Bronzebacks and bushytails are legal May 26

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Photos courtesy MDC.

Jim Low, JEFFERSON CITY–Anglers generally are as disinterested in the opening dates for hunting seasons as hunters are in fishing-season dates, but the fourth Saturday in May is a red-letter day for both groups.

That is opening day for squirrel hunting season and catch-and-keep fishing for black bass in Ozark streams.

Hunters may pursue gray and fox squirrels from May 26 through Feb. 15, 2013, with rifles, shotguns or archery equipment. The aggregate bag limit is 10 squirrels and the possession limit is 20.

“Aggregate” means hunters may harvest any combination of fox and gray squirrels so long as they do not exceed 10 squirrels total in one day. If hunters bag a daily limit two days in a row, they will have a possession limit of 20 squirrels. After that, they must eat or give away some squirrels before going hunting again in order to stay within the possession limit.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, known collectively as black bass, may be caught and possessed year ‘round from impoundments and areas other than the Ozarks. These other areas are defined as the Mississippi river, all waters north of the south bank of the Missouri River, the St. Francis River downstream from Wappapello Dam and streams in that portion of southeast Missouri bounded by a line from Cape Girardeau following Missouri highways 74 and 25, U.S. highways 60, 67 and 160, and the west bank of the Little Black River to the Arkansas state line.

The daily limit on black bass in most of the state’s waters is six, with a possession limit of 12. However, many lakes and streams are subject to special daily and length limits. These are listed in the 2012 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations.  The booklet is available from permit vendors, Missouri Department of Conservation offices and online at The 2012 Summary of Missouri Hunting and Trapping Regulations is available at