Season Dates/Quota Closure Status
Oct. 16–25, 2023, or until the harvest quota is reached in each Black Bear Management Zone (BMZ). You must call 800-668-4045 prior to hunting each day to determine if the harvest quota has been met. This line will be updated by midnight on each day of the bear season. Harvest numbers will be assessed daily after 10 p.m. Should a harvest quota be reached, the season will close for that BMZ on the following day. The director of the Conservation Department may close hunting early within a BMZ if harvest reaches 80 percent of the quota. If the harvest quota is met or the director closes the season for the BMZ in which you are hunting, you may not harvest a black bear.
Black Bear Management Zones
Black bear hunting is allowed south of the Missouri River in three Black Bear Management Zones (BMZs). You may hunt only in the BMZ specified on your permit.
The portion of Missouri west of a line running north from the Arkansas border on U.S. Highway 63 to U.S. Highway 60; west on U.S. Highway 60 to MO-360; west on MO-360 to Interstate 44; west on Interstate 44 to the Oklahoma border
The portion of Missouri east of a line running north from the Arkansas border on U.S. Highway 63 to Interstate 44; east on Interstate 44 to State Highway 47; north on State Highway 47 to the Missouri River; east along the Missouri River to the Illinois border
The portion of Missouri south of a line running east from the Kansas border along the Missouri River to State Highway 47; south on State Highway 47 to Interstate 44; west on Interstate 44 to U.S. Highway 63; south on U.S. Highway 63 to U.S. Highway 60; west on U.S. Highway 60 to MO-360; west on MO-360 to Interstate 44; west on Interstate 44 to the Oklahoma border
One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
One black bear of either sex (see additional restrictions under Harvest Quota and Bears Eligible for Harvest, below):
You are required to call 800-668-4045 prior to hunting each day to determine if the harvest quota has been met. This line will be updated no later than midnight on each day of the black bear hunting season.
Harvest numbers will be assessed daily after 10 p.m. Should a harvest quota be reached, the season will close for that BMZ on the following day.
The director of the Conservation Department may close hunting early within a BMZ if harvest reaches 80 percent of the quota.
If the harvest quota is met or the director closes the season for the BMZ in which you are hunting, you may not harvest a black bear.
Bears Eligible for Harvest
Only lone black bears may be harvested. You may not harvest a bear that is with one or more other bears, including female bears with cubs.
Black bears that have taken refuge in a den may not be harvested or harassed.
- Centerfire rifles or handguns using expanding-type bullets such as lead or copper
- Shotguns with slugs only
- Air-powered guns, .40 caliber or larger, charged only from an external high-compression power source (external hand pump, air tank, or air compressor)
- Muzzleloading or cap-and-ball firearms, .40 caliber or larger and capable of firing only a single projectile at one discharge. In-lines and scopes are allowed.
- Multiple-barreled muzzleloading or cap-and-ball firearms and/or muzzleloading or cap-and-ball handguns, including revolvers, .40 caliber or larger, are allowed and may be carried in addition to a muzzleloading or cap-and-ball rifle.
- Longbows, compound bows, and recurve bows. Hand-held string-releasing devices, illuminated sights, scopes, and quickpoint sights are allowed.
- Self-loading firearms with capacity of more than 11 cartridges in magazine and chamber combined. Some exceptions apply. See 3 CSR 10-7.900 of the Wildlife Code of Missouri.
- Ammunition propelling more than one projectile at a single discharge (such as buckshot)
- Full hard metal case projectiles
- Fully automatic firearms
- Bait: Using bait to hunt black bears is illegal. Bait is defined as any type of food that is placed or scattered in an attempt to attract bears to the area. Bait includes — but is not limited to — grain, livestock feed, bird food, pet food, food produced for human consumption, and concentrated food powder. Scents and minerals, including salt, are not bait; mineral blocks with food additives are bait. Note: Salt products and minerals are prohibited year-round within Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone counties. For additional information, see the Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, which is available in July at MDC offices, permit vendors, and online.
- An area is considered baited for 10 days following complete removal of bait. You are in violation of baiting if you take or attempt to take a black bear with the aid of bait, when you know or reasonably should know that the area is or has been baited. It is illegal to place bait in a way that causes other hunters to be in violation of the baiting rule.
- Electronic calls or electronically activated calls
- Artificial lights, night vision equipment, thermal imagery equipment, or telemetry equipment
- Hunting bears while they are in a stream or other body of water
- Hunting from a boat with a motor attached
- Hunting from a motor-driven land conveyance or aircraft
- Additional methods may be prohibited by local ordinances.
Assisting Other Hunters
Adults who accompany youth hunters ages 11–15 do not need a black bear hunting permit. The adult must be 18 or older and be hunter-education certified or born before January 1, 1967. At all other times during the black bear hunting season, a filled or unfilled Resident Black Bear Hunting Permit is required to assist others in taking bears. A permit is not required to accompany a hunter as long as the accompanying individual does not assist in any manner in the taking of bears.
Hunter orange is required during the entire black bear hunting season, even if you are bow hunting. Read all the hunter-orange requirements before hunting.
You may not use dogs or bring them with you while hunting black bears. However, leashed dogs under direct control of a handler may be used to track and recover wounded bears. Before tracking a wounded bear, the handler must contact a conservation agent. Handlers and other people assisting with tracking must follow the instructions of the conservation agent. Trackers do not need hunting permits, provided they are not the person who wounded the bear. They may not have in their possession a firearm, bow, or crossbow, except for concealable firearms as defined in Chapter 571, RSMo. Concealable firearms possessed under this exception may not be used to take wildlife.
Retrieval of Game
If you kill or injure a bear, you must make a reasonable effort to retrieve and include the animal in your season limit. However, this does not authorize trespass.
It is illegal to intentionally leave or abandon any portion of any wildlife that is commonly used as human food.
Black Bear Hunting on Conservation Areas
Many conservation areas offer opportunities to hunt black bears. More information coming soon.
Tree Stands on Conservation Areas
Portable tree stands may be placed only between Sept. 1 and Jan. 31 on Conservation Department areas. Unattended stands must be plainly labeled with your full name and address, or Conservation Number. You may not use nails, screw-in steps, or any material that would damage the tree. Tree stands must be removed before Feb. 1.
Portable Blinds on Conservation Areas
Portable blinds are permitted on conservation areas, but they must be removed from the area daily and may not be left unattended between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. It is recommended that blinds be labeled with the contact information of the owner and hunter-orange be displayed on the exterior of the blind to aid other hunters in locating and avoiding the blind.
Giving Away Game
You may give your harvested bear (excluding the gall bladder) to another person, but the bear counts toward your season limit. Bears 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 bears 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 meat processor begins working on the animal.
Bears left at commercial processing or cold storage plants must be claimed by May 1 following the season taken.
Legally taken wildlife and wildlife parts, after mounting or tanning, may be bought and sold. A bill of sale is required and must include the seller's full name, address, and the number and species of these parts, and the full name and address of the purchaser. The bill of sale shall be retained by the purchaser while these parts are in his/her possession.
Black Bear Gallbladders
Regardless of the state of harvest, black bear gallbladders may not be bought, sold, offered for sale, transferred, or given away. Extracted black bear gallbladders may not be transported into or within Missouri.
Premolar Tooth Submission
If you successfully harvest a black bear, you are required to submit a premolar tooth within 10 days of harvest.