MDC Determines Bear, Elk Hunting Seasons Framework

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will offer 400 permits for the taking of a maximum of 40 black bears during the 2024 Missouri black-bear hunting season this fall, Oct 21-30.

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 qualifying Missouri residents. MDC has designated the elk archery portion to run Oct. 19-27 and the elk firearms portion to run Dec. 14-22. 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 archery and firearms 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 April 5th.

MDC has established three Bear Management Zones, or BMZs, 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.

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.

Missouri hunters harvested 12 black bears during the 2023 bear-hunting season.

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 archery portion will run Oct. 19-27 and the firearms portion will run Dec. 14-22. The allowed hunting methods for each elk season portion 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 and bear permit random drawings will be May 1st throught Mays 31st 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.

Missouri hunters harvested one bull elk during the 2023 archery portion and two during the 2023 firearms portion.