Following public comment periods, the Missouri Department of Conservation has announced changes regarding landowner and nonresident permits.
Starting in 2020, MDC will increase the minimum acreage requirement from 5 to 20 acres for resident landowners and members of their immediate households to receive free permits for deer and turkey hunting.
Resident landowners with 5 or more acres and members of their immediate households will continue to be allowed to hunt small game, fish on waters of the state and trap on their qualifying properties without the need of a permit.
Beginning in 2020, MDC will also assemble a landowner registry to keep track of resident and nonresident landowners who have obtained permits. It's meant as a fraud-prevention member, the MDC stated.
"Many of the violations involve people fraudulently obtaining and using the free permits when they do not qualify for them, such as claiming to be a resident landowner when they are not or misrepresenting the number of acres they have," MDC Protection Division Chief Randy Doman said in May. "We also find folks who share their permits with others — which is illegal — and who use the permits on land other than the property for which the permits were issued, which is also not allowed."
A review by conservation agents in 2017 found misuse of deer and turkey hunting landowner privileges in 35 percent of cases.
The registry will provide secure records of landowners and members of their households who qualify for the free and discounted permits. The electronic registry will also provide proof of land ownership and boundaries of the properties for which the free and discounted permits apply.
Individuals will be required to provide their information online through a secure MDC web page, or in paper form. The landowner registry will be available starting in January 2020.
Nonresident landowners with 75 or more contiguous acres will receive a perk under the new system: discounted hunting permits. Qualifying nonresidents will pay the following prices for permits: $165 for spring turkeys, $96 for fall turkeys, $195 for archery and $195 for firearm deer hunting.
The MDC also plans to raise prices on some nonresident hunting and fishing permits, beginning Feb. 29, 2020.
According to MDC, permit prices have not been raised in more than a decade, and adjustments are needed to help keep up with increasing costs of providing conservation programs and services around the state. Permit sales account for about 17 percent of the agency's annual revenue.
Nonresidents make almost all of the daily fishing and hunting permit purchases in Missouri, the MDC stated.
As part of the changes, MDC will also limit daily fishing permits and daily hunting permits to one and three days and eliminate daily fishing permits and daily hunting permits for other numbers of days (two, four, five, six and seven days).
The new nonresident permit prices are as follows:
Daily fishing (one day): $8 (previously $7)
Daily fishing (three days): $24 (previously $21)
Annual fishing: $49 ($42)
Furbearer hunting/trapping: $192 ($130)
Annual small game hunting: $94 ($80)
Daily small game (one day): $14 ($11)
Daily small game (three days): $42 ($33)
Conservation order: $47 ($40)
Spring turkey hunting: $224 ($190)
Fall turkey hunting: $130 ($110)
Firearm dear hunting, archery hunting and managed deer hunting: $265 (formerly $225)
According to MDC, the average Missourian pays about $19 annually for conservation efforts through the Department's dedicated sales tax revenue. MDC receives no funding from property taxes, tickets or citations (which go to local school districts), or the state's general revenue budget.