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The fourth Saturday in May marks the opening of squirrel season in Missouri. Hunters may pursue gray and fox squirrels from May 28 through Feb. 15, 2012, with rifles, shotguns or archery equipment. The aggregate bag limit is 10 squirrels and the possession limit is 20.
The fourth Saturday in May also marks the opening of catch-and-keep black bass season in Missouri Ozark streams for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass. The Ozark-streams season runs from May 28 to Feb. 29, 2012.
“Aggregate” means hunters may harvest any combination of fox and gray squirrels so long as they do not exceed 10 squirrels total in one day. If hunters bag a daily limit two days in a row, they will have a possession limit of 20 squirrels. After that, they must eat or give away some squirrels before going hunting again in order to stay within the possession limit.
Hunters also may take squirrels with cage-type traps, as long as they label traps with their full name and address, or their Conservation number. Squirrel traps also must have openings measuring 144 square inches or less, for instance, 12 inches by 12 inches. Hunters must attend their traps daily. The same regulations apply to rabbits and groundhogs during their respective seasons.
Lonnie Hansen, the Missouri Department of Conservation’s resource scientist in charge of squirrel management, explained that squirrel numbers in the Ozarks are somewhat dependent on acorn production while squirrels have a more diverse and dependable food base in northern Missouri thanks to agricultural crops. As a result, squirrel populations are more stable there, and hunting is uniformly good from year to year.
“We had a tremendous acorn crop last fall so squirrel numbers should be building in the Ozarks,” Hansen said. “Squirrel numbers should also be high elsewhere. I think squirrel hunting should be excellent this year.”
Black bass fishing and possession is open year-around for impoundments, and areas of the state other than the Ozarks. These other areas are defined as: the Mississippi river, all waters north of the south bank of the Missouri River, the St. Francis River downstream from Wappapello Dam and on streams in that portion of southeast Missouri bounded by a line from Cape Girardeau following Missouri highways 74 and 25, U.S. highways 60, 67 and 160, and the west bank of the Little Black River to the Arkansas state line.
While the daily limit on black bass in most of the state’s waters is six with a possession limit of 12, there are many lakes, rivers and streams with special daily limits, as well as different length limits. It is important for anglers to know the specific black bass fishing regulations for the areas they will fish.
More information is available in the Missouri Department of Conservation’s 2011 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations available from permit vendors, Department of Conservation offices and online at www.Missouri Conservation.org.