1998 Wildlife Code Changes

By John Smith | January 2, 1998
From Missouri Conservationist: Jan 1998

The rule changes that will appear in the 1998 Wildlife Code and become effective March 1, 1998 are highlighted in this summary. Hunters, anglers and trappers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with rule changes before venturing afield.


Several fishing rule changes are being established in 1998.

  • The first creates a seasonal no-fishing zone on the Osage River immediately below Bagnell Dam and a year-round no-fishing zone on the Osage River and Lake of the Ozarks immediately below Truman Dam. There is concern that anglers are over-harvesting large breeder catfish in these areas. Also, the daily limit on channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish in the Osage River and Lake of the Ozarks in the no-boating zone below Truman Dam is reduced to further restrict the harvest of large catfish in this area.
  • Another rule change prohibits the use of natural and soft plastic baits in the Current River Trout Special Management Area that extends from Montauk State Park to Cedar Grove. By limiting fishing to artificial lures, many more trout under the length-limit will survive after hooking and release. Also, the definition of trout lures has been changed, and they are authorized for use except where specifically prohibited.
    • A fly is a lure constructed on a single-point hook, of feathers, tinsel, chenille, yarn, fur, hair, silk, rayon or nylon thread or floss, with or without a spinner.
    • An artificial lure is a manufactured lure other than a fly or soft plastic bait (unscented).
    • A soft plastic bait (unscented) is synthetic eggs, synthetic worms, synthetic grubs and soft plastic lures.
    • Natural and scented baits are natural fish food such as bait fish, crayfish, frogs permitted as bait, grubs, insects, larvae, worms, salmon eggs, cheese, corn and other food substances not containing any ingredient to stupefy, injure or kill fish. Does not include flies or artificial lures. Includes dough bait, putty or paste-type bait, any substance designed to attract fish by taste or smell and any fly, lure or bait containing or used with such substances.
  • There are new length limits on black bass at Bull Shoals Lake and Norfork Lake and a reduced length limit on spotted bass at Lake of the Ozarks. All largemouth bass and smallmouth bass less than fifteen inches (15") and all spotted (Kentucky) bass less than twelve inches (12") in total length must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught from Bull Shoals Lake, Lake of the Ozarks or Norfork Lake.
  • The reduced daily limit and 20-inch minimum length limit on white, yellow and striped bass and their hybrids at Montrose Lake are eliminated.
  • An amendment changes the season, method, size limits, restricted areas and permit requirements for commercial musseling to be comparable with neighboring states. An additional amendment creates a nonresident mussel dealer's permit, also to be comparable with neighboring states.
  • When regulations take effect March 1, there will also be changes in fish limits, length limits and other regulations on a number of lakes on conservation areas. If you fish these lakes, be sure to read regulations posted on area signs.


  • An amendment will allow any person-resident or nonresident- who is 15 years of age or younger to take wildlife (except deer and turkey) as provided in Chapter 7 without a permit. This will make it easier for youngsters to enter the hunting arena and encourage adults to take youngsters hunting.
  • An amendment reduces the scope of the prohibition against hunting furbearers, squirrels and rabbits with dogs during daylight hours of the firearms deer hunting season from statewide to specifically named counties. Furbearers, squirrels and rabbits may not be chased, pursued or taken with dogs during daylight hours of the firearms deer season in Bollinger, Butler, Carter, Dent, Iron, Madison, Oregon, Reynolds, Ripley, Shannon and Wayne counties.

Deer hunters in 1998 will see substantial improvements in the way Firearms and Muzzleloading Firearms Any-Deer and Bonus Deer Hunting permits are sold.

  • For the 1998 season, all Firearms and Muzzleloading Firearms Deer Hunting permits will go on sale July 1.
  • There will be substantial changes in the quota permit distribution system process for 1998. Any-Deer Hunting permits will be available over-the counter in unlimited numbers for most deer management units, with unlimited First Bonus permits available for many units, and unlimited Second Bonus sales for some units. In units where the sale of quota permits must be limited, hunters can apply for them when they purchase their Firearms or Muzzleloading Firearms Deer Hunting permits. A random drawing will determine successful applicants.
  • Regulations for 1998 establish a new Nonresident Muzzleloading Firearms Any-Deer Hunting Permit.


  • For additional information about regulations, particularly authorized public use activities on conservation areas, contact your nearest Conservation Department office.
  • Public comments about any regulations are always welcome. Written comments and suggestions should be directed to the Regulations Committee, Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City 65102-0180.
  • To speed the purchase of permits, Missouri Conservation Heritage Cards are available for $2. These cards store pertinent permit information, including hunter education certification, on a magnetic strip (similar to a credit card). Request an application at any permit vendor or Conservation Department office, or write the Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City 65102-0180.
  • The Conservation Department's world wide web home page address is <http://www.mdc.mo.gov>

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Tom Cwynar
Assistant Editor - Charlotte Overby
Managing Editor - Jim Auckley
Art Editor - Dickson Stauffer
Designer - Tracy Ritter
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
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Photographer - Cliff White
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Staff Writer - Joan McKee
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