Bird Hunting in Missouri

Bird Hunting in Missouri

Missouri is where the rivers run and the birds flush.

Like many of the midwestern states surrounding it, Missouri is comprised of a good deal of farmland. Over 90 percent of Missouri’s rivers, scattered woodlands and tall grass prairies are on private land. In partnership with landowners, the Missouri Department of Conservation works hard to ensure that game birds have good habitat. Much of the work involved in making sure there are strong populations of game birds like bobwhite quail happens on land directly managed by the Department. Today, the Department holds at least 789,000 acres, much of which is managed specifically for quality game habitat. Besides public lands, you can also access private lands for hunting under the Outdoor Recreational Access Program.

An annual resident license fee costs $10; nonresident licenses cost $80. If you’re wanting to hunt for a single day, expect to pay the $11 fee for a 1-day license. 

Bobwhite Quail 

Though the quail population — like in many other states — seems imperiled, bobwhite quail hunting in Missouri remains strong. Some attribute the amount of quail in Missouri to good quail habitat within the state. Quail need dense brush covers near the grassy areas they feed in since coveys frequently hole up in covers. There are currently many initiatives that involve the conservation and management of quail habitats to ensure good bird hunting in Missouri for the future. 

The season opens November 1 and closes January 15 with a daily bag limit of 8. 

Ring-Necked Pheasant

In the 2014-2015 season, 5,370 hunters took about 18,000 pheasant. This number represents a downward trend in pheasant populations for bird hunting in Missouri. You’ll most likely find pheasant in northwest Missouri and parts of the northeast as well as on hunting preserves. 

The season opens November 1 and closes January 15 with a daily bag limit of 2. 

American Woodcock 

Beginning in October, northern Missouri is the place to look for American woodcock. The numbers in the south improve into November as the woodcock migrate. There are various conservation areas across Missouri to check out like Bushwhacker Lake, Duck Creek and Magnolia Hollow. 

The season opens October 15 and closes November 28 with a daily bag limit of 3. You are required to have a migratory hunting permit. 

(governed by federal migratory laws) 

Other Species for Bird Hunting in Missouri

There are a few other species available for bird hunting in Missouri. There is no bag limit for crow which you can hunt from November 1 to March 3. The season for Wilson’s snipe opens September 1 and closes December 16. There is a daily bag limit of 8. With dove, the season begins September 1 and ends November 29 with a daily bag limit of 15. Finally, Sora and Virginia rails have a season from September 1 to November 9 with a daily bag limit of 25. 

Related Conservation and Non-Profit Organizations for Bird Hunting in Missouri

American Woodcock Society

North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA)

Pheasants Forever

Quail Forever

Hunter Safety Course and Dog Training for Bird Hunting in Missouri 

Anyone born after 1966 must complete a hunter education course in order to purchase a hunting license for bird hunting in Missouri. Missouri residents who are at least 16 years old can complete the entire two step course online. You can take a class online for a $15 fee. Anyone at least 16 years old may enroll in the Apprentice Hunter Authorization for $10, which allows them to hunt without possessing a hunter education certificate. The program is good for one year. Additionally, the individual must follow the safety requirements which include being under the supervision of a licensed adult. 

You may train your dog for bird hunting in Missouri on conservation areas that allow for dog training. The dog training permit costs $20. Any pheasant, exotic partridge, or quail used must be legally obtained and captive-reared.

The bird hunting season dates, game bird species available, and other information is subject to change. The article may not reflect this. Please visit the Missouri Department of Conservation for the most up-to-date information on bird hunting in Missouri.

Last modified: June 12, 2018

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