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Starting in 2020, the Missouri Department of Conservation 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 a permit.

Also starting in 2020, MDC will offer discounted deer- and turkey-hunting permits for nonresident landowners with 75 acres or more in a contiguous tract. According to MDC, many nonresident landowners provide wildlife habitat work on their properties and those efforts can provide benefits to state wildlife resources.

The discounted permits for nonresident landowners will be:

• Spring turkey, $165.

• Fall turkey, $96.

• Archery, $195.

• Firearm deer, $195.

MDC is also implementing a landowner registry starting in 2020 for resident landowners to obtain free landowner deer and turkey permits and for nonresident landowners to obtain discounted landowner permits.

The registry is needed by both MDC and permit vendors to help eliminate misuse of landowner permits and privileges, according to an MDC news release. A review by conservation agents in 2017 found 35 percent misuse of deer- and turkey-hunting landowner privileges. Prior to 2004, landowners wanting no-cost landowner deer- and turkey-hunting privileges were required to provide proof by mailing the appropriate information to MDC.

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 webpage or in paper form. The landowner registry will be available starting in January.

MDC conducted an online landowner survey in March to get feedback on acreage preferences. The changes were given initial approval by the Missouri Conservation Commission at its May 23 meeting. As part of the rulemaking process, MDC asked for public comments during July and early August. The commission approved the changes at its Friday meeting. The changes will become effective Jan. 15.

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