Waterfowl Reservations and Draw Procedures


Reservations are required to hunt on Missouri's 15 intensively managed wetland conservation areas.

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.” For example, if an area has 20 hunting spots, 10 will be allocated through the poor-line, five through pre-season reservations, and five through in-season reservations.


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.

Applications for the pre-season drawing will be accepted from Sept. 1 through 18. Hunters may apply for pre-season reservations at up to three managed waterfowl hunting areas.


During the waterfowl season, all areas have a weekly in-season drawing. Applicants can select one area per day for the application period.

Registration opens every Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. and closes at 3 p.m. on Monday. Drawings will occur on Monday at 4 p.m. for hunts the following week. Successful applicants will be notified by email or text message at 8 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 p.m. to midnight on drawing dates.


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

All parties, including reservation holders, must register prior to draw time. Parties not registered before draw time will not be allowed to enter the drawing. Adult hunters with a reservation must present a form of photo identification other than their hunting license.

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." Positions from reservation holders who do not show will be included in the poor-line drawing. For the poor-line, area staff will pull a pill to determine each hunting party’s place in line. At Ted Shanks Conservation Area, poor-line pill numbers are assigned through an automated drawing.

After the pills are drawn, the lowest number (from both poor-line hunters and reservation holders) gets first choice of the available hunting locations, followed by the second-lowest number, and so on until all available hunting spots are assigned.


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. These hunters then try their luck in a drawing for hunting spots that are left over after reservation holders have been given their hunting locations for that day. 

On some days, there may be more hunters than hunting locations, so it’s possible that not everyone in the poor-line will get a spot to hunt.

Residents and nonresidents can participate in the poor-line.


Missouri Residents:

  • 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 U.S. 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 is a member of the U.S. 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 U.S. in the District of Columbia or serving in the armed forces of the U.S., or an immediate family member residing with one.
  • Immigrants possessing an I-551 Resident Alien Card from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Must 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 and to participate in the poor-line drawing.
  • 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 ID number.
  • Missouri Residents who 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.

Go to the Apply for a Waterfowl Reservation page. Have your conservation ID number ready.


A maximum party size of four is allowed on managed waterfowl hunting areas (except during youth season). All observers and hunting or non-hunting youth count toward the maximum party size of four.

All members of your party must hunt over the same decoy spread. You may not split your party into smaller parties or combine with other parties after the drawing.

Your party must hunt in its assigned location, as designated during the morning drawing. Hunting in an unassigned location is prohibited.

Hunting party members may participate in only one morning drawing on the same day. Participation includes having another member submit a Daily Waterfowl Hunting Tag for you in your absence.

You may not be registered for more than one location or possess more than one valid Daily Waterfowl Hunting Tag at the same time. You must check out prior to registering for another unit or area.

Parties who have reserved an ADA blind are not eligible to enter the in-person drawing unless they first forfeit their ADA blind reservation for that day.


Missouri residents with a conservation ID number may apply for a reservation for managed waterfowl hunts.


Your conservation number makes it easy to buy permits.


See if you've been selected for a Missouri waterfowl-hunting reservation.


These hunts are an effort to increase waterfowl hunting opportunities in the St. Louis Region. The application deadline is October 2, 2020. 


Blind draws for the Upper Mississippi Conservation Area restricted waterfowl hunting zone are conducted online every other year.