MDC sets 2023 bear and elk seasons with permit applications in May

with MoConservation and!

News from the region – Statewide

By – Joe Jerek – Published Date – 03/14/2023

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will offer 400 permits for the taking of a maximum of 40 black bears during the 2023 Missouri black-bear hunting season this fall, Oct. 16-25.

MDC will also offer five permits to hunt bull elk in Missouri this fall with at least one permit designated for qualifying landowners that own property in Carter, Reynolds, or Shannon counties and the remaining permits for the general public. MDC has designated the elk archery portion to run Oct. 21-29 and the elk firearms portion to run Dec. 9-17. The five permits will be for bull elk with at least one antler being six inches or greater in length and will be valid for both portions.

Only Missouri residents who will be at least 11 years of age by the first day of the hunt for which they are applying are eligible to apply for bear and elk permits during the application period of May 1-31. All permits will be assigned through a random drawing.

The Missouri Conservation Commission gave final approval to the bear and elk season recommendations from MDC during its March 14 open meeting in Jefferson City.


MDC has established three Bear Management Zones (BMZ) in southern Missouri and will issue annual permit numbers and harvest quotas for each of the three BMZs. Each permit will be for a specific BMZ and may be used on public or private property within the BMZ. Once the specific harvest quotas are filled for each BMZ, the season for that BMZ will be closed.

There is a fee of $10 per applicant. Applicants must select one of three BMZs. Those selected will then be eligible to buy a BMZ-specific permit at a cost of $25.

Permit and harvest quotas for the Oct. 16-25 bear season will be:

  • BMZ 1: Permit quota of 200 issued with a harvest quota of 20 bears.
  • BMZ 2: Permit quota of 150 issued with a harvest quota of 15 bears.
  • BMZ 3: Permit quota of 50 issued with a harvest quota of 5 bears.

Hunting hours will be a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset. Hunters must call MDC prior to hunting each day to determine the closure status of the BMZ for which they are permitted. Hunters will be allowed to use both archery and firearms methods with allowable methods being the same as those for deer and elk, except the use of an atlatl. Baiting and the use of dogs will not be allowed.

The harvest limit will be one bear per permit. Only lone black bears may be taken. Hunters may not take bears that are known to be in the presence of others bears, including female black bears with cubs. Bears may not be disturbed, pushed, harassed, or taken from a den.

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Learn more about black bears and bear hunting in Missouri at

Apply for the bear-permit random drawing May 1 – 31 online at, through MDC’s free MO Hunting app, through a permit vendor, or by calling 1-800-392-4115. Results of the bear-permit random drawing will be available online by July 1.


MDC will require a $10 application fee for elk-permit applicants. Those selected will then be eligible to buy a permit at a cost of $50. All elk-hunting permits, including those allocated to qualifying area landowners, can be used in Carter, Reynolds, and Shannon counties, except the refuge portion of Peck Ranch Conservation Area.

The allowed hunting methods for each elk season portion — archery Oct. 21-29 and firearms Dec. 9-17 — will be the same as for deer hunting. The permits will allow for the harvest of one bull elk with at least one antler being six inches or greater in length.

For more information on elk and elk hunting in Missouri, visit

Apply for the elk-permit random drawing May 1-31 online at, through MDC’s free MO Hunting app, through a permit vendor, or by calling 1-800-392-4115. Results of the elk-permit random drawing will be available online by July 1.

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