Find the answers to your questions related to hunting and fishing on City-owned parks and City-owned other properties.
- Can I hunt on City property?
- What do I need to qualify to bow hunt on City property?
- How do I register and when and where will bow hunting registration classes held?
- Where can I view the slides presented at the registration class?
- What is the cost to register to bow hunt on City property?
- How often do I have to register to bow hunt on City property?
- Are there any changes to the archery program this year?
- May I use a crossbow for hunting on City property?
- When can I bow hunt on City property?
- Where are the select City bow hunting properties?
- Can I hunt on Waters-Moss Memorial Wildlife Area?
- Where do I report the number of deer harvested on City property?
- What do I do if I hit a deer and it runs and falls outside of the bow hunting boundary?
- What other bow hunting rules and regulations do I need to follow?
- How many vehicle accidents involving deer are there in Columbia?
|For deer hunting regulations or questions, contact the MO Dept. of Conservation @ (573) 777-2072|
- Where can I go fishing?
- When can I fish?
- Where are the best areas for ADA fishing?
- When and how are the lakes stocked with fish?
- Do I need a fishing license?
- What methods can I use to fish?
- What are the daily limits and other regulations I need to follow?
- Where can I get information on the Winter Trout Fishing Program at Cosmo-Bethel Park?
- Where can I go ice fishing?
Can I hunt on City property?
The only hunting allowed on City property is through the deer bow hunting program on portions of select properties by qualified hunters that have registered with the City. (See also Park Rules and Regulations regarding hunting.)
This program is used to manage the increasing urban deer population and is limited to qualified hunters that meet all of the City’s requirements.
- Must at least 15 years of age to hunt without direct supervision of an adult.
- Register online by noon the day before the registration class AND attend a registration class.
- Fulfill the hunting requirements of the Department of Conservation, including obtaining the appropriate hunting license.
Register online by NOON the DAY PRIOR to the class AND attend one of the classes below. Sessions last about an hour.
Tuesday, August 21, 2018 @ 3:00pm
Tuesday, August 21, 2018 @ 6:00pm
Tuesday, August 28, 2018 @ 6:00pm
Registration and classes are free of charge.
Starting August 2010, all permits to hunt on City property are good for two years.
- Those that participated in the 2017 classes – permits will be good until January 15, 2019.
- Those that participate in the 2018 classes – permits will be good until January 15, 2020.
Permits have expired for all others who took classes in previous years.
No changes in 2017 or 2018.
Please note this is the only change for 2016:
- Starting in 2016, crossbows are now considered standard archery equipment and do not require any type of exemption form or permit.
No changes in 2015 .
Please note the following changes from 2014:
- A portion of Atkins Park was added to the program with a date restriction of November 1 to January 1.
- Smith Park was removed from the program, as the park is scheduled for development.
- Strawn Park has a date restriction of December 15 to January 15 due to phase one park development.
- The west boundary for the SC Fields Sewer Utility property was moved further east from the tree line to avoid private property intrusion.
Starting in 2016, crossbows are now considered standard archery equipment and do not require any type of exemption form or permit.
- September 15 – November 10, 2017 and November 2, 2017 – January 15, 2018, except City properties that have special restricted dates, such as Atkins Park (November 1 – January 15) and Strawn Park (December 15 – January 15).
- Beginning 1/2 hour before sunrise until 1/2 hour after sunset
Bow hunting by qualified hunters is allowed on portions of the properties below. Note: A new property is being considered for the 2018-2019 hunting season. This list will be updated after the changes are considered at the August 20, 2018 Council Meeting.
Yes. Even though Waters-Moss Memorial Wildlife Area is now managed by Columbia Parks and Recreation, this park is still under Missouri Department of Conservation hunting guidelines. Hunters do NOT need to register with the City in order to hunt here, but do need to have a hunting license and follow MDC hunting guidelines.
Where do I report the number of deer harvested on City property?
All registered bow hunters are to report the number of deer harvested on City property either online or by calling 882-8388, ext.225.
If it falls on private property, you should contact the property owner and request permission to retrieve the deer.
Please be advised that you are not allowed to re-shoot a deer on any City property that is not within the designated bow hunting boundaries. However, if a deer falls outside the bow hunting boundary, but still on park property (Grindstone Nature Area, MKT Nature Area and Gans Creek Recreation Area – #2, #6 and #7 above), hunters may retrieve the deer. While doing so, it is the hunter’s responsibility to fully demonstrate to everyone that they are not actively hunting outside the hunting boundaries. All of the Smith Park, Strawn Road, and Oakland Church Road properties (#1, #3 and #8 above) are in the hunting program and are surrounded by private property. You should contact the property owner and request permission to retrieve the deer if it falls on private property. For the sanitary landfill and utility sites, please call the phone numbers below to request permission to retrieve a deer outside of the hunting boundary:
- No hunting or field dressing shall be allowed within one hundred feet of private property.
- No hunting or field dressing shall be allowed within one hundred feet of a city trail.
- No four wheelers or other motorized vehicles shall be used in connection with hunting on city property.
- Tree stands shall be allowed subject to the following restrictions: Only portable tree stands may be used. The stands may be in place only for the period beginning 15 days before archery deer season and ending 15 days after archery deer season. Stands must be identified with the full name and address of the owner. Nails, screw-in steps and any other material that would damage the tree shall not be used. Minimal tree trimming in connection with tree stands shall be allowed only as expressly permitted by the department head in charge of the property or the department head’s designee.
- Hunters must have attended a pre-hunt meeting to obtain permission to hunt on designated city property. Each hunter who is allowed to hunt on city property shall be given a card to be displayed in the hunter’s vehicle and one to be carried by the hunter to show the hunter has permission to hunt on city property. A handout showing hunting areas, designated parking spaces and restricted areas on each site will be provided to each hunter.
- Each hunter allowed to hunt on city property shall be required to follow all Missouri Department of Conservation regulations, including obtaining the appropriate hunting license.
- Must be at least 15 year of age to hunt without direct supervision of an adult.
- Albino deer are off limits. Hunters caught with an albino deer shall be banned from the deer management program and possibly, issued a trespass warning. (See rare footage of albino deer on YouTube.
Concern over the number of vehicle accidents involving deer was one of the issues that spurred the initiation of City of Columbia’s Bow Hunting Program. The program would not only provide a venue for the archery hunting sport, but would also help reduce the urban deer population. Columbia’s program was instituted in 2004. Below is a chart showing the number of vehicle accidents involving deer in Columbia, Missouri according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Analysis of Deer Involvement in Missouri Traffic Crashes.
The Columbia Parks and Recreation Department will allow the trapping of furbearers on select properties for the purpose of population management and or infrastructure damage control (i.e. drainage pipes, etc.) as it relates to the protection of lakes and ponds on park properties. View the policy and application.
The nine lakes/ponds listed below are available for fishing in Columbia’s parks, six of which are stocked with fish by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Stocked lakes are indicated by an asterisk (*) following the lake name. Generally, the lakes are stocked with channel catfish, crappie and black bass. Fishing is not allowed in City-owned park lakes not listed below.
4500 Bethel Street
|Twin Lakes*||Twin Lakes Rec Area||
2500 Chapel Hill Rd.
|Lake of the Woods*||Lake of the Woods Rec Area
6700 St. Charles Rd.
|1615 Bus. Loop 70 W
(N of Antimi Complex)
(E side of boardwalk)
|Stephens Lake Park||
|2001 E. Broadway|
|Philips Lake*||Philips Park||
|5050 Bristol Lake Parkway|
|Nickell||L. A. Nickell Golf Course||
|1800 Parkside Dr.
(N of clubhouse)
|2900 E Nifong Blvd.|
|American Legion||American Legion Park||
|602 South Legion Lane|
Fishing is allowed year round and before the normal park hours at the seven lakes listed below. Fishers may start at 4:30am, provided they have their fishing license with them (if age 15-64) and are actively engaged in fishing. No activity other than fishing is allowed before the normal park opening hours. Fishing is allowed at the two lakes located on the golf courses (listed above) only during the days and times the golf courses are open for business.
- Cosmo-Bethel Lake at Cosmo-Bethel Park, 4500 Bethel Street
- Twin Lakes at Twin Lakes Rec Area, 2500 Chapel Hill Rd.
- Antimi Lake at Cosmo Park, 1615 Bus. Loop 70W (N of Antimi Sport Complex)
- Stephens Lake at Stephens Lake Park, 2001 E. Broadway
- Philips Lake at Philips Park, 5050 Bristol Lake Parkway
- Nifong Lake, Nifong Park, 2900 E. Nifong Park
- American Legion Lake at American Legion Park, 602 South Legion Lane
Located in central Columbia, Stephens Lake Park has an 11-acre lake stocked with fish by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Fishing is allowed in the lake on the east side of the boardwalk. The boardwalk at Stephens Lake Park has ADA railings for fishers, both in covered and uncovered areas.
There are two spots constructed especially for shoreline fishing located on the northeast and southeast portion of the lake, spurring off of the lake trail on either end of the dam.
Located in southwest Columbia, Twin Lakes Recreation Area has a 26-acre fishing lake stocked with fish by the Missouri Department of Conservation. The dock has ADA access and offers shade while fishing.
Located in southeast Columbia, Nifong Park has a 1.9 acre fishing pond. A bulbout was constructed on the east side of the lake to facilitate ADA fishing. Fishers can access the lake from the parking lot on Nifong or from the Walters-Boone County Historical Museum parking lot off Ponderosa Street.
Located in south Columbia, Cosmo-Bethel Park has a seven-acre lake stocked with fish by the Missouri Department of Conservation.Two concrete fishing bulbouts were added in 2015 when the lake trail was upgraded from gravel to concrete.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) stocks the six lakes (indicated above) with fish. They usually do not let anyone know when they stock the lakes. MDC will survey the number and type of fish located in each lake. Stocking is then based on this survey. Generally, the lakes are stocked with channel catfish, crappie and black bass.
For information on stocking of trout at Cosmo-Bethel Lake, see the Winter Trout Fishing Program web page.
Yes, if you are between the ages of 15 and 64. A Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) fishing license is not required for those who are 65 years and older and have a drivers license. Fishing licenses may be purchased at most sporting goods stores, including discount stores, such as Walmart and Kmart. Complete hunting and fishing regulations are also available at these locations. Licenses can also be purchased online from MDC.
Pole and line fishing only, with no more than 3 poles per person. Also – bullfrogs and green frogs may be taken according to statewide seasons and limits, but only by pole and line, hand, hand net or gig. No live bait may be taken from the lakes.
The following rules and regulations are highlights only. Complete fishing regulations may be obtained from the Missouri Department of Conservation by calling 573-882-9880.
Regulations for Antimi, Cosmo-Bethel, Lake of the Woods, Nifong, and Philips Lakes
No wading or swimming allowed. Boats are prohibited at Antimi, Cosmo-Bethel, and Lake of the Woods. Non-motorized boats and boats with electric/battery trolling motors are allowed at Philips Lake. All bass measuring between 12″ and 15″ must be released unharmed immediately after being caught. Bass smaller than 12″ may be kept. (See also – Cosmo-Bethel Winter Trout Program)
|Fish||Daily Limit||Length Limit|
|Black Bass||6||< 12″ & >15″
|All other fish combined||20||None|
Boats are prohibited at Antimi, Cosmo-Bethel, and Lake of the Woods. Non-motorized boats and boats with electric/battery trolling motors are allowed at Philips Lake.
Twin Lakes Regulations:
Fishing is allowed in the large (non-swimming) lake. Non-motorized boats are allowed. Boats must be carried in from the parking lots – there is no drive access. No wading or swimming permitted. All bass measuring less than 18″ must be released unharmed immediately after being caught.
|Fish||Daily Limit||Length Limit|
|Black Bass||2||18″ minimum|
|*All other fish combined||20||None|
Non-motorized boats permitted.
Stephens Lake Regulations:
Fishing is allowed on the east side of the boardwalk. Only non-motorized boats allowed. No wading or swimming permitted in the fishing area – east side of the boardwalk. All bass measuring less than 15″ and bluegill measuring less than 8″ must be released unharmed immediately after being caught.
|Fish||Daily Limit||Length Limit|
|Black Bass||2||15″ minimum|
|*All other fish combined||20||None|
Non-motorized boats permitted.
Poaching Number is 1-800-392-1111. Please call if violations are noticed, 24 hours a day.