Sixteen non-residential hunters in Missouri were recently cited for violating the state’s wildlife code after hunting 471 squirrels in a two-day period. Although it is currently open season, the state limits the number of squirrels a hunter can capture and possess.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) said it had some of the squirrels as evidence awaiting adjudication.
According to an MDC Facebook post Tuesday, locals spotted nonresidential squirrel hunters “in and around the Present River Conservation Area” — 29,000 acres of Ozark forest commonly used for hunting, wildlife viewing, fishing, etc.
The group had been hunting for two days and, in that time, harvested 471 squirrels; however, this number exceeded the legal catch limit at 151.
“Missouri regulations allow for the daily take of 10 squirrels and a possession limit of two daily limits for a total of no more than 20 squirrels in possession per person,” the MDC said in the post.
“Missouri regulations also require all game to be separate and identifiable to each hunter,” the post continued.
A graphic photo attached to the post showed the squirrels gathered in small piles, but there appear to be no tags or labels identifying which piles belong to which of the hunters.
The open season for squirrel hunting in Missouri began in May and ends on February 15. To participate, hunters must have the proper permits and adhere to state-approved hunting methods. Accepted methods for hunting small game and squirrel hunting include crossbows, guns, and cage traps.
Traps must be properly labeled, checked daily, and have an opening of 144 square inches or less.
Of course, hunters must also abide by state possession limits.
MDC stated that “multiple” hunters had been arrested, although it did not give an exact number. All 16 hunters were cited for “possession of excess squirrels,” and the 151 excess squirrels were also taken and are being held as evidence pending adjudication.
Locals are encouraged to call MPC and report any potential wildlife law violations.
“Thank you concerned citizens of the track. Absolutely disgusting,” said a Facebook commenter. “[H]MDC Ope threw the book at them.”
“Excellent job,” added the Missouri Association of Conservation Agents.
“Possession and daily limits are in place to help keep wildlife populations at harvestable levels so that everyone has the opportunity now and in the future to pursue wildlife,” they continued. “Without them, localized or even statewide wildlife populations would certainly plummet.”