July 6, 2020

Missouri: Department Accepting Comments for New Nighttime Hunting Regulations Proposed for Feral Swine and Coyotes

Contact: Kent Keene, Lower Midwestern States Coordinator

On July 1, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) began accepting public comments related to proposed regulatory changes regarding the use of artificial lights or the use of night vision, infrared, and thermal imaging equipment while hunting certain species at night. Similar to regulations currently proposed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, & Tourism, these proposed changes primarily involve the use of the aforementioned equipment to hunt coyotes, and in Missouri’s case, feral swine. The opportunity to employ this equipment is currently allowed in several other Midwestern states.

Specifically, the proposed regulatory change would create a special coyote hunting season, proposed to occur from February 1 through March 31 each year, during which, the use of an artificial light or the use of night vision, infrared, and thermal imaging equipment may be used in conjunction with other legal coyote hunting methods. Additionally, landowners and their authorized representatives may use this equipment to harvest feral swine on the landowner’s property year-round. An authorized representative is any person who has permission from the landowner. Current regulations allow landowners and their agents to use these methods to harvest feral swine on private lands once written approval is received from an MDC conservation agent. 

As outlined in the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) comment letter regarding proposed nighttime coyote hunting regulations to the Kansas Wildlife, Parks, & Tourism Commission on June 25, CSF supports state fish and wildlife management agencies as the entity best equipped to make science-based wildlife management decisions at the state level. Additionally, CSF appreciates MDC’s decision to propose this new opportunity for Missouri’s sportsmen and women while strengthening their support for hunting as a preferred management tool to be used in conjunction with other techniques to manage wildlife populations. CSF will continue to track the status of these proposed changes as they proceed through the regulatory process. For individuals interested in learning more and commenting on the proposed changes, visit the MDC’s website.

MDC is also accepting general comments regarding the Missouri Wildlife Code as part of the Department’s annual review process. Missouri state law requires all state agencies to thoroughly review their rules and regulations every five years. This comment period allows the public to suggest regulatory changes or request clarification outside of the normal rule-making process which typically requires science-based proposals from MDC staff or recommendations from the Missouri Conservation Commission. Those interested in commenting on the Missouri Wildlife Code may do so here.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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