MDC seeks public comment on proposed regulation changes to the Upper Mississippi CA in 2026

MDC IS SEEKING PUBLIC COMMENT on a proposed change to waterfowl hunting regulations for the restricted portion of the Upper Mississippi Conservation Area (UMCA) which, if adopted, would take effect during the 2026 hunting season.

MDC is proposing to end waterfowl blind drawings for the restricted portion and go to open pool waterfowl hunting starting in 2026

St. Louis – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is seeking public comment on a proposed change in waterfowl hunting regulations for the restricted portion of the Upper Mississippi Conservation Area (UMCA).  If adopted, the changes would take effect during the 2026 hunting season.

Currently, waterfowl hunting sites are awarded in the UMCA through a bi-annual random electronic drawing held on even numbered years in July, and by electronic drawings for relinquished sites on odd numbered years.  Under the proposed changes, this process would continue through the 2024 waterfowl hunting season, with the final draw occurring in July of 2024.  There would not be a reallocation drawing in 2025.

Starting with the 2026 waterfowl hunting season, the proposed changes call for the blind drawing system to be discontinued and the UMCA to transition to open pool hunting only.  The intent of this change is to make hunting on the UMCA consistent with other waterfowl hunting opportunities on rivers and lakes in Missouri.

As a result of this change, the restricted portion of the UMCA would then follow statewide regulations for open pool hunting regarding decoys and blinds. Boat blinds and temporary blinds would still be allowed.

“While moving to more ‘open’ hunting would discontinue a long-standing tradition, not restricting the location of hunters would expand waterfowl hunting opportunities in the UMCA,” said MDC Wildlife Section Chief Joel Porath.

“Beginning in 2026, all portions of the UMCA will be brought into compliance with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACOE) regulations,” Porath said.   The USACOE’s Title 36, Part 327 Rules and Regulations-327.20 Unauthorized structures, prohibits construction, placement, or existence of structures—including, non-portable hunting stands or blinds—on project lands or waters.

According to MDC, when the UMCA blind drawing system began in the 1950s there were 300 blinds from Alton to Clarksville (Pools, 24, 25, 26).  However, over the years the number of staked locations on which blinds can be built has decreased to less than a third of the original sites.  Most years, only one third to one half of those remaining sites are typically utilized for building permanent blinds.

“These changes would also simplify regulations in the UMCA and offer more flexibility for waterfowl hunters in the future,” Porath said.

As with all proposed changes to the Code of State Regulations, MDC is inviting public comments on this proposal through May 1, 2024.  To offer input, go to Public Commenting Opportunities | Missouri Department of Conservation (  For more information on the UMCA, go to

The Upper Mississippi Conservation Area includes federal lands along the Mississippi River north of St. Louis. These include Pools 24, 25, and 26 and consist of 87 separate tracts totaling 12,500 acres between Melvin Price Lock and Dam and LaGrange, Missouri.  These tracts are managed under a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the USACOE.

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