River in Lisbon, Missouri
 
Photo of landsacape.

MISSOURI LAW AFFECTING LIONS

Help ensure a future for mountain lions in Missouri


In the box below you will find all the governing state statutes, mountain lion legal status, state laws, information about the state legislature, initiative and referendum processes, and the state wildlife agency, mountain lion management plans, mountain lion hunting laws, depredation laws, and other regulations as appropriate.

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  • The status of puma concolor in Missouri.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

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  • Ecosystems and habitat in Missouri.

  • Cougar science and research in Missouri.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!

Missouri Cougar Laws and Regulations


Generally, treatment of wildlife in the State of Missouri is governed by the Missouri Revised Statutes - the state’s collection of all current laws passed by its legislature. Since our summary below may not be completely up to date, you should be sure to review the most current law for the State of Missouri.

You can check the statutes directly at a state-managed website
Unfortunately, these statutes are not searchable.

 

Missouri’s regulations regarding mountain lions and other wild animals can be found in Title 3 – Department of Conservation of the Missouri Code of State Regulations – the state’s collection of all its government agencies’ rules. The regulations are set by the Missouri Conservation Commission.

The Legislature

The Missouri General Assembly is the state’s bicameral law-making body. The lower chamber – the House of Representatives - consists of 163 members who serve 2-year terms. The Republican Party has controlled the Missouri House of Representatives since 2003. The upper chamber – the Senate - is made up of 34 members who serve 4-year terms. The Republican Party has controlled the Missouri Senate since 2001. Missouri state legislators are limited to 8 years in each chamber. The state maintains this webpage to help you find your member of the Missouri House of Representatives and this webpage to help you find your state senator.

The Missouri Constitution requires the General Assembly to convene on the first Wednesday after the first Monday in January of each year. The General Assembly must adjourn each year at midnight on May 30 if not sooner. The General Assembly may call itself into special sessions by submitting a petition signed by three-fourths of the members of each chamber to the Missouri Secretary of State. The governor may also call special sessions of the legislature. Special sessions are limited to 30 calendar days.


Mountain Lion Law in the State of Missouri

In Missouri's legal code, Puma concolor is generally referred to as "mountain lion."

Species Status

The species is classified as a furbearing animal furbearing animal, along with badger, beaver, black bear, bobcat, coyote, gray fox, long-tailed weasel, mink, muskrat, nutria, opossum, raccoon, red fox, river otter, spotted skunk, and striped skunk.

Laws pertaining to Missouri's endangered species Missouri Department of Conservation to designate any species as endangered alongside those listed as endangered or threatened by the United States Department of the Interior. However, mountain lions are currently not listed as an endangered species in the State of Missouri.

State Law

Generally, treatment of wildlife in the State of Missouri is governed by the Missouri Revised Statutes - the state's collection of all current laws passed by its legislature. Since our summary below may not be completely up to date, you should be sure to review the most current law for the State of Missouri.

You can check the statutes directly at a state-managed website here. Unfortunately, these statutes are not searchable.

State Regulation

Missouri's regulations regarding mountain lions and other wild animals can be found in Title 3 of the - Department of Conservation of the Missouri Code of State Regulations - the state's collection of all its government agencies' rules. The regulations are set by the Missouri Conservation Commission.

Missouri Conservation Commission

The Missouri Conservation Commission was the world's first non-political, science-based conservation agency overseeing natural resources when it was created in 1936. The commission consists of four members who serve 6-year terms. No more than two No more than two commissioners may be from the same political party. Commissioners are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Missouri Senate. The commission is responsible for appointing the director of the Missouri Department of Conservation, setting the department's policies, and formulating the department's budget proposals.

Missouri Department of Conservation

The Missouri Department of Conservation is an executive branch department in the Missouri state government. The department is overseen by the Missouri Conservation Commission may detain any individual when "there is reasonable grounds to believe thatperson has committed or is in the process of committing a violation of the laws or rules and regulations pertaining to wildlife and forestry resources of the state" before contacting law enforcement officers. State law compels all Missouri peace officers and prosecuting attorneys to "aid diligently" in the enforcement of the state's wildlife and forestry laws.

Missouri-Department-of-Conservation-Regions-by-Missouri-Department-of-Conservation.

Management Plan

Missouri does not appear to have a mountain lion management plan.

Hunting Law

Hunting of mountain lions is not allowed in the State of Missouri. The state has not established seasons not established seasons for mountain lion hunting.

Depredation and Public Safety Policy

Under of Missouri's Wildlife Code Title 3 CSR 10-4.130, a mountain lion may be killed without permission from the Missouri Department of Conservation if it is attacking livestock or domestic animals, or threatening human safety. The killing must be immediately reported to a MDC agent, and the entire carcass must be surrendered to the agent within 24 hours.

Trapping

Mountain lions may not be trapped for fur in Missouri. The state has not established seasons for mountain lion trapping.

Poaching

Poaching law in the State of Missouri provides some protection of mountain lions in law, but only as a deterrent. It is rare for penalties to be sufficiently harsh to keep poachers from poaching again. Missouri law Missouri law codifies the hunting of any wildlife during a closed season as a misdemeanor. A separate law classifies the offense as a class A misdemeanor. Missouri may punish a class A misdemeanorby imprisonment for up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000.

Road Mortalities

The Missouri Department of Transportation does not keep records of mountain lions killed on the State's roads.

Captivity

Missouri regulates the private possession of mountain lions. Mountain lions and mountain lion hybrids are listed as Class II Wildlife, along with black bears and black bear hybrids, copperheads, cottonmouths, pygmy rattlesnakes, timber rattlesnakes, and gray wolves and gray wolf hybrids. Any individual - other than zoos, circuses, and researchers - wishing to possess a mountain lion must obtain a Class II Wildlife Breeder Permit. The regulations do not appear to state specific application requirements, but a Class II Wildlife Breeder Permit costs $250 and can only be issued by the (http://mdc.mo.gov/">Missouri Department of Conservation office in Jefferson City. A captive mountain lion must be caged in an enclosure with an area of at least 200 square feet, with the minimum area increasing by 50% for each additional lion. Cages must be constructed of steel chain link fencing no smaller that 11 gauge, be at least 8 feet high, and must have a roof. The cage must be well-braced and securely fastened to the ground or floor. The cage must be surrounded by a secondary barrier made of wire mesh no smaller than 11.5 gauge with openings no larger than 9 square inches. The secondary barrier must be placed at least 3 feet from the cage and be at least 6 feet tall. A wet or dry moat approved by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums may be substituted for the secondary barrier. The captive lion must be provided with clean drinking water "in adequate amounts" at all times. Captive animals must be given food appropriate for their species, age, and health daily or as often as their condition requires. The lion's cage must also contain shelter to protect the lion from harsh weather and the sun. Class II Wildlife Breeders must also keep records of how each animal was obtained and how each animal left their possession - including death - on forms provided by the MDC. Breeders must also maintain state and federal health records on each animal in their possession.

Missouri does not appear to allow rehabilitation of sick or injured mountain lions. The state's regulations state that permits are issued for the rehabilitation of "wildlife of Missouri origin."

Research

Mountain lion research is usually conducted in collaboration with the Missouri Department of Conservation. Researchers must obtain a Wildlife Collector's Permit for Scientific Purposes. There do not appear to be specific application requirements, but the permit will only be issued to "an authorized representative of a university, college, school, incorporated city, state or federal agency, publicly-owned zoo, or wildlife or research organization or other qualified individual; provided that the collection shall be used exclusively for scientific, educational or museum purposes." Wildlife Collector's Permits are valid for one year from January 1. Researchers must submit a report to the MDC within 30 days of the expiration of their permit, but the regulations do not appear to state what must be included in the report. Published studies can be found on the Missouri Department of Conservation's website.



Last Update: July 15, 2014

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Environmental Scorecard

League of Conservation Voters

The League of Conservation Voters' scorecard considers the State Legislature's environmental records since 1971. It quantifies the environmental votes of each individual legislator — an important first step in considering accountability — and provides critical qualitative assessments as well. The scorecard will help you to know your legislator before you write a letter in support of cougars.

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Becoming a Mountain Lion Activist

There are lots of opportunities to take action!

Are you new to mountain lion activism? You want to change your local environment to improve it for cougars... but you don't know how to start. You may feel like you are all alone... but it takes just one person to change the attitudes and lifestyles of hundreds of others. You don't need to belong to a group. It doesn't take special skills or superhuman abilities. You just need to care enough about cougars to want to help them survive. You've already done the hard part, now let us help you with the next step.



Click here to open a new window and visit the agency's website...

Missouri Department of Conservation.

Commonly abbreviated as: MDC

Bob Ziehmer, Director

Main Office:
2901 W. Truman Blvd.
Jefferson City, MO 65109
Bob.Ziehmer@mdc.mo.gov
(573) 751-4115


Wildlife Management Coordinator
Alan Leary and Evan Grusenmeyer
PO Box 180
2901 W. Truman Blvd.
Jefferson City, MO 65109
mountain.lion@mdc.mo.gov
(573) 522-4115 ext 3693

Please write to the director and express your concern for mountain lions in Missouri.

Thank the agency when they take steps to protect our state's cougars. When they fall short of expectations, politely ask for policy reform and more officer training.


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