Missouri residents with a conservation ID number may apply for a reservation for managed waterfowl hunts.
Reservations are required to hunt on Missouri's 15 intensively managed wetland conservation areas. Read this section to:
- Learn about Missouri's Waterfowl Reservation requirements and procedures
- Apply for regular and disabled-accessible reservations
- Browse waterfowl reservation results and success rates
For specific questions about waterfowl hunting areas, call your local Missouri Department of Conservation office or see Waterfowl Managed Hunt Areas listed below.
Who May Apply
- Must be a Missouri resident with a conservation ID number. The nine-digit Conservation ID# appears on the top of your hunting permit or on the back of your Heritage Card next to the bar code (see Finding Your Conservation Number below).
Qualifying Non-residents with a Conservation ID:
- Registered non-resident student attending a public or private secondary, post-secondary, or vocational school located in Missouri. Students must carry evidence of a Missouri residence and student status while hunting.
- Member of the US armed forces stationed and residing in Missouri on permanent change of station status, or an immediate family member residing with one.
- Honorably discharged military veteran with a service-related disability of 60 percent or greater, or was a prisoner of war during military service, or am a member of the US military currently assigned as a patient to a Warrior Transition Brigade, Warrior Transition Unit, or a military medical center. (Must carry proof of eligibility while hunting, fishing, or buying permits.)
- Resident of Missouri employed by the USA in the District of Columbia or serving in the armed forces of the US, or an immediate family member residing with one.
- Immigrants possessing an I-551 Resident Alien Card from the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, and have resided in Missouri for at least the past 30 days, and do not claim resident privileges in another state or country.
Additional Requirement Information:
- Must be properly licensed (Small Game Hunting and Migratory Bird Hunting permits) prior to applying through the reservation system.
- Youth (15 and under) do not need to purchase a Small Game Hunting permit, Migratory Bird Hunting permit, or Federal Duck Stamp, but must possess a Conservation Number.
- Missouri Residents that are 65 and over do not need a Small Game Hunting Permit but must possess a Migratory Bird Hunting Permit and a Federal Duck Stamp.
- The Lifetime Permit includes Small Game Hunting and Migratory Bird Hunting permits. Non-resident holders of a Lifetime Permit are not eligible to participate in reservation draws.
- Disabled Veterans are not required to purchase a Small Game Hunting Permit but are required to purchase a Migratory Bird Hunting Permit and Federal Duck Stamp.
- A hunter may apply for anyone living in his/her immediate household, but the reservation holder must be present at the hunt for the reservation to be valid.
When to Apply
Registration opens every Tuesday at 12:01 am and closes at 3:00 pm on Monday. The draw will occur at 4:00 pm and successful hunters will be notified via email at 8:00 pm. Each drawing will be allocating the hunting spots for the following Monday–Sunday.
How to Apply
Go to our Apply for a Waterfowl Reservation link below. Have your Conservation ID number ready.
Waterfowl hunting reservations — pre-season and in-season — will award 50 percent of daily hunting positions. Hunters apply for reservations online. Of the 50 percent of spots, half will be for pre-season applications and half will be allocated during a weekly in-season application period.
The remaining 50 percent of spots will be held for hunters who do not have a reservation but who participate in the daily morning drawing. These spots are allocated through what is called the “poor line.”
Choose a specific date, first available weekend, first available day of the week or first available day for each of up to three areas. Requesting “first available day” gives you a better chance of an award than requesting a specific date. All entries received are then shuffled and assigned a number in random order. The program looks at the first choice of each hunter and attempts to award that choice. Two possible outcomes can occur:
- If the hunter's first choice is available, it is awarded. The program then moves on to the next hunter and looks at his or her first choice.
- If the hunter's first choice is not available, the program moves to that hunter's second choice, either awarding that selection if available (and moving on to the next hunter), or if not available, the program moves to that hunter's third choice.
After a first attempt has been made to award each hunter a reservation, the system repeats the same process, going through remaining choices until all available spots are awarded. You will not be awarded an area different from the one(s) you requested.
During the waterfowl season, all areas have an in-season drawing to allocate the remaining reservation spots. Applicants can select one area per day for the application period.
Drawings will occur on Monday at 4:00 p.m. for hunts on the following week. Successful applicants will be notified by email or text message at 8:00 p.m. following each drawing. The results will be available online at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday morning. There will be no limit to the number of times a hunter can apply each year, or the number of times a hunter can be drawn to hunt.
*Note the system will be unavailable from 3:00 p.m. to midnight on drawing dates.
Pill Numbers and the Morning Draw
Once the in-season draw has been run, both pre-season and in-season reservation holders will be randomly assigned a pill number that will be used on the morning of the hunt.
Pill numbers are used in a morning drawing to determine which hunting location each hunter, or hunting party, will hunt in on that day.
The morning draw is also used to assign any leftover hunting spots not taken by reservation holders. These remaining spots go to hunters who show up that morning and place their names on a wait list known as the "poor line."
Hunters with reservations still need to arrive at the area with time to check-in before draw time.
Conservation area staff issue hunting locations by calling forward the party with the lowest number drawn and allowing them to pick a hunting location. This process continues until all parties have selected a hunting location OR until all hunting locations are allocated for that day.
The "poor line" (or "No Reservation Line")is a phrase used for those hunters who show up for the morning draw without a guaranteed spot to hunt to try their luck in the drawing for a hunting spot. These hunters are placed on a waiting list for hunting spots that are leftover after the reservation holders have been given their hunting locations for that day.
Residents and nonresidents can participate in the poor line. The maximum party size is four hunters, and each hunting party member must be properly licensed.
Fifty percent of all hunting spots in wetland areas that use the Waterfowl Reservation System are allocated through the poor line.
These hunts are an effort to increase waterfowl hunting opportunities in the St. Louis Region. The application deadline is October 2, 2020.