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Missouri Hunting Seasons

Mike Slinkard

December 8, 2022

When it comes to hunting in the midwest, Missouri is an underrated treasure — the state offers beautiful scenery and big game to hunt during hunting season, including 1.3 million white-tailed deer. Whether you’re looking to bag a buck to mount or enjoy delicious venison, you can find the perfect deer in Missouri’s forests.

If you’re hoping to find new game to hunt, consider taking a trip to Missouri for their next hunting season. The Department of Conservation has streamlined the hunting process to update permits automatically online. So, you can purchase the appropriate permit and join the hunt immediately!

Missouri Deer Season

Before you scope out a white-tailed deer in Missouri, you’ll need to know the basics: when, where, and how much to expect. For Missouri hunting seasons, outdoorsmen have various legal hunting methods, dates, and conservation areas to explore. 

Dates for Deer Hunting Season

In Missouri, deer hunting season starts in mid-September and continues into mid-January. But the timeframe is not continuous. If you have preferred hunting equipment or deer gender, you must adhere to specific periods for hunting.

Firearms Deer SeasonNovember 12th – November 22nd
Antlerless Firearms Deer HuntingDecember 3rd – December 11th
Youth Season (Firearm)October 29th & 30th November 25th – November 27th
Archery Deer HuntingSeptember 15th – November 11th November 23rd – January 15th 

Where to Hunt in Missouri

Knowing exactly where you can legally hunt white-tailed deer in Missouri will be important, especially since 93% of Missouri land is privately owned. Here are some popular public hunting lands in the state: 

If you or someone you know owns property in Missouri, you may hunt on their private land with the proper permissions and permits.

Legal Hunting Methods in Missouri

Here’s a list of approved hunting equipment for the archery and firearm season: 

  • Shotguns with slug ammunition 
  • Rifles, pistols, and revolvers with expanding bullets (lead, copper, etc.) 
  • Crossbows
  • Longbows 
  • Compound and recurve bows
  • Atlatls (Spear-throwing)
  • Muzzleloaders

Automatic rifles, equipment that shoots more than one projectile, and motor vehicles (including boats) cannot be used to take down a deer in Missouri. A boat’s forward progress or loud firearms may scare off animals being hunted in surrounding areas. That’d ruin any hunter’s day!

In addition, hunters may not possess night vision equipment, electronically activated calls, or thermal imagery equipment when hunting white-tailed deer.

Cost of Deer Hunting Permits

Depending upon your preferred hunting method and residency status in Missouri, the cost of a deer hunting permit will vary. Here’s what you can expect to pay for the upcoming season: 

Archery (Antlerless)$3.50Free$7.00$25.00
Firearm (Antlerless)$3.50Free$7.00$25.00
Firearms (Any Deer)$8.50Free$17.00$265.00
Managed Deer Hunt$8.50N/A$17.00$265.00

All permits can be purchased online through the Missouri Department of Conservation website. For immediate needs, hunters have the option to purchase necessary permits over the phone.

Deer Hunting Rules

Before you enter the deer woods on the hunt , you’ll need to know about Missouri’s specific rules and regulations. Every outdoorsman must complete Missouri’s Hunter Education Course before obtaining a deer hunting permit. 

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If you are a first-time hunter, don’t worry: Other legal hunting methods in Missouri will allow you to practice hunting with a trained mentor who has previously completed hunter education. 

Young hunters must be within the ages of 6 to 15 to qualify for a youth hunting permit. Youth hunters can harvest one deer during their hunting season. 

In Missouri, hunters can only secure one antlered deer, or buck, for the entire firearm season. Antler point restrictions state each buck must have four points to be harvested. 

For the antlerless portion, the possession limit will vary across Missouri counties. Outside of Dunklin, Mississippi, New Madrid, and Pemiscot counties, outdoorsmen can harvest any number of antlerless deer during archery season — but only if they have the appropriate permits. 

When hunting white-tailed deer, hunters are permitted to begin 30 minutes before sunrise and must return 30 minutes following sunset.

Other Missouri Hunting Seasons

Missouri doesn’t just offer deer hunting seasons — even though it’s a favorite among the locals. Here are some other wildlife hunting seasons within the state:

AnimalSeason Dates
TurkeySpring: April 18th – May 8th Firearms: October 1st – October 31st Archery: September 15th – November 11th and November 23rd to January 15th 
BearOctober 17th – October 26th
ElkArchery: October 15th – October 23rd Firearms: December 10th – December 18th
Bullfrog and Green FrogJune 30th – October 31st
PheasantYouth Hunting: October 29th & 30th Regular Season: November 1st – January 15th 
Rabbit (Excluding Jackrabbits)October 1st – February 15th 

In regards to bear season, every bear harvested needs to be reported to the Missouri Department of Conservation. Once the maximum number of bears have been hunted, the season will be closed. 


Every year, Missouri welcomes approximately 576,000 outdoorsmen to participate in hunting season. Whether you’re looking to hunt deer, savage the waters for bullfrogs, or aim for other fur-bearing animals, you’ll find endless opportunities await in the fields of Missouri. 

Season dates will vary across the state and by county. To discover specific dates, rules, and regulations for your county, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation website.

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About the Author : Mike Slinkard

A hunter displaying his bear on rocks near a lake

Mike Slinkard is a life long bow hunter, professional archer, successful entrepreneur, and self described science geek from the rural town of John Day Oregon. Mike has spent his life in close proximity to all types of animals. His grandfather was a well known cattle and horse rancher who first instilled Mike’s keen interest in animals and why they react the way they do in different situations. Mike’s insatiable curiosity in this realm led him to team with other professionals to make the HECS discovery in 2009. Mike has hunted all over the world and has taken over 30 species with archery gear including 48 elk to date. Mike currently hosts “Hunting with HECS TV” on the Pursuit Channel. He has also written many bow hunting and archery articles as well as being a guest on many different hunting podcasts.

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