Thousands of Missourians apply for elk and black bear hunting permits in 2023

Photo of Elk and black bear (Photo courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation)

(Missourinet/KTTN News) – Missouri has sold nearly 14,000 elk and black bear hunting permit applications this year. The application process closed on May 31.

The Missouri Department of Conservation reports 8,562 of those are for elk hunting – lower than the 2021 and 2022 applications of roughly 9,700. As for black bear hunting permit applications, 5,374 were sold this year, compared to 5,881 last year and 6,335 in 2021.

The cost of a bear hunting application was $10.00 and if you are chosen through a random drawing, the permit is $25.00. A bull elk hunting application was priced at $10.00 and if you are chosen through the random drawing, the permit is $50.00.

Five elk hunting permits and 400 black bear hunting permits were offered this year.

The 2023 Missouri black bear hunting season is Oct. 16-25. The elk archery hunting season is Oct. 21-29, and the elk firearms portion is Dec. 9-17.

Bear hunting in Missouri is limited to Missouri residents and restricts bear hunting to three designated areas of southern Missouri called Bear Management Zones. Hunters were required to apply for a specific Black Bear Management Zone. Permit and harvest quotas for the upcoming Oct. 18-27 bear season will be:

•  BMZ 1: Permit quota of 200 issued with a harvest quota of 20 bears.

•  BMZ 2: Permit quota of 150 issued with a harvest quota of 15 bears.

•  BMZ 3: Permit quota of 50 issued with a harvest quota of 5 bears.

Permit selection will be determined by July 1 through a random drawing of all eligible applicants.

MDC has designated a nine-day archery portion running Oct. 16-24 and a nine-day firearms portion running Dec. 11-19. The five permits will be for bull elk and will be valid for both portions. All permits will be assigned through a random drawing. Only Missouri residents are eligible to apply for and purchase elk-hunting permits in Missouri.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, an updated population estimate derived in 2019 determined that Missouri is home to about 540-840 black bears and the population is growing roughly 9% each year.

The department says Missouri has about 250 elk.