News Release

Riverways reminds visitors about fall firearms deer seasons

A deer buck stands in a grassy field along the edge of the woods. He looks off to the left.
Hunting is a longstanding Ozark tradition. While much of today's hunting is done for recreation, it was once crucial for settlers' survival.

Adobe Stock / Paul

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News Release Date: October 6, 2023

Contact: Dena Matteson, (573) 323-4814

VAN BUREN, Mo - Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR) reminds visitors that annual firearms deer season in Missouri is November 11 to 21. Hunting is allowed in most areas of the park in accordance with state and federal regulations, and everyone is encouraged to hunt or recreate safely and legally this deer season. 

In addition, new antlerless firearms seasons will apply to portions of the riverways this year. Shannon, Dent, and Texas counties will be included in antlerless firearms seasons October 6-8 and December 2-10. Annual youth firearms seasons are October 28-29 and November 24-26.   

Fall is a special time along the Current and Jacks Fork rivers. Visitors flock to the area to enjoy autumn colors, cooler temperatures, and a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities. Hunting is a longstanding tradition for local residents. It is also a popular sport for hunters who travel to the Ozarks' vast public lands in pursuit of their favorite game. 

As many head into the outdoors to enjoy their favorite fall pastimes over the next couple of weeks, the National Park Service (NPS) offers a few reminders when hunting or visiting during deer season:  

  • Hunter orange is required for all hunters. Other visitors are encouraged to wear hunter orange if hiking, horseback riding, or floating in backcountry areas of the park.     

  • All state hunting regulations are enforced within ONSR. Hunting regulations are established to encourage healthy wildlife populations and fair hunting opportunities amongst sportsmen. All hunters must comply with the Missouri Wildlife Code. Specific regulations for deer hunting can be found at  

  • Hunting is allowed in most areas of ONSR except for private property or within 300 yards of developed zones. Developed zones include buildings, administrative compounds, camping areas, hiking trails, and public use facilities. Hunting is not allowed within the former Big Spring State Park wildlife refuge. Be observant of signs posting additional restrictions.  

  • With other visitors enjoying the rivers during this time, hunters must clearly identify their target prior to shooting. 

  • Tree stands cannot be permanently affixed to trees or structures, must be labeled with owner’s name, address, and conservation number, and must be removed by February 15. Ground blinds are allowed but must be removed after each hunt. Game cameras are not allowed. 

  • The park remains fully open to other visitors during deer season.  Hunters are not allowed to restrict access to other visitors, or block roads or public areas in the park while hunting.   

  • State law prohibits hunting deer while in possession of a dog. Dogs running at large and off leash within the boundaries of ONSR will be collected by Park Rangers if they are not in reasonable proximity to their owner performing legal hunting activities. The owner will be contacted to retrieve the dog. If the dog is not wearing a name tag, or if the owner cannot be contacted, the dog may be taken to an animal shelter at the owner's expense. Persistent violations or unresponsive owners may result in citations.   

  • To report a suspected wildlife violation, please contact NPS Arrowhead Dispatch at (844) 460-3604.  

The following practices are in violation of the Missouri Wildlife Code and are strictly prohibited: 

  • Taking or attempting to take wildlife from or across a public roadway 

  • Pursuing wildlife by motor-driven air, land, or water conveyances 

  • Taking or attempting to take deer from motor-driven boats or from waters of the state 

  • Taking or attempting to take deer with dogs (in use or in possession) 

  • Taking or attempting to take deer with artificial light or night vision equipment (“spot lighting”) 

  • Taking or attempting to take deer with bait 

  • Failure to void (notch) deer permit or failure to attach permit to deer 

“While hunting is not allowed in most national parks, when Ozark National Scenic Riverways was established the importance of traditional activities like hunting was recognized and included in the park’s enabling legislation,” said Superintendent Jason Lott. “We welcome everyone to safely enjoy the park during firearms season, and we want everyone to be successful while hunting ethically and legally.” 


Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves 134 miles of the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork rivers, the surrounding resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people. 

Learn more at  Find us on Facebook @ozarkriverways and on Instagram @ozarkriverwaysnps.

About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 423+ national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Last updated: October 6, 2023

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P.O. Box 490
Van Buren, MO 63965


573 323-4236

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