Department Details

A history of serving nature and people

Our work began in 1937, when citizen-led efforts created the Department to restore, conserve and regulate Missouri's over-stressed fisheries, forests and wildlife populations. During our first 40 years, hunting, fishing and trapping permits provided most of our funding, but in 1976 an expanded program, the "Design for Conservation," was passed to set aside one-eighth of one percent sales tax directly to the agency. That consistent funding, plus a strong, non-political structure and very supportive public helped make Missouri a national leader in conservation. Today we continue our legacy of protecting our state's wild resources and helping Missourians connect with their natural heritage. Our goal is to sustain diverse, healthy plant and animal communities–well into the future.

Read about our latest accomplishments in our annual report. The First 50 Years covers the Department's development from 1937 to 1987. Contact a local office if you want to get involved in Department efforts in your area.

State-managed lands for wildlife, communities and you

The Missouri Department of Conservation administers more than 975,000 acres located throughout the state. About 63 percent, or 615,000 acres, are forested.

The forest land occurs on a wide variety of sites and, as a result, there is a broad diversity of plant and animal communities present. Oak and hickory are the most common tree species, but other important species are also found, such as shortleaf pine, eastern red cedar, walnut, ash and cottonwood.

State forest land provides a variety of environmental benefits including wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation, watershed protection, scenic beauty and wood products.

In This Section

Meet Director Sara Parker Pauley

Sara Parker Pauley

Sara Parker Pauley serves as the ninth Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation since its formation in 1937. The Missouri Conservation Commission announced Pauley’s selection effective November 1, 2016.

2013 Conservation Opinion Survey (pdf, 103 KB)

This three-page executive summary features key findings and methods of our most recent survey to determine Missourians' interest and participation in conservation activities.

Deer Management Input Summary (pdf, 3 MB)

We asked for your input on deer management in 2014. Here's what you told us.

Public Input Summary for Deer Regulation Changes 2016-17 Season (pdf, 5 MB)

We asked you to comment on proposed changes for the 2016-17 deer hunting season. Here's what you said.

Management Plans

Browse our strategic plans for managing Missouri's fish, forests and wildlife.

Missouri Forest Facts

Browse highlights and hallmarks of Missouri's forest history.

Public Input Summary for Smallmouth/Rock Bass Regulation Changes 2017 Season (pdf, 3 MB)

We asked you to comment on proposed changes for the 2017 smallmouth and rock bass season. Here's what you said.

State Wildlife Action Plan (pdf, 8 MB)

This action plan assesses the health of Missouri's plants and animals, and identifies actions to conserve those plants and animals and their habitats.

Landowner & Hound Runner Meeting Summary (pdf, 696 KB)

Summary of the Dec. 19, 2017 meeting between MDC, landowners, and hound runners.

Landowner & Hound Runner Meeting Summary - Laddonia (pdf, 845 KB)

Summary of the March 9, 2018 meeting between MDC, landowners, and hound runners.

Related Content

Open Records Requests

Information to view or obtain copies of Department of Conservation records.

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Our Magazines

Conservationist Magazine

Our monthly publication about conservation in Missouri--free to all residents.

Conservationist Magazine cover of a lake

Xplor Magazine for kids

Xplor helps kids find adventure in their own backyard. Free to residents of Missouri.

Xplor Cover: Wasp