Sen. Dave Schatz’s Legislative Column for Oct. 29, 2020

Enjoying Missouri’s Natural Resources

As the leaves begin to change and the days become shorter, my mind begins to drift to one of my favorite times of year — deer season. I cannot begin to convey how important this time of year is to me. From numerous first hunts with family members to the trophy bucks that got away, deer seasons of the past have provided me a lifetime of memories and an appreciation for our state’s natural resources. Missouri offers a plethora of opportunities for avid hunters to enjoy nature’s bounty. From our state’s gently flowing rivers and streams to its diverse terrain, the Show-Me State is an outdoorsman’s playground.

Hunting and fishing in Missouri aren’t just a hobbies, they are a way of life passed down from generation to generation. Moreover, Missouri’s hunting and fishing seasons have an enormous impact on our state’s bottom line. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), Missourians and out-of-state outdoorsmen spend more than $2.6 billion annually on wildlife recreation, which generates an economic impact of more than $4.7 billion to our state. In addition, the MDC reports deer hunting alone generates more than $1 billion of annual business activity, resulting in more than $95 million in state and local tax revenue each year. From where I stand, the revenue generated by hunting and fishing plays a vital role in our state’s ability to provide important services to all Missourians.

As deer hunters begin preparing for the upcoming firearms season, the MDC reminds hunters to be aware of its rules and regulations against baiting. The use of bait, including grain or other feed placed or scattered to attract deer, while hunting is illegal. These regulations are in place to keep deer from concentrating in small areas, limiting the potential of chronic wasting disease (CWD) transmission. Additional rules apply when hunting in our state’s CWD Management Zone. There are 30 counties in the management zone for the 2020-2021 deer seasons. Due to COVID-19 concerns, MDC has transitioned its mandatory CWD sampling to voluntary sampling this year. For more information on CWD regulations, please visit CWD is a fatal illness that affects deer, elk and other animals. This disease threatens Missouri’s deer herd and potentially could have a devastating effect on deer hunting in our state if not properly monitored.

The firearms portion of Missouri’s deer season runs Nov. 14 – 24 this year. For our younger deer hunters, Missouri’s firearms youth hunt is scheduled for Oct. 31 – Nov. 1 and Nov. 27 – 29. The youth hunts offer a wonderful opportunity for our young hunters to experience the thrill of their first hunt. For a full list of dates, limits and other requirements for Missouri’s various hunting seasons, please visit

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about fishing in our state. Whether it’s catching catfish, crappie, bluegill, trout or bass, our state’s rivers, streams and lakes are stocked full of these amazing creatures. Many of these fish may be caught year-round, but certain species can legally be pursued only during certain seasons. As an avid trout fisherman, I count the days to the start of trout season every year. For more information on Missouri’s fishing seasons, please visit

Our state is blessed with an abundance of natural resources that I believe few states can match. Whether it is fishing for trout at Bennet Spring State Park or hunting turkey on your own farm, Missouri’s diverse landscape makes it ideal for every outdoorsmen. However, it isn’t all about the thrill of the hunt. It’s also about the memories made as we experience cherished traditions. It is about passing down to our children and grandchildren the respect we have for our state’s natural resources. These activities are meant to be enjoyed by all Missourians, but it’s up to each of us to be respectful and follow MDC’s rules and regulations to ensure these experiences are preserved for generations to come.

As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Missouri Senate. If you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (573) 751-3678 or by email at — we are honored to serve you.