Autumn brings the hunting seasons, and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) provides many natural areas open to the public for hunting. Some conservation areas offer wetlands for waterfowl or uplands with small game such as rabbits. Others welcome hunters pursuing big game such as deer and wild turkeys. But hunters should carefully check the regulations for each area before a visit. Special regulations or boundaries for that area may apply.
For example, the Nodaway Valley Conservation Area in Holt County is managed primarily for waterfowl hunting. But the area also has other upland areas open for small game hunting. However, the use of lead shot in shotguns is prohibited for any type of hunting on the area. That regulation is in place for 37 of MDC’s conservation areas, including many in western Missouri, as it protects wildlife from lead poisoning. Many types of non-toxic shot are effective and available to hunters.
Nodaway Valley also has special waterfowl hunting zones, refuge zones, and somewhat different waterfowl regulations for the portion of the area east of the Nodaway River. This is one example of how MDC conservation areas managed to maximize benefits for wildlife, habitat, and people. A hunter should know each area’s regulations and boundaries.
Archery deer hunters, for example, may find special regulations in place for tree stand use. Some conservation areas have specific regulations regarding hunting methods allowable on the area. A quick rereference source is MDC’s 2020 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting & Regulations Information booklet. It is available where permits are sold and online at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z6j.
Many MDC areas also have no-shooting zones as a safety precaution for public buildings, private property, or parking areas. Hunters should also respect the boundaries between public use areas and private property and not trespass. All trash must be carried home for disposal. Pick up spent shot shells to leave wild lands natural for the next hunters.
MDC conservation areas offer forests, grasslands, wetlands, and woodlands that are shared by visitors. They are beautiful in autumn and free to visit. Courtesy to other hunters, hikers, or birders helps everyone enjoy the outdoors.
MDC’s Mo Hunting app let’s hunters use digital devices such as cell phones to obtain permits, find places to hunt, and check regulations. To get the app, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZoQ.
For a handy MDC web page to check for areas with non-toxic shot requirements, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Zgt. The page also has a useful list of shotgun shell shot types that meet the requirement.
Autumn is a wonderful time to head outdoors in Missouri for many activities. To learn more, visit http://mdc.mo.gov.