In Brief

By MDC | May 1, 2021
From Missouri Conservationist: May 2021

First Black Bear Season Set This Fall

MDC sets harvest quotas, Bear Management Zones in southern Missouri

MDC will offer the state’s first black bear hunting season this fall, Oct. 18–27.

The Missouri Conservation Commission gave final approval of MDC’s season framework, permit and harvest quotas, and other related regulations for hunting black bears in Missouri at its March 26 open meeting. The approved regulations limit bear hunting to Missouri residents and restrict bear hunting to designated areas of southern Missouri. Missouri residents will be able to apply during May for the October hunt with permit selection by July 1 through a random drawing of applicants.

Missouri’s estimated 800 (600–1000) black bears are found south of the Missouri River, and primarily south of Interstate 44. MDC has established three Bear Management Zones (BMZ) in southern Missouri and will issue annual permit numbers and harvest quotas for each of the three BMZs. Each permit will be for a specific BMZ and may be used on public or private property within the BMZ.

Permit and harvest quotas for the upcoming Oct. 18–27 bear season will be:

  • BMZ 1: Permit quota of 200 issued with a harvest quota of 20 bears.
  • BMZ 2: Permit quota of 150 issued with a harvest quota of 15 bears.
  • BMZ 3: Permit quota of 50 issued with a harvest quota of 5 bears.

The season is limited to Missouri residents. It will begin each year on the third Monday in October and run for 10 days or until BMZ-specific quotas are reached. Once the specific harvest quotas are filled within each BMZ, the season for that BMZ will be closed. Hunters must call MDC each day before they intend to hunt to determine if the BMZ-specific quota has been reached. If harvest quotas are not reached, the season will close at the end of the 10 designated hunting days.

“Being able to add this iconic species to the long list of hunting opportunities for Missourians is a testament to the decades of bear research and management by MDC staff,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley. “A limited annual hunting season will help manage the growing number of black bears in the state.”

MDC proposed a limited and highly regulated black bear hunting season following years of public comment, including informational open houses in 2019 and a public-input process in 2020.

“A bear-hunting season in our state will provide opportunities for Missourians to participate in the sustainable harvest of this valuable wildlife species,” said MDC Bear Biologist Laura Conlee. “As our black bear population continues to grow, a highly regulated hunting season will be an essential part of population management into the future.”

Hunting hours will be a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset. Hunters will be allowed to use both archery and firearms equipment with allowable methods being the same as those for deer and elk, except the use of an atlatl. Baiting and the use of dogs will not be allowed.

The harvest limit will be one bear per permit. Only lone black bears may be taken. Hunters may not take bears that are known to be in the presence of other bears, including female black bears with cubs. Bears may not be disturbed, pushed, harassed, or taken from a den.

Hunters must wear hunter orange, make reasonable efforts to retrieve shot bears, and may not leave or abandon commonly edible portions.

All harvested bears must be Telechecked by 10 p.m. on the day of harvest, and a tooth from each harvested bear must be submitted to MDC within 10 days of harvest to aid with black bear research and management.

MDC will offer an online bear-hunting permit application period May 1–31 with a fee of $10 per applicant. Individuals must be Missouri residents and will be allowed to apply to hunt in one of the three designated BMZs. Apply for the random permit drawing online at, through MDC’s free MO Hunting app, through a permit vendor, or by calling 1-800-392-4115.

Drawing results will be available by July 1. Applicants can check to see if they have been selected for a permit at by logging into Manage Your Account and selecting View My Special Hunt History.

There will be no “sit-out” period for those selected to receive permits. Those selected will then be eligible to buy a permit at a cost of $25. Selected hunters must be 11 years of age or older and have completed hunter education (or be exempt) by the time of the hunt to purchase a permit.

MDC is not issuing landowner-specific black bear hunting permits, however, a minimum of 10 percent of zone-specific resident black bear permits will be allocated to qualifying landowners. Zone-specific permits can be used anywhere in the specified zone on public or private property (with landowner permission). To qualify, landowners must have at least 20 contiguous acres within the BMZ for which they are applying.

Qualifying landowners must first submit their property information through MDC’s Landowner Permit Application at before completing a black bear permit application.

Black bears were historically abundant throughout the forested areas of Missouri prior to European settlement but were nearly eliminated by unregulated killing in the late 1800s, as well as from habitat loss when Ozark forests were logged. However, a small number of Missouri black bears survived and reintroduction efforts in Arkansas helped to increase bear numbers in southern Missouri.

Over the last 50 years, bear numbers and range in Missouri have grown. The bear population is increasing approximately 9 percent annually and is expected to double in less than 10 years.

Additionally, Missouri’s bear population is connected to a larger bear population in the surrounding states of Arkansas and Oklahoma, both of which have established bear-hunting seasons.

MDC’s 2020–2030 Black Bear Management Plan will guide bear management in Missouri for the next decade. Learn more about black bears in Missouri and MDC management efforts at

Migratory Game Bird and Waterfowl Hunting Seasons
Mourning Doves, Eurasian Collared Doves, and White-Winged Doves
  • Season: Sept. 1–Nov. 29
  • Limits: 15 daily and 45 in possession combined total for all three species
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset
Sora and Virginia Rails
  • Season: Sept. 1–Nov. 9
  • Limits: 25 daily and 75 in possession combined for both species
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset
Wilson’s (Common) Snipe
  • Season: Sept. 1–Dec. 16
  • Limits: 8 daily and 24 in possession
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset
American Woodcock
  • Season: Oct. 15–Nov. 28
  • Limits: 3 daily and 9 in possession
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset
  • Season: Sept. 11–26
  • Limits: 6 daily and 18 in possession
  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset
  • Season:
  • North Zone: Oct. 30–Dec. 28
  • Middle Zone: Nov. 6–14 and Nov. 20–Jan. 9, 2022
  • South Zone: Nov. 25–28 and Dec. 7–Jan. 31, 2021
  • Bag Limit: 6 ducks daily with species restrictions of:
  • 4 mallards (no more than 2 females)
  • 3 wood ducks
  • 2 black ducks
  • 2 canvasbacks
  • 2 hooded mergansers
  • 2 redheads
  • 2 scaup for first 45 days and 1 scaup for last 15 days
  • 1 mottled duck
  • 1 pintail
  • Possession Limit: Three times the daily bag or 18 total, varies by species
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset
  • Season: Same as duck season dates in the respective zones
  • Limits: 15 daily and 45 in possession
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset
Snow Geese (White and Blue Phases) and Ross’s Geese
  • Season: Nov. 11–Feb. 6, 2022
  • Limits: 20 blue, snow, or Ross’s geese daily with no possession limit
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset
White-Fronted Geese
  • Season: Nov. 11–Feb. 6, 2022
  • Limits: 2 daily and 6 in possession
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset
Canada Geese and Brant
  • Season: Oct. 2–10 and Nov. 11–Feb. 6, 2022
  • Limits: 3 Canada geese and Brant in aggregate daily, 9 in possession
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset
Light Goose Conservation Order
  • Season: Feb. 7, 2022–April 30, 2022
  • Limits: No daily or possession limits
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset
  • Methods: For the taking of blue, snow, and Ross’s geese, hunters may use shotguns capable of holding more than three shells and recorded or electronically amplified bird calls or sounds or imitations of bird calls or sounds
Youth Hunting Days
  • North Zone: Oct. 23–24
  • Middle Zone: Oct. 23–24
  • South Zone: Nov. 20–21
  • Limits: Same as during regular waterfowl season
  • Hours: Same as during regular waterfowl season
Falconry Season for Doves
  • Season: Sept. 1–Dec. 16
  • Limits: 3 daily and 9 in possession, singly, or in the aggregate (any ducks, coots, or mergansers taken by falconers must be included in these limits)
  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset
Falconry Season for Ducks, Coots, and Mergansers
  • Season: Open during waterfowl seasons (teal, youth, and duck) and Feb. 10, 2022–March 10, 2022
  • Limits: 3 daily and 9 in possession, singly or in the aggregate, during the regular duck hunting seasons (including teal and youth seasons) and extended falconry seasons (any doves taken by falconers must be included in these limits)
  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset during the September teal season, one-half hour before sunrise to sunset during the remaining seasons

Nontoxic Shot Requirements

Shells possessed or used while hunting waterfowl and coots statewide, and for other species designated by posting on public areas, must be loaded with material approved as nontoxic by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Get more information on nontoxic-shot requirements, allowed types, and conservation areas requiring use at

For more information on migratory bird and waterfowl hunting, visit and select the specific species, or refer to the Migratory Bird and Waterfowl Hunting Digest 2021–2022, available beginning in July where hunting permits are sold and online at

Hunting Zones

Waterfowl hunting in Missouri is divided into three zones: North, Middle, and South. Boundaries for the North zone have changed for the upcoming seasons. For more information, visit

Send Ticks for Research Study

Most people who have ventured through Missouri’s outdoors have encountered ticks. These creepy crawlers cling to clothes and skin in search of a meal. Some tick species and the bacterial pathogens they carry can also cause illnesses in people.

MDC and A.T. Still University in Kirksville are asking people to save ticks they encounter and mail them to the university. The ticks will be used for a two-year scientific research study to help better understand the statewide distribution of tick species and the human pathogens they carry. Ticks will be identified by species and life stage and tested for four species of bacterial pathogens.

The study is scheduled to continue through September 2022. For instructions on submitting a sample, visit the university’s website at

Learn more about ticks from the MDC online Field Guide at

MDC to Offer Five Permits for 2021 Elk Season

MDC will issue five permits for hunting bull elk for the 2021 season this fall. At least one permit will be for qualifying area landowners with the remainder for the general public.

MDC has designated a nine-day archery portion, running Oct. 16–24, and a nine-day firearms portion, running Dec. 11–19. The five permits will be for bull elk and will be valid for both portions. All permits will be assigned through a random drawing. Only Missouri residents are eligible to apply for and purchase these permits.

“The timing of the season was designed to come after the peak of elk breeding during late September and early October and to avoid, as much as possible, the elk season coinciding with portions of the firearms deer season,” explained MDC Elk and Deer Biologist Aaron Hildreth.

There will be a $10 application fee for all applicants. Those selected for each of the five permits must pay a $50 permit fee. All permits are nontransferable.

MDC will limit the random drawing to one application per-person, per-year with a 10-year “sit-out” period for those drawn before they may apply again.

Beginning this year, at least 10 percent of the elk-hunting permits will be awarded to approved landowners with 20 or more contiguous acres in Carter, Reynolds, or Shannon counties. Again this year one permit will be set aside for a qualifying landowner.

All elk-hunting permits, including those allocated to approved landowners, can be used in Carter, Reynolds, and Shannon counties, except the refuge portion of Peck Ranch Conservation Area.

“The allowed hunting methods for each season portion will be the same as for deer hunting,” Hildreth said. “The permits will allow for the harvest of one bull elk with at least one antler being 6 inches or greater in length. Successful hunters must Telecheck their harvested elk by 10 p.m. on the day of harvest, like for deer.”

To apply for an elk permit, applicants must be Missouri residents at least 11 years of age by the first day of the hunt. Those selected to receive a permit must have their hunter-education certification or be exempt by age (born before Jan. 1, 1967) before they may purchase the permit. All applications must be completed online or at a local vendor.

Apply for the random elk-permit drawing May 1–31 online at, through MDC’s free MO Hunting app, through a permit vendor, or by calling 1-800-392-4115.

To be considered for the elk-hunting permits allocated to approved landowners, qualifying landowners that have at least 20 acres in Carter, Reynolds, or Shannon counties are required to submit their property information through MDC’s Landowner Permit Application at before applying for an elk-hunting permit.

Results of the random elk-permit drawing will be available by July 1. Applicants can check to see if they have been selected for an elk-hunting permit at by logging into Manage Your Account and selecting View My Special Hunt History.

For more information on elk hunting in Missouri, visit

Agent Advice
Statistics Elements

Mark Wilcoxon, Carter County Conservation Agent



As temperatures rise, Missouri waterways become a mecca for recreationists. From boaters to floaters, waterways can quickly get crowded. To avoid conflicts on the water, be a good steward, and have a plan before you head out! Boaters, think about getting out early or staying out late to avoid the surge of floaters. Floaters, try not to block the river, especially if in a large group, so boaters and others can get through. Let someone know your boating and floating plans and routes for the day. For more information, visit See you out on the water.

What Is It?

Hickory Tree Leaves

Hickory tree leaves emerge, leaving behind the pinkish-red petal-like leaves that covered and protected them through the winter. Missouri has eight species of hickories, divided into two groups — pecan hickories and true hickories. Pecan hickories have more than seven sickle-shaped leaflets and an elongated, flattened terminal bud. True hickories have mostly five to seven leaflets with a large egg-shaped bud at the end of each twig. By fall, hickory leaves turn golden yellow.


This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Larry Archer

Photography Editor - Cliff White

Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler