MDC Announces Changes to Waterfowl Managed Hunts Due to COVID-19

Alex Geiger and his father stage a duck hunt for photography purposes after hunting season at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area. MOCON.

All reservations will be allocated through a weekly in-season reservation draw.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has modified the 2020-2021 waterfowl managed hunt process to assure the safety of hunters and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

MDC is committed to providing hunting opportunities on managed waterfowl hunting areas throughout the waterfowl season. To allow for flexibility to respond to the state of the pandemic, there will be no pre-season reservations for the 2020-2021 waterfowl season. There will also be no teal season or youth season morning drawings. Procedures for individual conservation areas will be posted on the MDC website closer to season.

All reservations, including ADA blinds, will be allocated through the weekly in-season reservation draw. The first application period will open October 20 and results will be announced October 27. The weekly application period opens every Tuesday at 8 a.m. and closes the following Monday at 3 p.m.

Throughout the season, hunters will be asked to follow precautionary guidelines to assure the safety of everyone at the site during the morning draw. There will be a sliding scale of procedural levels (see below) that could range from no staff-hunter contact at all to close to business as usual.

At the start of the season, every conservation area will be assigned to a certain procedural level due to the status of COVID-19 in the county. The decisions will be made in consultation with the appropriate county health department. Throughout the season, an area could move to a more restrictive procedural level depending on the county health department or other COVID-19 related factors. Some details of the procedural levels are as follows:

Red Level (very high COVID-19 risk)

  • No staff-hunter contact.
  • No facility use.
  • 100% allocation for Missouri residents only through in-season reservation draw.
  • Hunt positions will be pre-assigned.
  • No poor line or vacancy filling.

Orange Level (high COVID-19 risk)

  • Limited facility use and social distancing employed.
  • 100% allocation for Missouri residents only through in-season reservation draw.
  • Hunt parties will be able to select hunt location.
  • No poor line or vacancy filling.

Yellow Level (moderate COVID-19 risk)

  • Limited facility use and social distancing employed.
  • 100% allocation for Missouri residents only through in-season reservation draw.
  • Hunt parties will be able to select hunt location.
  • Poor line only for reservation no-shows.

Green Level (low COVID-19 risk)

  • Facility use as guidance allows and social distancing employed.
  • 50% allocation through in-season reservation draw.
  • Hunt parties will be able to select hunt location.
  • Poor line for no-shows and 50% of hunt positions.

Throughout the season, procedures could change with limited time to notify hunters. In order to receive updates as quickly as possible, please subscribe to the “Waterfowl” email update list at public.govdelivery.com/accounts/MODC/subscribers/new.

Interested hunters can also refer to the MDC website as information is available, at huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/waterfowl/waterfowl-managed-hunts.

While this process means a significant change from what hunters are used to, MDC has no plans to make the changes permanent. Back in May, an interdisciplinary team was created to look at the draw procedures and determine the best path forward, keeping hunters and MDC staff safe. This team made the best recommendation they could that balanced hunting opportunity with keeping staff and hunters safe.

MDC has designated staff to help answer any questions hunters may have about the changes to this year’s waterfowl season. Please contact the following staff members at the numbers below:

Statewide-

  • Lauren Hildreth 573-522-4115 ext. 3259
  • Joel Porath 573-522-4115 ext. 3188

North Zone-

  • Chris Freeman 660-646-6122
  • Craig Crisler 660-446-3371
  • Mike Flaspohler 573-248-2530

Middle Zone-

  • Luke Wehmhoff 573-624-5821 ext. 4662
  • Gary Calvert 636-441-4554 ext. 4180

South Zone-

  • Lauren Hildreth 573-522-4115 ext. 3259
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