Wildlife Code Changes 2000

By John Smith | February 2, 2000
From Missouri Conservationist: Feb 2000

Rule changes that appear in the 2000 Wildlife Code, which is available now, become effective March 1, 2000, and 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 2000.

  • In the Osage River from 75 yards below Bagnell Dam to U.S. Highway 54, snagging, snaring and grabbing fish is not allowed from March 15 through April 30. This regulation is to protect sub-legal-size paddlefish and catfish from snagging.
  • On Lake of the Ozarks and its tributaries, Table Rock Lake and its tributaries and Truman Lake and its tributaries, all paddlefish less than thirty-four (34) inches in body length, measured from the eye to the fork of the tail, must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught. Persons who have taken a daily limit of two paddlefish on Lake of the Ozarks and its tributaries, the Osage River below U.S. Highway 54 and Truman Lake and its tributaries, may no longer continue to snag, snare or grab.
  • Shovelnose sturgeon over thirty (30) inches in body length (measured from tip of snout to fork of tail) may not be possessed or transported while fishing by commercial methods or while possessing commercial fishing gear and shall be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught.
  • There is now a length limit on walleye and sauger on all bodies of water except the Mississippi River. All walleye and sauger less than fifteen (15) inches in total length must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught. On certain waters all walleye and sauger less than eighteen (18) inches in total length must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught - these include Bull Shoals Lake and its tributaries, Current River and its tributaries, Eleven Point River and its tributaries, Long Branch Lake, Norfork Lake and it tributaries and Table Rock Lake.
  • Language in the Wildlife Code clarifies the ownership status of fish that remain in privately-owned impoundments that have been inundated by flood waters from waters of the state as defined in the Wildlife Code. Fish not present in the pond prior to flooding must be removed and released unharmed.
  • Smallmouth bass special management areas where there is a fifteen (15) inch minimum length limit on smallmouth bass now include the Big River from the Highway 21 bridge (near Washington State Park) to its confluence with the Meramec River, the Eleven Point River from Thomasville Access to the Arkansas line, Mineral Fork from the Highway F bridge (Washington County) to its confluence with the Big River, Osage Fork of the Gasconade River from the Skyline Drive bridge (near Orla in Laclede County) to its confluence with the Gasconade River and Tenmile Creek from the Highway B bridge (Carter County) to its confluence with Cane Creek.
  • On Bull Shoals Lake, Norfork Lake and Table Rock Lake, the daily limit of channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish is ten (10) in the aggregate.
  • Missouri anglers now have reciprocal fishing privileges on the Missouri River with the State of Nebraska - the most restrictive of the two states' laws apply.
  • A person may possess no more than two (2) statewide daily limits of any species at any time.
  • A fish subject to commercial fishing is described as all fish except shovelnose sturgeon more than thirty inches (30) in length (measured from tip of snout to fork of tail), pallid and lake sturgeon and game fish as defined in the Wildlife Code.
  • The length of a fish is determined by measuring it from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail, with the fish laid flat on the rule with mouth closed and the tail lobes pressed together. The length of paddlefish is measured from the eye to the fork of the tail. The length of sturgeon is measured from the tip of the snout to the fork of the tail.


  • Any person under twelve (12) years of age may purchase a Youth Deer and Turkey Hunting Permit without display of a hunter education certificate card, and may take deer and turkey as outlined in the regulations when hunting in the immediate presence of a properly licensed adult hunter. No other firearms deer or turkey hunting permit may be purchased during the prescribed permit year, but a youth hunter may also purchase archery hunting permits. Reference to muzzeloading permits has been deleted.
  • Hunting and trapping for weasels is closed due to low populations.
  • Any person who finds a dead deer with antlers still attached to the skull plate while afield and wants to possess those antlers must report the taking to a conservation agent within a specified time period to receive possession authorization. Shed antlers not attached to the skull plate that are found while afield may be possessed, bought and sold without possession authorization.


  • Veterans with a 60-percent or greater service-related disability or who were prisoners of war during military service are exempt from selected hunting and fishing permit requirements, provided, while hunting or fishing he or she carries a certified statement of eligibility from the Veterans Administration. In addition, resident permit privileges are not available to those members of the armed forces of other countries stationed or residing in Missouri - only members of the United States armed forces.
  • The Snuffbox mussel has been added to the list of endangered species in the state.
  • Any person, group or business that purchases ginseng in Missouri for resale must register annually with the Conservation Department as a ginseng dealer and submit quarterly and annual reports on forms provided by the Conservation Department. Any ginseng dealer registered in another state who does not purchase or sell from an address in the state does not need to register. See the Wildlife Code for additional ginseng regulations.
  • There have been several sightings of mountain lions in Missouri. Consequently, mountain lions attacking or killing livestock or domestic animals, or attacking humans, may be killed without prior permission, but the kill must be reported immediately to an agent of the Conservation Department and the mountain lion carcass must be surrendered to him or her within twenty-four (24) hours.
  • Wildlife stored, given away or temporarily held at a place customarily engaged in serving food must be identified by specific species - mallard duck, Canada goose, channel catfish, rainbow trout, etc.
  • Permits issued by the Conservation Department via telephone or Internet may be used immediately. Temporary permit authorization number(s) allowing immediate use of permit privileges may be provided for permits (except deer and turkey permits) purchased through the Conservation Department's authorized telephone or Internet sale service provider. The temporary permit authorization number(s) must be carried at all times while hunting, fishing, trapping until the actual permit(s) are received.
  • Permits are nontransferable and are valid from date of purchase through the last day of February of the prescribed permit year; except the Migratory Bird Hunting Permit shall be valid through March 10, and the Resident Trapping Permit and Nonresident Furbearer Hunting and Trapping Permit shall be valid through April 10.

Need More Info?

For additional information about regulations and 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 MO 65102-0180.

Permits can be purchased at vendors statewide, or by calling 1 (800) 392-4115.

To speed the purchase of permits, Missouri Conservation Heritage Cards are available for $2. These cards store pertinent 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 MO 65102-0180.

Conservation Department Offices

  • St. Louis Region - St. Charles (636) 441-4554
  • Kansas City Region - Kansas City (816) 655-6250
  • Southwest Region - Springfield (417) 895-6880
  • Northeast Region - Kirksville (660) 785-2420
  • Southeast Region - Cape Girardeau (573) 290-5730
  • Central Region - Columbia (573) 884-6861
  • Northwest Region - St. Joseph (816) 271-3100
  • East Central Region - Sullivan (573) 468-3335
  • Ozark Region - West Plains (417) 256-7161
  • West Central Region - Clinton (660) 885-6981

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Tom Cwynar
Managing Editor - Jim Auckley
Art Editor - Dickson Stauffer
Designer - Tracy Ritter
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Composition - Libby Bode Block
Circulation - Bertha Bainer