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Landowner Wildlife Permits

February 22, 2021
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WRITTEN BY Dr. Rachel Owen and Dr. Elena Bickell

Currently, the Missouri Department of Conservation provides resident landowners with up to six no-cost deer permits and up to three no-cost turkey permits each year to be used during the statewide deer and turkey hunting seasons. Landowners are also required to register their land in order to obtain landowner permits. HB 1694 proposes a removal of the registry of land as a requirement and the reduction of the minimum land requirement from 20 acres to 5 acres for a landowner to be eligible for landowner permits.


  • Based on the most recent MDC reports, deer and turkey populations are stable or increasing in most Missouri counties. Hunters and landowners report about the right amount of deer in most of the state based on social perceptions. 
  • A biologically sustainable deer density in Missouri is approximately 1 deer per 18 to 25 acres. Studies in other states have found that deer densities increase in exurban areas with smaller land parcels (5-10 acres) and less hunting pressure. 
  • Most U.S. states offer landowner permits in some capacity as an incentive to support habitat conservation on privately owned lands. Surrounding states (IL, KS, IA) provide no-cost landowner permits based on contiguous acres


  • Because the landowner permit acreage change in Missouri went into effect in 2020, there is no information available to describe any potential impacts on harvest or hunter satisfaction.


This Note has been updated. You can access the previous version (published February 2021) here.

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