.

See "Feral Hog Regulations" below for special restrictions during firearms deer and turkey hunting seasons


Key Messages: 

Conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt and fish.

Content tagged with

Shortened URL