MDC reminds waterfowl hunters about waterfowl regulations and other information for the 2022-23 hunting season
St. LOUIS, Mo.—The fall migration has begun and with duck and goose seasons upon us, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) offers some important information to help waterfowl hunters in the St. Louis Region.
“Cooler weather has ushered down ducks and geese to our area from up north and good waterfowl hunting should ensue because of this,” said St. Charles County Conservation Agent, Corporal James Bolden.
“The St. Louis Region is blessed with being in the heart of the Mississippi Flyway and having both the Missouri River and Mississippi River within it. There are numerous opportunities to hunt waterfowl within our region and hunters should take advantage of this, but do so legally,” said Agent Bolden.
Currently, MDC intensively manages two conservation areas (C.A.) in the St. Louis Region for waterfowl hunting: Marais Temps Clair in St. Charles County and B.K. Leach in Lincoln County. Each of these areas have a morning draw to allocate hunting positions. Morning draw times and procedures can be found on the MDC website at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZFj.
Hunters should note that due to water pumpstation failure, Columbia Bottom C.A. switched to open waterfowl hunting (no draw) on Nov. 8. Naturally variable water levels will dictate available hunting locations on the area. Hunters can call the Waterfowl Hotline at 314-877-6014 to check the area’s current water levels.
“There are some additional conservation areas and portions of both the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers that may provide waterfowl hunting opportunities in the region, such as Prairie Slough C.A., Cuivre Island C.A., Upper Mississippi C.A., and the unrestricted portion of the Mississippi River,” Cpl. Bolden said.
There are three separate duck hunting zones in the state, and the St. Louis Region is split by the North Zone and Middle Zone. A full map of the zone boundaries can be found in MDC’s 2022- 2023 Migratory Bird and Waterfowl Hunting Digest.
“Before going hunting on any conservation area or portion of river, be sure to research if waterfowl hunting is allowed and, if so, the rules and regulations that apply. Feel free to contact the local conservation agent for further information if needed,” said Bolden.
Waterfowl season dates for the 2022-2023 seasons are as follows:
Ducks and Coots:
- North Zone:
Oct. 29, 2022 – Dec. 27, 2022
- Middle Zone:
Nov. 5 – 13, 2022 and Nov. 19, 2022 – Jan. 8, 2023
- South Zone:
Nov. 24 – 27, 2022 and Dec. 7, 2022 – Jan. 31, 2023
Nov. 11, 2022 – Feb. 6, 2023
Agent Bolden offered these regulation reminders and general information for the waterfowl seasons:
- Outbreaks of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) affecting waterfowl species have been reported in Chariton, Jackson, St. Charles, and St. Louis counties. Waterfowl hunters should properly dispose of harvest waste. After cleaning waterfowl, hunters are encouraged to place the remains in trash bags and dispose of them through trash collection or a permitted landfill. This will help limit the spread of the disease.
- Required Missouri permits are a Small Game Hunting Permit, a Migratory Bird Hunting Permit, and a Federal Waterfowl Stamp. An electronic Federal Waterfowl Stamp is only valid for 45 days, after that a physical Federal Waterfowl Stamp must be possessed and signed across the face while waterfowl hunting.
- Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.
- Possession and use of lead shot is prohibited.
- Shotguns must be 10 gauge or smaller and cannot be capable of holding more than three shells.
- The head or one fully feathered wing must remain attached to all waterfowl while being transported from the field to one’s home.
- Daily limits for ducks include a total of 6 ducks with species restrictions of 4 mallards (no more than 2 hens), 3 wood ducks, 2 black ducks, 2 canvasbacks, 2 hooded mergansers, 2 redheads, 2 scaup during the first 45 days of season and 1 scaup during the last 15 days of season, 1 mottled duck, and 1 pintail.
- The daily limit for coots is 15.
- Daily limits for geese include 20 light geese, 3 Canada geese and brant combined, and 2 white-fronted geese.
- Report your bands. Bands recovered and reported by hunters provide important information about survival, migration, and harvest rates for a variety of migratory game birds.
- Be sure to handle game birds properly: do not handle or eat birds that are obviously sick or found dead, clean birds in a well-ventilated area, wear rubber gloves, wash hands and tools, etc.
- When using a boat with a motor, including a layout boat, state statutes apply. See Water Patrol Home (missouri.gov) for further information concerning boating.
Other regulations and general information can be found in our 2022-2023 Migratory Bird and Waterfowl Hunting Digest, or on our website at www.mdc.mo.gov.
“I hope all the hunters have a fun and enjoyable season and that they keep safe hunting practices in the forefront of their minds while afield,” Cpl. Bolden said.