MDC reminds deer hunters of baiting regulations ahead of opening weekend

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds hunters to be aware of baiting regulations heading into the November portion of firearms deer season Nov. 11 – 21. The use of bait, including grain or other feed placed or scattered to attract deer while hunting this fall, is illegal.

“The regulations are in place to help limit the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer and to ensure fair chase,” said Southeast Region Protection Branch Captain Russell Duckworth. “For deer, bait includes grain or feed placed or scattered to attract them.”

Duckworth said hunters should be aware of and follow these baiting regulations:

  • An area is considered baited for 10 days after complete removal of the bait.
  • A hunter can be in violation if they take or attempt to take a deer by the aid of bait where the hunter knows or reasonably should know that the area is or has been baited.
  • It is illegal to place bait in a way that causes others to be in violation of the baiting rule.
  • Doe urine and other scents may be used to attract deer while hunting if the scents are not used on or with grain or other food products.
  • Mineral blocks, including salt, are not considered bait. However, mineral blocks that contain grain or other food additives are prohibited.
  • The use of mineral blocks and salt is not allowed on conservation areas.
  • It is legal to hunt over a harvested crop field, but it is not legal to add grain or other crops, such as apples, to the field after it has been harvested.
  • Additional rules apply if hunting in a Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Management Zone.

Manipulating crops, such as mowing or knocking them down, is not considered baiting for deer, he said.

“Hunters who harvest deer in 39 of the 52 MDC CWD Management Zone counties during opening weekend Nov. 11 – 12 are required to take their harvested deer or the head on the day of harvest to one of MDC’s numerous mandatory CWD sampling stations located throughout the CWD Management Zone,” said Duckworth. “Sampling and test results are free.”

He said MDC also offers self-service freezer head-drop locations within the CWD Management Zone for hunters to deposit harvested deer heads to have tested for CWD. Instructions, packing supplies, and information tags are available at the sites. Freezer head-drop stations will be closed Nov. 11 – 12 in mandatory sampling counties when hunters must present their deer or deer head at a mandatory CWD sampling station. Freezer head-drop stations will remain open on Nov. 11 – 12 in CWD Management Zone counties where sampling is not mandatory.

CWD is a deadly, infectious disease in deer and other members of the deer family (cervids) that eventually kills all animals it infects. There is no vaccine or cure. CWD can be spread from direct deer-to-deer contact, through improper disposal of deer carcasses, and through the environment by deer contacting infectious material from other deer. 

Learn more about CWD and find mandatory CWD sampling station locations and voluntary drop-off sites near you at or in MDC’s 2023 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available where permits are sold. Get more information on sampling and head-drop locations online at Hunters can get their CWD test results for free online at Results are available within four weeks or less from the time of sampling.

Hunters are encouraged to contact their local conservation agent or MDC regional office for additional questions or concerns.

Learn more about hunting, trapping and fishing regulations and seasons online at