Conservation Regulations

Area Specific Regulations

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August A. Busch Jr. Memorial Wetlands at Four Rivers Conservation Area

--- Note --- The information below reflects regulations for most activities on this conservation area but does not contain regulations for all possible uses. For more information on area regulations consult the Wildlife Code (http://sos.mo.gov/adrules/csr/current/3csr/3csr.asp) or the phone number listed for this area in the online Conservation Atlas.

  • Chapter 11 of the Wildlife Code applies to this area.(more)

Area General Provisions(more)

  • Collecting wild animals (including invertebrates) and their unprocessed parts is prohibited except under the provisions of a valid Wildlife Collector’s Permit, or as otherwise authorized in the Wildlife Code.
  • Commercial use and vending are prohibited on department areas.
  • Fires are permitted only in designated camping areas.
  • Guiding for pay is prohibited on department areas.
  • In addition to the rules of the Wildlife Code, federal, state and local laws also apply on department lands.
  • Soil disturbance and digging, including the digging of roots, is prohibited on all conservation areas.
  • Unless specifically authorized, the following activities are prohibited: swimming, sailboarding, skateboarding, entry on areas closed to the public, removal of water, rock collecting, planting, ranging of horses and other livestock, caving, rock climbing, rappelling, paint-balling, scuba diving, and water skiing.
  • Use of fireworks is prohibited.
  • Waste containers may be used only for disposal of garbage, trash, refuse or rubbish generated on department areas.
  • Wild plants, plant products, vegetation, and mushrooms (more)
    • Collecting or possessing wild plants and their unprocessed parts is prohibited except under the provisions of a valid Letter of Authorization for Plant Collecting, or as otherwise authorized in the Wildlife Code.
    • Nuts, berries, fruits, edible wild greens and mushrooms may be taken only for personal consumption.
    • Vegetation, including trees, may not be cut or destroyed. The only exception is that willows (Salicaceae spp.) may be cut for use in constructing on-site blinds.

Area Hours(more)

  • Open for public use from 4 a.m. To 10 p.m.; hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, dog training, launching and landing boats is allowed 24 hours a day on areas where these activities are permitted.
  • Parking or storing watercraft or commercial vehicles on department areas during closed hours is prohibited

Bullfrogs and green frogs(more)

  • Taking of bullfrogs and green frogs is allowed.
    • Bullfrogs and green frogs may be taken during the statewide season only by hand, handnet, atlatl, gig, bow, snagging, snaring, grabbing, pole and line , a twenty-two (.22) caliber or smaller rimfire rifle or pistol, pellet gun, or crossbow and only during dates and times when those waters are open to fishing or hunting. An artificial light may be used. Season: Sunset June 30 through Oct. 31. Daily limit 8.

Camping(more)

  • Camping is allowed on the area as indicated.
    • Camping is allowed anytime in designated camping areas. These may or may not have defined campsites. Seasonal closures and restrictions may apply.
    • Camping is limited to a period of 14 consecutive days in any 30-day period. Personal property must be removed at the end of the 14-day period. Unless a special use permit is obtained, total camping days on all department lands are limited to 30 days within one calendar year.
    • Groups of more than 10 people must obtain a special use permit prior to camping. Contact the area manager at the phone number listed for this area in the Online Conservation Atlas.
    • Quiet hours are in effect from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily. Visitors who are not occupying a campsite are required to leave the campground by 10 p.m.

Decoys and blinds(more)

  • Permitted but must be disassembled and removed daily.
    • Blinds may be constructed on-site only from willows (Salicaceae spp.).

Field Trials(more)

  • Field trials are prohibited.

Fishing general provisions and seasons(more)

  • Fishing permitted (see fishing regulations table below).

Fishing methods(more)

  • Gig, bow, atlatl, or crossbow may be used for carp, buffalo, suckers, and gar in ponds and lakes during statewide seasons.
  • Gig, bow, atlatl, snagging, snaring or grabbing may be used to take fish that are not game fish or endangered species in streams during the statewide seasons. (more)
  • On lakes and ponds fish may be taken only with pole and line and not more than three poles may be used by one person at any time. Snagging, snaring or grabbing of fish is prohibited.
  • Seining or trapping live bait.
    • Seining or trapping live bait is permitted in streams in accordance with statewide regulations.(more)
    • Seining or trapping live bait, including tadpoles, is prohibited in lakes and ponds.
  • The following regulations apply in streams: no more than three (3) unlabeled poles may be used; trotlines, throwlines, limb lines, bank lines and jug lines may be used but no more than 33 hooks may be used at any time; hooks on trotlines must be staged 2 feet apart; hooks and lines must be attended every 24 hours or removed. Unanchored jug lines must be personally attended at all times.(more)

Hunting, General provisions, seasons and restrictions(more)

  • Hunting is permitted. Special seasons, methods, and limits may apply (see hunting regulations table below).
    • Nontoxic shot is required for all hunting with a shotgun on this area. Use or possession of lead shot is prohibited.
    • Special deer hunting regulations apply (see hunting regulations table below).
    • Special waterfowl hunting regulations apply (see hunting regulations table below).(more)
      • A daily waterfowl hunting drawing is held.(more)
      • A daily waterfowl hunting tag is required. The tag must be accurately completed and returned immediately after hunting.
      • A waterfowl refuge exists on designated segments of the area during certain times of the year. Special restrictions apply.
      • The area closed to waterfowl hunting on Dec. 25.
    • Use or possession of lead shot is prohibited

Pets and hunting dogs(more)

  • Pets and hunting dogs are permitted but must be on a leash or confined at all time. Hunting dogs may be used off the leash and unconfined for hunting and training for the purposes of chasing, locating, tracking or retrieving game. A valid small game hunting permit is required to train dogs in pursuit of wildlife.

Target Shooting and Ranges

  • Target shooting is not allowed on the area.

Trapping(more)

  • Trapping is allowed only with special use permit. Contact the area manager at the phone number listed for this area in the Online Conservation Atlas.

Tree stands(more)

  • Only portable tree stands are allowed from Sept. 1 through Jan. 31. Unattended stands must be plainly labeled on a durable material with the full name and address, or Conservation Number, of the owner and be removed from the area before Feb. 1. Use of nails, screw-in steps, and any material or method that would damage the tree is prohibited.

Use of boats and motors.(more)

  • Boats, including sailboats, may be used on lakes and ponds designated as open to boats. Boats may not be left unattended overnight.
    • Float tubes may only be used for authorized fishing or hunting activities.
    • Only electric motors are permitted on lakes and ponds of less than 70 acres.
    • Outboard motors in excess of 10 horsepower must be operated at slow, no-wake speed.
    • State laws regarding the operation, registration, and required safety equipment also apply to watercraft being operated on waters under the control of the Department.
    • Use of Houseboats and personal watercraft is prohibited.

Vehicles, Bicycles, Equestrian Use(more)

  • Bicycles
    • No bicycling opportunity except on public roadways.
  • Horses and horseback riding
    • No horseback riding opportunities exist on this area except on public roadways.
  • Vehicles
    • Vehicles are only permitted on public roadways and in parking lots.
      • State laws regarding the operation, registration and required equipment also apply to the operation of motor vehicles on areas open to vehicular traffic that are under the control of the department.
      • The speed limit on department lands is 45 miles per hour, except as otherwise posted.

X Regulation Tables-Limit Information

  • All fish that are not released unharmed immediately after being caught are included in an angler’s daily limit.
  • Anglers may not possess any fish that is less than the specified minimum length limit on the waters, banks or area where the length limit applies.
  • Anglers may not possess more than the daily limit of any species of fish on the waters or banks of any body of water where the limit applies.
  • The fishing regulations table below specifies special regulations for a conservation area or for individually named lakes on a conservation area. Anglers must follow these regulations when fishing at these locations. When fishing on more than one conservation area or individually named lake on a conservation area in the same day, anglers may keep a total of no more than six (6) black bass; four (4) catfish (channel, blue, and flathead combined); thirty (30) crappie; and twenty (20) of all other fish combined, regardless of how many different conservation areas or individually named lakes are fished. All fish kept on conservation areas and individually named lakes are included in an angler’s statewide daily limit.
  • The table below specifies special regulations for hunting on this conservation area. These regulations must be followed while hunting on this area. Regardless of how many different locations are hunted on the same day (public or private land), no more than the statewide daily limit for any species may be taken
  • When fishing on different bodies of water during the same day (public lakes, streams, conservation areas, areas managed under cooperative agreement, etc.), specified restrictions for individual bodies of waters or areas must be followed. However, no more than the statewide daily limit for any species may be taken for all waters or areas combined.

Fishing Regulations:

Lake/Stream Species Location Details Season Dates Length Limit Daily Limit Notes
Lake  Crappie  Four Rivers Reservoir, Unit 3 Lake, Pit 1, Pit 2, Pit 3, and all other lakes and ponds on the area  all year  None  30   
Lake  Catfish - Channel, Blue, and Flathead Combined  Four Rivers Reservoir, Unit 3 Lake, Pit 1, Pit 2, Pit 3, and all other lakes and ponds on the area  all year  None   
Lake  Black Bass - Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted Bass Combined  Four Rivers Reservoir, Unit 3 Lake, Pit 1, Pit 2, Pit 3, and all other lakes and ponds on the area  all year  Release 12"-15"   
Lake  Bass - Striped, White, Yellow, and their Hybrids  Four Rivers Reservoir, Unit 3 Lake, Pit 1, Pit 2, Pit 3, and all other lakes and ponds on the area  all year  No more than 4 longer than 18"  15  Must be included in the 20 fish limit for all other species combined. 
Lake  All Other Species Combined  Four Rivers Reservoir, Unit 3 Lake, Pit 1, Pit 2, Pit 3, and all other lakes and ponds on the area  all year  Statewide limits apply  Statewide limits, but not to exceed 20 total fish  Daily limit for Striped, White, Yellow bass and their hybrids must be included in this limit. 
Specia  All Species  All area lakes, ponds, and streams  October 15 through January 31      Refuge areas exist on the area where access is prohibited during specified times of the year. Consult the area brochure for more information. 
Stream  Walleye and Sauger combined  Muddy Creek, Osage River, Marmaton River, Little Osage River, Bates County Drainage Ditch, and all other streams on the area  all year  15" minimum  From Feb 20 through Apr 14 walleye and sauger can be taken and possessed only between one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset in the unimpounded portions of all streams except the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. 
Stream  Sturgeon - Shovelnose  Muddy Creek, Osage River, Marmaton River, Little Osage River, Bates County Drainage Ditch, and all other streams on the area  all year  30" maximum  10  Release if more than 30'' from tip of snout to fork of tail. 
Stream  Paddlefish  Muddy Creek, Osage River, Marmaton River, Little Osage River, Bates County Drainage Ditch, and all other streams on the area  Mar 15 to Apr 30  34" minimum  Measure from eye to fork of tail. No person shall continue to snag, snare or grab for any species after taking a daily limit of 2 paddlefish. 
Stream  Goggle-eye (Ozark Bass, Rock Bass and Shadow Bass) and Warmouth combined  Muddy Creek, Osage River, Marmaton River, Little Osage River, Bates County Drainage Ditch, and all other streams on the area  all year  None  15   
Stream  Crappie  Muddy Creek, Osage River, Marmaton River, Little Osage River, Bates County Drainage Ditch, and all other streams on the area  all year  None  30   
Stream  Catfish - Flathead  Muddy Creek, Osage River, Marmaton River, Little Osage River, Bates County Drainage Ditch, and all other streams on the area  all year  None   
Stream  Catfish - Channel  Muddy Creek, Osage River, Marmaton River, Little Osage River, Bates County Drainage Ditch, and all other streams on the area  all year  None  10   
Stream  Catfish - Blue  Muddy Creek, Osage River, Marmaton River, Little Osage River, Bates County Drainage Ditch, and all other streams on the area  all year  Release 26"- 34"  10 but may include no more than 2 greater than 34”   
Stream  Carp - Bighead, Common, Goldfish, Grass, and Silver  Muddy Creek, Osage River, Marmaton River, Little Osage River, Bates County Drainage Ditch, and all other streams on the area  all year  None  No limit   
Stream  Bass - Striped, White, Yellow, and their Hybrids  Muddy Creek, Osage River, Marmaton River, Little Osage River, Bates County Drainage Ditch, and all other streams on the area  all year  No more than 4 over 18"  15   
Stream  All Other Species Combined-Excluding endangered species and game fish  Muddy Creek, Osage River, Marmaton River, Little Osage River, Bates County Drainage Ditch, and all other streams on the area  Snagging, snaring, grabbing: Mar 15 through May 15 and Sep 15 through Jan 31. All other legal methods: all year  None  50 total fish, but only 20 by gigging, atlatl, longbow, snagging, snaring, or grabbing  Fish may be taken by gigging, atlatl, or longbow from sunrise to midnight. No person shall continue to snag, snare or grab for any species after taking a daily limit of 2 paddlefish. 
Stream  Black Bass - Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted Bass Combined  Muddy Creek, Osage River, Marmaton River, Little Osage River, Bates County Drainage Ditch, and all other streams on the area  Fourth Saturday in May to the last day of February  12" minimum   

Hunting Regulations:

Species Qualifier Season Dates Limits Deer Regulations (Applies to Deer only) Notes
Coyote    See Chapter 7 of the Wildlife Code  No Limit    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as waterfowl hunting areas from October 15 to January 31. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details.  
Crow    Nov 1 through Mar 3  No Limit    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as waterfowl hunting areas from October 15 to January 31. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details.  
Dove    Sep 1 through Nov 9  15    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as waterfowl hunting areas from October 15 to January 31. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details.  
Furbearers    Nov 15 through Jan 31  No Limit    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as waterfowl hunting areas from October 15 to January 31. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details.  
Groundhog    The day following the prescribed spring turkey hunting season through Dec 15  No Limit    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as waterfowl hunting areas from October 15 to January 31. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details.  
Quail  Youth  Last full weekend of Oct    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as waterfowl hunting areas from October 15 to January 31. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details.  
Quail    Nov 1 through Jan 15    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as waterfowl hunting areas from October 15 to January 31. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details.  
Rabbit    Oct 1 through Feb 15  Daily limit 6 including no more than 2 swamp rabbits.    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as waterfowl hunting areas from October 15 to January 31. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details.  
Squirrel    Fourth Saturday in May through Feb 15  10    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as waterfowl hunting areas from October 15 to January 31. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details.  
Woodcock - American    Oct 15 through Nov 28    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as waterfowl hunting areas from October 15 to January 31. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details.  
Turkey  Spring Youth  April 11 through April 12, 2015  See Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet    Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details.  
Turkey  Fall Archery  Sep 15 through Jan 15 excluding the dates of the Nov portion of the firearms deer season  See Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as waterfowl hunting areas from October 15 to January 31. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details.  
Turkey  Fall Firearms  Oct 1 through Oct 31  See Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as waterfowl hunting areas from October 15 to January 31. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details.  
Turkey  Spring Firearms  April 20 through May 10, 2015  See Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet    Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details.  
Rails - Sora and Virginia    Sep 1 through Nov 9  25    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as waterfowl hunting areas from October 15 to January 31. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details.  
Snipe - Common    Sep 1 through Dec 16    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as waterfowl hunting areas from October 15 to January 31. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details.  
Teal  Early Teal Season  Sep 12, 2015, through Sep 27, 2015    No morning drawing. Self-registration is required. Refuge areas exist on the area where access and/or hunting is prohibited during specified times of the year. Consult the area brochure for more information.  
All Waterfowl  Youth  Oct 31, 2015 through Nov 1, 2015  Bag limits for ducks, geese, and coot are the same as during the regular waterfowl season.    No morning drawing. Self-registration is required. 
Coot    Nov 7, 2015 through Jan 5, 2016  15    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as Waterfowl Hunting Only areas from October 15 to January 31. Daily drawing required to hunt in units 1 and 2 during the Middle Zone Duck Season. All other waterfowl hunters must self-register and check out daily at designated hunter record boxes prior to and immediately after completing the hunt. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details. 
Ducks    Nov 7, 2015 through Jan 5, 2016  Daily limit of 6 ducks including no more than 4 mallards (no more than 2 females), 3 wood ducks, 3 scaup, 2 redheads, 2 hooded mergansers, 2 canvasback, 1 black duck, 2 pintail, or 1 mottled duck.    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as Waterfowl Hunting Only areas from October 15 to January 31. Daily drawing required to hunt in units 1 and 2 during the Middle Zone Duck Season. All other waterfowl hunters must self-register and check out daily at designated hunter record boxes prior to and immediately after completing the hunt. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details. 
Goose - Blue, Snow, and Ross  Light Goose Conservation Order  Feb 1, 2015 through Apr 30, 2015  No Limit    No morning drawing. Self-registration is required. Refuge areas exist on the area where access and/or hunting is prohibited during specified times of the year. Consult the area brochure for more information.  
Goose - Blue, Snow, and Ross    Oct 31, 2015 through Jan 31, 2016  20    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as waterfowl hunting areas from October 15 to January 31. Daily drawing required to hunt in units 1 and 2 during the Middle Zone Duck Season. All waterfowl hunters must preregister and check out daily at designated hunter record boxes prior to and immediately after completing the hunt. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details. 
Goose - Canada and Brant  Early Goose Season  Oct 3, 2015 through Oct 11, 2015  3 Canada and Brant in Aggregate    No morning drawing. Self-registration is required. Refuge areas exist on the area where access and/or hunting is prohibited during specified times of the year. Consult the area brochure for more information.  
Goose - Canada and Brant    Nov 26, 2015 through Jan 31, 2016  3 Canada and Brant in Aggregate    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as waterfowl hunting areas from October 15 to January 31. Daily drawing required to hunt in units 1 and 2 during the Middle Zone Duck Season. All waterfowl hunters must preregister and check out daily at designated hunter record boxes prior to and immediately after completing the hunt. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details. 
Goose - White-Fronted    Nov 7, 2015 through Jan 31, 2016    In units 1 and 2 only waterfowl may be hunted in areas designated as waterfowl hunting areas from October 15 to January 31. Daily drawing required to hunt in units 1 and 2 during the Middle Zone Duck Season. All waterfowl hunters must preregister and check out daily at designated hunter record boxes prior to and immediately after completing the hunt. Refuge areas exist on the area where access/hunting is limited or prohibited. Consult area brochures for details.