1996 Wildlife Code Changes

By Ken Babcock | January 2, 1996
From Missouri Conservationist: Jan 1996

Missouri wildlife and fisheries regulations are reviewed annually in order to provide the best sustainable use of fish, forest and wildlife resources. As needs are identified, the Missouri Conservation Commission authorizes regulation changes. This summary highlights some of the changes in the 1996 Wildlife Code of Missouri.


  • Permits are now valid from March 1 through the last day of February of the following year, rather than on a calendar basis as in the past. This change is part of the Conservation Department's efforts to streamline the process of buying permits.
  • Missourians will be able to purchase new permits in 1996. These include:
  • A resident lifetime conservation partner permit that covers all hunting and fishing except deer and turkey hunting. Fee for the permit is $800.
  • A resident lifetime fishing permit that covers all fishing, including trout fishing. Fee for the permit is $400.
  • A resident lifetime small game hunting permit that covers all small game, including migratory birds, but not deer and turkey. Fee for the permit is $400.
  • Lifetime permits are available only from the Conservation Department central office. For an application call
  • 1 (800) 392-4114 or write Conservation Department Permits, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City 65102. Youngsters under 11 years of age may be issued a lifetime permit, but it will not be valid until proof of hunter education certification is obtained.


  • A resident annual wildlife conservation permit that covers all hunting and fishing, including deer and turkey. Fee for the permit is $70.
  • A resident annual all hunting permit that covers all hunting, including migratory birds, deer and turkey. Fee for the permit is $57.
  • Other permits will see a small increase in price in 1996. The resident annual hunting and fishing permit ($15), resident fishing permit ($9), resident small game hunting permit ($9), resident firearms deer hunting permit ($11), resident muzzleloading firearms deer hunting permit ($11), resident archer's deer and turkey hunting permit ($15), resident turkey hunting permits ( both spring and fall) ($11 each season) and the resident trapping permit ($10), have all increased by $1.
  • Nonresident permits have also increased in price. A nonresident small game hunting permit ($60), a nonresident firearms deer hunting permit ($110) and the nonresident muzzleloading firearms deer hunting permit ($110), have all increased by $10.
  • New permits include a trout permit which replaces the trout stamp (remains at $6); a migratory bird hunting permit which replaces the migratory bird harvest information program card ($4) and is required in addition to a hunting permit to take waterfowl, doves, snipe, woodcock and rails; a daily fishing permit ($3) and a daily small game hunting permit ($5). These latter two permits may be purchased for multiple days.
  • These permits have been dropped: the nonresident three-day and fourteen-day trip fishing permits, the Missouri waterfowl hunting stamp, the ruffed grouse hunting permit, and the nonresident five day trip small game hunting permit.
  • Other permit changes include that no firearms hunting permit shall be issued unless proof of hunter education is provided. This applies to individuals buying their own permits, and those buying permits for others. No hunter education card will have to be shown if hunter certification can be verified through direct access to computer data files.
  • Resident's permits are limited to people who do not claim residency in another state or country and whose actual residence and legal domicile have both been in the state of Missouri for at least 30 days last past before the purchase of the permit.


  • In fishing methods changes minnow traps, hooks, trotlines, throwlines, limb lines, bank lines or jug lines may not be left unattended for more than 24 hours or must be completely removed. Anglers may attach their trotlines together, but the number of hooks in the aggregate are not to exceed 33. Fish not hooked in the mouth or jaw, except those legally taken by methods such as legal snagging, snaring, bow or falconry (falconry is now included as a legal fishing method) must be returned to the water unharmed immediately.
  • An underwater light may be used to attract fish by anglers using pole and line, and endangered species of fish, their parts and eggs may not be used as bait. Fish taken from the James River from below Lake Springfield Dam to the Hwy. 160 bridge may not be taken by snagging, snaring or grabbing. A portion of the James River has been added to the streams where the daily limit of smallmouth bass is one fish, and all bass less than 15 inches must be released.
  • Fishing methods have been clarified for a number of fish. Legal methods include pole and line, trotline, throwline, limb line, bank line, jug line and falconry for the following species: channel catfish, blue catfish, flathead catfish, crappie, muskellunge, northern pike, grass pickerel, chain pickerel, paddlefish, rock bass and warmouth, walleye, sauger, white bass, yellow bass and striped bass.
  • The length limit for northern pike has been removed and the length limit for muskellunge has been extended from 30 to 36 inches. Paddlefish may not now be possessed from the James River from below Lake Springfield Dam to the Hwy. 160 bridge.
  • For nongame species of fish, legal methods include gig, longbow, crossbow, snaring, snagging, grabbing and falconry with a limit of 20 in the aggregate.
  • Fish included in this category may be taken by gig from streams and impoundments between sunrise and midnight from September 15 to January 31, and from impounded waters between sunrise and sunset throughout the remainder of the year.
  • Fish that can be collected and used as live bait are listed in the Wildlife Code. All bluegill, green sunfish and bullheads more than 5 inches in total length and other fish more than 12 inches in total length must be released by anglers collecting live bait. Up to five mussels and clams may be collected daily and used for live bait. Asiatic clams may be taken and possessed in any number.
  • Methods for frogging have been extended to include hand, handnet, gig, longbow, trotline, throwline, limb line, bank line, jug line, snagging, snaring or grabbing, and an artificial light may be used. Methods for catching turtles have been similarly extended, but shooting turtles with firearms is prohibited except as provided in the Wildlife Code.


  • It is no longer legal to shine a spotlight on any wildlife during the hours of darkness, except raccoons or other furbearing animals when treed with the aid of dogs. This regulation prohibits casual spotlighting at night that is not associated with legal, night hunting for animals like raccoons. The rule does not apply to use of a light by a landowner or lessee (as defined in the Wildlife Code) on property under his or her control.
  • Archers may use scopes and quickpoint sights in addition to illuminated sights. The requirement that hunters training dogs during closed hunting seasons may not carry firearms has been clarified. Squirrels have been added with rabbits as animals that can be taken in cage-type traps during open hunting seasons, and the squirrel hunting season has been extended - from the Saturday before Memorial Day to January 15, with a daily limit of six squirrels.
  • The spring wild turkey season will now begin annually on the Monday closest to April 21 and be 14 days in length. The fall firearms wild turkey season will begin annually on the second Monday in October and be 14 days in length. In both spring and fall seasons, only one turkey may be taken during the first seven days of the season, and only one turkey may be taken per week. Hunters may not carry shotshells loaded with shot larger than No. 4 when hunting turkeys. The fall archery deer and turkey season has been extended to January 15.
  • Other regulations set out the use of traps and snares by trappers. Otters have been added to the list of animals that can be trapped during the1996 season. Certain watershed areas where beaver trapping was prohibited have been opened in 1996. Regulations for the operation of fee hunting areas have been clarified. A youngster under the age of 15 may hunt on such areas without permit when accompanied by a properly licensed adult hunter. Rules also establish a permit and requirements for operation of hound running areas for training hounds.
  • Other regulation changes clarify the use of documents in lieu of a commercial permit; the consignment of pelts or carcasses by fur buyers and dealers for storage or processing; and the need for a bill of sale by persons who receive or purchase deer heads or deer antlers still attached to the skull plate.
  • A loophole in the possession and trade of sublegal size mussel shells and species of mussels not open to harvest in Missouri has been closed, and the prohibition of direct physical contact between confined wildlife and the public has been clarified.


  • For additional information on regulations contact your nearest Conservation Department office.
  • The Department of Conservation welcomes all public comment as it develops new regulations or modifies existing ones. Written comments should be directed to the Regulations Committee, Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City 65102 0180.
  • You can now purchase a permit by telephone, with the use of a Visa or Mastercard, and verify hunter education status, by calling the Conservation Department central office at (573) 751-4115 or, until June 30, (314) 751-4115.
  • Heritage cards, which speed the purchase of permits, are on sale for $2. The cards store permit information, including hunter education certification, on a magnetic strip, similar to a credit card. Request an application at a Conservation Department office, nature center or service center, or write to Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City 65102-0180.


This Issue's Staff

Editor - Kathy Love
Assistant Editor - Tom Cwynar
Managing Editor - Jim Auckley
Art Director - Dickson Stauffer
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Composition - Kevin Binkley
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Paul Childress
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Staff Writer - Charlotte Overby
Composition - Libby Bode Block
Circulation - Bertha Bainer