The Missouri Department of Conservation now has set many of the state’s early fall hunting seasons, allowing hunters plenty of time to arrange vacation time and make plans for hunting trips.
Duck and goose seasons are the exception, as they can’t be set until the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service releases its guidelines in August.
There are very few changes in any of these seasons, with dove season once again serving as the “kickoff” for fall hunting with a Sept. 1 opening date. The season will be 70 days long, ending Nov. 9. MDC experimented briefly with a “split” dove season some years back, but it wasn’t popular, so they returned to a “straight-through” season. Mourning doves, Eurasian collared doves and white-winged doves are all legal, and the daily limit of 15 and possession limit of 30 is a combined total of all three species. Even though the season is 70 days long, most dove hunting is done in the first 2-3 weeks due to doves going on south on the first cold front.
September teal season dates can be set, but are contingent on the population index for blue-winged teal. If the bluewing population is 4.7 million or more, the season will be 16 days long from Sept. 8-23. If their population is 3.3 million, but less than 4.7 million, the season will be 9 days, Sept. 8-16. If their numbers have dropped below 3.3 million, there will be no early teal season. This is unlikely, as blue-winged teal numbers have been high enough for a 16-day season for several years now, and they had a record population last year.
Seasons have also been set for snipe, rails and woodcock, which aren’t hunted by many, but provide plenty of sport for those who pursue them. Sora and Virginia rail season will run from Sept. 1-Nov, 9 (70 days) with a liberal limit of 25 daily and in possession. Wilson’s (common) snipe (yes, there really is a snipe and they really are hunted) season will be even longer, Sept. 1-Dec. 16, with limits of 8 daily, 16 in possession. Woodcock season will be Oct. 15-Nov. 28, with limits of three (3) daily, six (6) in possession.
Archery deer and turkey season will run from Sept. 15-Nov. 9 and Nov. 21-Jan. 15 (closed briefly for November firearms deer season). Archers may take two (2) deer of either sex during the season, but only 1 antlered buck before November firearms season, and may also take 2 turkeys of either sex. Additional deer may be taken using Archery Antlerless Deer Permits in select counties. Firearms turkey season will run the entire month of October, two turkeys of either sex as the season limit.