MDC reminds hunters to know procedures for harvesting game

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WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Now that archery season for deer and turkey is underway, fall turkey firearms season has begun (it runs Oct. 1-31), and other firearms hunting opportunities are coming up, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) wants to remind hunters of procedures they must follow before and after harvesting game.

“Violations our conservation agents frequently encounter are hunters who have failed to purchase their permits before going hunting and hunters who fail to notch or telecheck a deer or turkey after harvest,” said Captain Gerald Smith, MDC’s Ozark Region Protection Supervisor. “There are no changes in our Wildlife Code regarding these procedures; they have been in effect for several years.”

Here are the key points to remember for hunters as they prepare to take the field:

  • Hunters must have their permits prior to hunting. Purchasing your permit after harvesting game is a violation.
  • Once you’ve harvested a deer, turkey, elk, or bear and before transporting the animal, make sure to “notch” your permit. By doing this, you are invalidating your permit. Hunters using paper permits can perform this step by notching the date and month of the harvest. For those using MDC’s MO Hunting App, click on the permit valid for the animal you have harvested and then click on the “notch” icon. You do not have to have cell or internet service to notch a permit.
  • The final step is to telecheck your harvested deer, turkey, elk, or bear. You must telecheck your harvested game animal by 10 p.m. on the day it was taken. It’s important to note that “notching” is not telechecking – these are two separate steps, both of which are mandatory. A harvested animal must be telechecked by phone, computer or through MDC’s MO Hunting App.

Smith said it’s also important to remind hunters of Missouri’s baiting regulations.

“Another violation that our agents come across during the fall hunting seasons are hunters who are hunting over bait or have harvested a deer or turkey over areas where bait has been placed,” he said.

While many hunters place bait out to attract wildlife, to pattern them, and to photograph them with trail cameras, it’s important to remember that it’s a violation to hunt deer, bear, elk, or turkey over an area that has been baited. Bait is grain, feed, or food for consumption. Bait does not include salt or mineral if there is no grain or feed mixed in. An area is considered baited until 10 days after the complete removal of the bait. It’s also a violation for anyone to place bait in a manner or at a location that causes others to be in violation of baiting regulations.

In regards to baiting, it’s important to note that it is illegal to place bait or mineral in the 52 counties that comprise Missouri’s CWD Management Zone. This regulation is in place to help prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD).

More information about telecheck procedures, baiting regulations, and other parts of deer and turkey hunting in Missouri can be found in the “2023 Fall Deer and Turkey” booklet, a free publication available at all MDC offices and most places that sell hunting permits. Hunting information can also be found at