New Fishing, Hunting Permits to Save Mo. Seniors Money, Boost Federal Funding

By Jim Low, Missouri Dept. of Conservation

First posted on 10-01-2008

A one-time fee could let hunters and anglers coast into their outdoor Golden years and secure extra federal money for fish and wildlife.

A new set of permits created by the Missouri Conservation Commission at its September meeting will save money for Missourians approaching retirement age while ensuring that the Show-Me State takes full advantage of federal wildlife funding.

The commission created a new class of “forever” hunting and fishing permits. The idea is one of many that emerged from a year-long review of hunting and fishing permits and associated regulations by the Missouri Department of Conservation Regulations Committee.

“Missouri’s hunting and fishing permits and our rules about who can get them have been evolving for the better part of a century,” said Conservation Department Assistant Director Dave Erickson. “The system embodies a lot of experience and wisdom. But like any system that grows by adding on stuff year after year, it also has some inconsistencies that need to be addressed. We formed a special committee to do that last year, and they brought their findings – along with what I think are some fantastic recommendations for change – to the Conservation Commission.”

Among those recommendations is one to address unintended consequences of granting free hunting and fishing privileges to senior citizens. Since the 1970s, the Conservation Department has exempted Missouri residents 65 and older from the requirement to buy fishing and small-game hunting permits. The exemption was intended to help seniors living on fixed incomes. Seniors still had to buy permits for some activities, including trout fishing and hunting migratory birds, deer and turkey.

The agency always recognized it was giving up some revenue with the senior exemption. In recent years, however, a new dimension has been added to that effect. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service divides money from federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing goods among states to help manage game and fish. Each state’s allocation depends partly on how many paid license holders it has. Consequently, Missouri’s policy of not selling fishing and small-game hunting permits to seniors cuts into its share of that federal money.

Meanwhile, other states are finding ways to get senior citizens back on the permit-buying rolls, further cutting into Missouri’s share of federal money.

“Our share of the pot will continue to get smaller if we don’t do something similar to what other states are doing,” said Erickson.

The Regulations Committee formed a Permit Restructuring Task Group to find a way to maximize federal money without penalizing seniors. The solution they devised involves a new class of permits that are available to Missouri residents 60 and older. Those who buy “forever” permits never have to buy another permit to fish or hunt small game.

The Senior Fish Forever Permit is a life permit to take fish, frogs, mussels, clams, turtles, crayfish and live bait. The Senior Hunt Forever Permit entitles holders to hunt small game for life. A Senior Hunt and Fish Forever Permit combines the privileges available in the other two.

Resident Small Game Hunting Permits cost $10 per year, so a 60-year-old hunter who bought this permit every year until he turned 65, the current age when permits no longer are needed would spend $50. Resident Fishing Permits cost $12 a year, making the investment for the last five years of permit-buying $60. Resident Hunting and Fishing Permits cost $19, for a five-year investment of $95

By comparison, a Senior Hunt or Fish Forever permit costs $24 if purchased between the ages of 60 and 63, or $12 if purchased at age 64 or older. A Senior Hunt and Fish Forever Permit costs $48 for those age 60 through 63 or $24 at age 64 or older.

“We created a significant financial incentive to buy these permits,” said Erickson. “Hunters or anglers who buy one as soon as they are eligible save $26 or $36. Buying the Forever Hunt and Fish Permit at age 60 saves you $47.”

Erickson said the payoff for the Conservation Department is a substantial increase in federal fish and wildlife conservation money. By getting people on the permit-buying rolls, the Conservation Department is able to claim them for federal reimbursement purposes for up to 12 years.

“The earlier they buy, the more they save, and the longer we get to claim them,” said Erickson. “They spend money one time for a ‘forever’ permit, but we get to claim them several times.”

He said another reason the system will benefit Missouri is “churn.”

“Not every hunter or angler buys a permit every year,” he said. “People don’t quit being hunters or anglers just because they miss buying a permit, but we don’t get to claim them unless they buy a permit every year. When people buy one of these ‘forever’ permits, that puts them on the rolls for the duration. We don’t lose money on account of churn, even if they don’t hunt or fish some years.”

The Senior Fish Forever Permit does not include trout fishing privileges. Erickson said revenue from the sale of Trout Permits and daily trout tags sold in trout parks is needed to support the intensive hatchery-rearing programs that make trout fishing possible in Missouri. Similarly, the Senior Hunt Forever Permit does not include deer and turkey hunting or migratory bird hunting permits, which support intensive management efforts.

At the same time it approved these new permits, the Conservation Commission also dropped the discount on lifetime hunting and fishing permits for those 60 and older. At present, the price for a Resident Lifetime Fishing or Resident Small-Game Hunting permit is $35 for those 60 and older. The price for a Resident Lifetime Conservation Partner Permit, combining hunting and fishing privileges, is $70. The same privileges are available at lower cost under the “forever” permit system.

“Forever permits are the most economical lifetime permits ever available to Missourians,” said Erickson.

Senior hunt and fish forever permits will be available March 1, 2009.

-Jim Low-


I am 65,do i need a hunting license or not?????????

By William m. Pennell on September 25, 2014 – 11:07 pm

This article is from the freshare archives, and it is 6 years old. Here are two MDC web sites that should answer your fishing and hunting permit questions:

Hope this helps.

By Bob Korpella on April 09, 2014 – 10:33 am

I don’t think anyone over the age of 65 should have to buy hunting and fishing license. So does this apply for SENIORS OVER THE AGE 65 that they don’t or do have to buy license? I am confused as to whether they do or not.

By Mary Cook on April 08, 2014 – 9:45 pm

Do I need to pay for a fishing license? I am 60 years old

By Ana Otero on April 05, 2014 – 2:40 pm

I’ve been a Missouri for 79 years, have always been happy to purchase hunting and fishing license’s. I haven’t purchased either since turning 65. Have I been wrong?

do I need permits now. I am going fishing in April, will I need some kind of permit?

By mark a leuthauser on February 25, 2014 – 5:23 pm

I am a disable vietnam vet and just turned 63 in last Nov. I have a 8 year old grandson who wants me to teach him how to fish. Could you please tell me what it cost to get a fishing perment.

By Perry Newdigger on March 09, 2013 – 4:08 pm

I thought the age in Missouri is 65 when you no longer have to buy small game or fishing license?

By David O. Cliburn on June 13, 2012 – 8:10 am

I’m a Nebraska Disabled Veteran well over 65.

I do not need a permit for Nebraska Fishing and small game.

What are my options for fishing in Missouri?

Am I eligible for a free / reduced price permit for fishing?

Thank you,


The box below won’t let me enter the word six98

By Robert Feit on May 06, 2012 – 1:18 pm

My wife and I are both 65 and fish at Bennett Spring State Park in Lebanon, MO.  We live in KS We only trout fish and only in MO.  No one has ever told us we had options about a forever license.  What options do we actually have for trout fishing being out of state? We do not hunt. I understand we still need to pay the daily trout fee for the tag

By Ed Pinder on April 22, 2012 – 8:38 pm

this is the most confusing thing i have ever seen. How about making it less so.

By jerry southard on March 26, 2012 – 1:49 pm

It is very hard for me to understand why any United States citizen,especially veterans, over the age of 65 should have to purchase any permit for fishing,small game,including trout with limits accordingly per state.

One permit should be made available for “seniors (fish/small game hunt) forever” at no cost.

Considering the majority of this age group has been paying fees and supporting the fish and game for over fifty years.

By Mark Hawkins on March 15, 2012 – 11:33 pm

im 58 im disabled dont get out very what would be the cost for life time hunting and fishing   well31

By robert bowen on March 15, 2012 – 10:00 pm

We are 75 yrs. old.  Do we need a fishing license?  The above is confusing.

By D.L. on February 26, 2012 – 7:00 pm

I turn 65 in May of this year.  Do I have to buy a license for the entire year?  effort62

By Gary Givens on January 27, 2012 – 4:53 pm

I believe there should be one senior license to allow seniors 65 yrs of age or older to fish ,including trout, in any state in the USA.

Arkansas (state only) senior fishing license is a good example allowing both freshwater and trout fishing from one license.

By Mark Hawkins on January 23, 2012 – 12:04 pm

You may want to contact the Missouri Dept. of Conservation to ask about licensing requirements for particular situations. This link: has contact information. Local offices throughout the state can direct you to the answers. This page: has more information about permits.

By Robert J. Korpella on June 23, 2011 – 8:05 am

I will be 62 years of age on Sept.30,2011.Will i still need a fishing license?

By albert brewer on June 22, 2011 – 6:48 pm

So I turn 65 in september do I have to buy a permit for this year?

By Bud Marvin on June 17, 2011 – 6:18 pm

Seems that if you are 65 and live in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas or Oklahoma you should still qualify for senior benifits. After all non-residents do bring money to the local economy. Personally, I do not fish out of my home state nearly as often since I have to buy non-resident liscense being 65+.

By Doyl Moore on June 03, 2011 – 10:19 am

I find all this info very confusing – if you are 65 or older do you need a fishing license/permit or do you have to buy the forever permit – this is for the state of missouri?

By Pat on April 03, 2011 – 10:56 am

I was born in Dec of 45, do I need to buy a hunting & fishing license? Which one? This is confusing, what does the law say?

By Bob on October 18, 2010 – 9:51 am

I am a 75 year old male my spouse is also 75 do we have topurchase a fishing liscense for trout fishing & other than trout fishing

By Darold L Thorne on October 08, 2010 – 12:43 pm

Does the hunt and fish forever permit include the white river border permit also ?

By Dan Holmes on February 23, 2009 – 7:15pm on February 23, 2009 – 8:16 pm

OK, so the Conservation Dept. decided to not move forward with all those revised regulations. You can read about it here:

But here is a part of the article and it deals with the permits for people over age 65:

“The Commission also voiced support for ending advancement of the recommendation to establish a new senior “forever” permit. With this action, people over 65 years will continue to be able to hunt small game and fish for free in Missouri, with no permit required. As originally crafted, the “forever” permit seemed to confuse many citizens. The Department received considerable public comment on this particular issue.”

Leaving things as they are for now is the best thing. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they bring it all up again after the economy gets better.

By Art on December 22, 2008 – 12:54 pm


By ROY D. WILLOUGHBY on December 20, 2008 – 1:36 pm

The way I understand this is the 65 year old rule only pertains to the people born in 1944 and earlier..If born after 1944, when you turn 65 you still have to buy a permit. This also was a new change, if I`m correct…A question I have is: What is the difference between the Lifetime permit and the Forever permit. I notice the price is different, but can`t find what the Lifetime permit offers over the Forever permit. Please advise

By Bob Morgan on December 07, 2008 – 4:51 pm

@Larry Brown –

The way I understand this, Missouri is just cutting a break for 60-65 year old residents by offering a “lifetime” permit instead of having to purchase a license every year. But, however you do this, you don’t have to buy licenses anymore after age 65 except for trout, deer, turkey and duck hunting.

So, Larry, I think that at age 67 you don’t need to buy a small game hunting or a fishing license anymore. And that’s as it should be! Enjoy!

By Art on November 10, 2008 – 10:34 am

I’m still confused. I’m a 67 yr old resident. Do I need a small game hunting, and fishing liscens.

By Larry Brown on November 10, 2008 – 7:47 am

Does this permit cover White River Border permits also

By Don Norris on October 07, 2008 – 1:55 pm