Sunday, March 8, 2009

Time to buy hunting, fishing permits

If you are planning a hunting or fishing outing, you might want to check your permits. Missouri’s hunting and fishing permit year ends on the last day of February, which means some hunters and anglers are walking around with expired permits.

Through 1995, the Missouri Department of Conservation used pre-printed permit forms that came in books and were filled out by vendors. Those permits expired at the end of each calendar year. In 1996, the agency changed over to the present electronic system, where permits are issued electronically and printed at the “point of sale.”

When it implemented the point-of-sale system, the Conservation Department changed the permit expiration date to the last day of February. This recognized that hunting seasons for some game, including rabbits, squirrels, quail, pheasants, ruffed grouse and some waterfowl, extend into the new year. The requirement for new permits on March 1 also coincides with the start of the regular fishing season at Missouri’s four trout parks.

Missouri sport hunting and fishing permits are available from permit vendors statewide or online at wildlifelicense.com/mo/. To accommodate holiday gift giving, permits for each permit year go on sale Dec. 1 of the preceding year. Permits purchased for the next permit year are valid from the date of sale, making it possible to get 15 months of hunting or fishing for the price of a year.

The Migratory Bird Hunting Permit and the federal duck stamp are exceptions to the usual expiration date for sport hunting and fishing permits. These are valid from July 1 through June 30 of the following year.

Hunters and anglers will find some changes in hunting and fishing permits in 2009. These include:

§ The Youth Deer and Turkey Hunting Permit and the Youth Antlerless Hunting Permit will not be available after June 30. Starting July 1, resident and nonresident youth may purchase regular fall firearms deer and turkey hunting permits at half the price of resident fall firearms deer and turkey permits. Youth Deer and Turkey Hunting Permits purchased during the 2009 spring turkey season remain valid for the 2009 fall firearms deer and turkey hunting seasons.

§ Youths age 15 and younger may trap without a permit.

§ Reduced-cost nonresident landowner permits no longer will be available after the spring turkey hunting season.

§ Nonresident students attending public or private secondary, post-secondary or vocational schools in Missouri and who live in Missouri while attending school may purchase resident permits, except lifetime permits. Nonresident students must buy resident permits at Conservation Department offices and must carry evidence of Missouri residence and student status while hunting, fishing or trapping.

§ Beginning in 2010, participants in the light-goose conservation order must purchase a resident or nonresident Conservation Order Permit if they are 16 or older.

§ When mentoring a firearms hunter who is not hunter-education certified, all mentors, including landowners hunting on their own land, must be at least 18 years old and hunter-education certified unless they were born before Jan. 1, 1967.

Additional details about hunting and fishing permits are contained in the 2009 summaries of hunting, trapping and fishing regulations, available wherever permits are sold or at mdc.mo.gov/regs/permits.htm.

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