Elk: Regulations

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Search Places to Go for conservation area-specific information before hunting.

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All hunters should treat the outdoors with respect and follow ethical hunting practices. These include:

  • If you hunt on private land, be sure to obtain permission from the landowner and respect his or her property as if it were your own. Scout the area you plan to hunt so you know where the boundaries, houses, roads, fences and livestock are located on the property.
  • If you do not kill your game instantly, make every effort to find the wounded animal. Permission is required to enter private land.
  • Clean and care for your game properly.
  • Pick up all litter, including spent ammunition. Leaving an area better than the way you found it is a sign of thanks for the privilege of hunting.
  • Report observed violations of the law to a conservation agent or local sheriff as soon as possible.
  • If you are involved in a firearms-related accident, the law requires that you identify yourself and render assistance; failure to do so is a Class A misdemeanor.
  • Develop your skills and knowledge, and share them with others.
  • Know and obey all wildlife laws.
  • Know and follow the rules of gun safety.
  • Respect the rights of hunters, non-hunters and landowners.
  • Make every effort to retrieve and use all game.
  • Respect the land and all wildlife.
  • Be sensitive to others when displaying harvested game.
  • Remember, hunting is not a competitive sport.
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Allowed hunting methods vary by portion

Allowed hunting methods vary by portion. Be sure to view season information and the General Hunting Regulations before you hunt.

Hunter-orange requirement

Hunter orange is required during the firearms elk portion. Read all the hunter-orange requirements before hunting.

Baiting regulations

Prohibited

Use of bait — which includes grain or other feed placed or scattered so as to attract elk — while hunting is illegal.

An area is considered baited for 10 days after complete removal of the bait.

A hunter can be in violation if they take or attempt to take an elk by the aid of bait where the hunter 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 and salt blocks are not allowed on conservation areas.

Allowed

Elk urine and other scents, such as apple, acorn, and persimmon, may be used to attract elk while hunting, as long as the scents are not used on or with grain and other food products.

Mineral blocks, including salt, are not considered bait. However, mineral blocks that contain grain or other food additives are prohibited. Mineral and salt blocks are not allowed on conservation areas.

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 elk.

Limits

Elk hunting permits are distributed by random drawing. Those that are selected to receive a permit may take one (1) elk with at least one (1) antler no less than 6” in length.

Open Counties

Only Carter, Reynolds, and Shannon counties are open to elk hunting. The refuge portion of Peck Ranch Conservation Area is closed to elk hunting.

Assisting other elk hunters

Adults who accompany youth hunters ages 11-15 do not need an elk 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 elk hunting season, a filled or unfilled elk hunting permit is required to assist others in taking elk, which includes calling. A filled or unfilled elk hunting permit is not required to accompany an elk hunter as long as the accompanying individual does not assist in the taking of an elk.

Tree stands placed on Conservation Department areas

Portable tree stands may be placed or used only between September 1 and January 31 on Conservation Department areas. Unattended stands must be plainly labeled on durable material 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 from the area before February 1.

Missouri Outdoor Recreational Access Program

Special rules apply on areas enrolled in the Missouri Outdoor Recreational Access Program (MRAP). For example, on MRAP areas you must remove your tree stand when you leave each day. When hunting on an MRAP area, it is your responsibility to read and follow the rules that are posted at the area.

Retrieval of game

If you kill or injure an elk, 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 leave or abandon commonly edible portions of game.

Use of dogs to hunt and recover game

Dogs may not be used to hunt elk. However, you may use leashed dogs to track and recover mortally wounded elk, provided you:

  • Have exhausted other reasonable means of finding the animal,
  • Contact a conservation agent,
  • Do not possess firearms or bows during dog-tracking activities, and
  • Maintain control of the leashed dog at all times.

Using dogs to recover game does not authorize trespass.

Read regulations on hunting with dogs.

Immediately after Harvest

Hunters who take an elk must immediately notch the month and date of harvest to void their permit. If the elk must be left unattended prior to reporting through the Telecheck Harvest Reporting System (hereafter Telecheck), the voided permit or proper label must be attached to the elk. Elk must be Telechecked by 10:00 p.m. on the day of harvest. The elk must remain intact, field-dressed, or quartered with evidence of sex retained until it has been Telechecked.

Keep elk carcasses out of streams and lakes

It is illegal to place an elk carcass or any of its parts into any well, spring, brook, branch, creek, stream, pond, or lake.

Possession and sale

Properly checked elk 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.

Elk left at commercial processing or cold storage plants must be claimed by May 1 following the season taken.

Legally obtained elk heads, antlers, hides, and feet may be sold by the taker as long as the taker provides a bill of sale that shows:

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

For elk heads and/or antlers attached to skull plates, a dated bill of sale identifying the seller must be retained while the heads or antlers are in the buyer’s possession.

Any person who finds a dead elk with antlers still attached to the skull plate may take the antlers, but must report the find to a conservation agent within 24 hours to receive authorization to possess the antlers.

No authorization is needed to possess, buy, or sell shed antlers not attached to the skull plate.

Read general regulations about giving away, possessing, storing and selling wildlife.