Managed Muzzleloader Hunt Orientation 2021

This orientation is required for hunters drawn and participating in the managed muzzleloader deer hunt December 4-5, 2021.

Welcome to Mingo National Wildlife Refuge. Congratulations on being selected for the 2021 Muzzleloader Managed Deer Hunt.

Mingo National Wildlife Refuge is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, whose mission is, working with others, to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

By arriving for and participating in the managed muzzleloader deer hunt, you are agreeing that you have watched the video on this page or read and understand the information below.

One correction to the video - hunter ID tags are no longer required and will not be in your hunt packet.




Contact the refuge with any questions at 573-222-3589 Monday-Friday from 8:30 am-4:00 pm.

You will have received a map of the hunt area from the Missouri Department of Conservation. If you haven’t received a packet, let us know so we can make sure you have what you need.

Required Permits and Identification

When you come to the managed hunt, you will need the following items.

  • Managed Deer Hunting Permit on Person
  • Vehicle ID Card in Vehicle (Clearly visible)

No refuge entrance permits will be required for hunts in 2021.

The vehicle ID card and Hunter ID tag will be provided in the mailing from the Missouri Department of Conservation.  

Legal Weapons

Legal weapons for the hunt: Only weapons that are capable of firing only a single projectile per discharge are allowed. Legal weapons are 40 caliber or larger muzzleloaders or cap and ball firearms. It is ok to have muzzleloaders that are handguns or have multiple barrels. Scopes are allowed. Cap and ball firearms can’t be breach loading.

Required Hunter Attire

When dressing for your hunt, remember that at a minimum, a daylight fluorescent orange vest and hat that is visible from all sides is required, per state of Missouri requirements. Camouflage orange is not allowed.

Understanding the Refuge

This map below shows the overall area of Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, and highlights the managed hunt area. The refuge is a total of 21,592 acres, and over 9,400 acres are open for the managed hunt. This area includes most of Mingo’s Wilderness Area, and the area west of Ditch 6 is only hunted during managed hunts.

The refuge is comprised of a series of ditches that are indicated with a number on the map. Most ditches, numbered 1 through 6 and number 10, run north to south and spaced approximately 1 mile apart, beginning at Ditch 1 on the east refuge boundary and ending at Ditch 10 near the western edge of the boundary.

There is also a ditch that runs in a southwest direction along the southern edge of the refuge and is labeled Ditch 11. The hunt area is west of Ditch 4, which runs north to south in the center of the refuge, to the west boundary of the refuge, and north of Ditch 11.

Monopoly Marsh, which is a sanctuary area for waterfowl during the winter, is excluded from the hunt area.

There is also a special hunt area on the south side of the refuge and north of Ditch 11 that is reserved exclusively for hunters who rely on wheelchairs and were drawn to use that area. The boundary of this area is marked with purple flagging.

It is also important to be familiar with your location and stay off private lands bordering the hunt area. The area that is grayed out east of Ditch 4 is closed to the managed hunt. It is very important that you know your hunt area.

Entering the Refuge for the Managed Hunt

The main roads that you will use for the hunt are Bluff Road and the Ozark Highlands Auto Tour. Those roads are highlighted on the map below

Bluff Road, which allows two-way traffic, runs from State Highway 51 on the southeast side of the refuge to the Spillway on the south side of the refuge.

Ozark Highlands Auto Tour connects with Bluff Road at the spillway and is a one-way road. This road is used to access the western and northern side of the managed hunt area. Because it is one-way with drop offs on the side of the road, hunters may not turn around.

When you arrive at the refuge for the hunt, there is only one open entrance, on State Highway 51, approximately one and a half miles north of the town of Puxico. At this entrance, you will see a shop building and three kiosks with a fee box. This entrance will put you on Bluff Road. Bluff Road is not within the hunt area, but runs next to it.

All other entrances will be closed to entry for public safety, and there is no walk-in entry permitted.

During the Managed Hunt

During the days of the managed hunt, only registered muzzleloader hunters and attendants for hunters with disabilities using our blinds.

On the morning of the hunt, you can enter the refuge on Bluff Road 3 hours before legal shooting time, which is at 3:29 each morning. Legal shooting time on the days of the hunt will be 6:29 am to 5:14 pm You can enter the actual hunt area two hours before sunrise or one and a half hours before legal shooting time. This means you can enter the hunt area at 4:59 am each morning.


You must leave the refuge by one and a half hours after legal shooting time or two hours after sunset. So hunters need to exit the refuge by 6:44 pm.

Important Times December 4-5

Entry onto refuge3:29 am
Hunt area opens4:59 am
Legal shooting time begins  6:29 am
Sunrise6:59 am
Sunset4:44 pm
Legal shooting time ends5:14 pm
Deadline to exit refuge6:44 pm

Managed Hunt Area 

A few details about navigating the hunt area when you arrive - see map below. Once you’re able to enter the hunt area, you can access it from Bluff Road at the Ditch 5 and 11 road, Flatbanks Road, which also connects to Ditch 6, or by crossing the Spillway on to Ozark Highlands Auto Tour. Remember, Ozark Highlands Auto Tour is one-way, so if you choose to travel that way, you will not be able to return to Bluff Road except by exiting the refuge and driving back around to the entrance on State Highway 51. To exit, you will follow the Auto Tour to the north end of the refuge, approximately 12 miles from the Spillway and exit onto County Road 513 to Highway Z. If you want to return to the entrance, you will follow Highway Z east to Highway P east to State Highway 51 south. The map shows a Highway 51 exit, but we will be diverting you out in a different location. This route reduces disturbance to waterfowl and avoids an often flooded low water crossing.

If you are hunting in the special hunt area, you have been assigned a blind number and provided with a map of the area.


Tree Stands

When you’re planning your hunting location, you may take some time to scout locations on Friday, December 3th, the day before the hunt begins. Keep in mind that you’re allowed to set up one tree stand per hunter, and it may also be set up at that time. It must be removed by Sunday evening, December 5. Be sure to label it with your Conservation ID number. Do not attach the stand with nails or other materials that will damage the tree. The use of climbing spikes, flagging, and tacks is not allowed, and no cutting of trees or tree branches is allowed. 


You may use a boat to navigate your way to your hunt location. Boats must be removed from the refuge at the end of each hunt day. Use of gasoline motors anywhere on the refuge is not permitted. You may use trolling motors outside the wilderness area. Boats may not enter Monopoly Marsh, which is waterfowl sanctuary area. Personal flotation devices are required, and the watercraft must meet Missouri state requirements.

Other Rules

You are not allowed to collect anything from the refuge, including sheds, artifacts or other natural or historical objects.

Do not park your vehicle on roadways or field entrances, and do not block any gates or service roads.

Very importantly, do not attempt to wade across ditches or waterways.

We require you have and know how to use a compass, and strongly recommend a gps device and a fully charged cell phone. It is very easy to get turned around on the refuge's forested landscape.

Harvest Quota

As a reminder, the harvest quota for this hunt is two deer per hunter, only one of which can be antlered. When you harvest a deer, notch your permit, and then you can harvest a second deer. Attach the permit to the deer if you leave it at any time. Telecheck your harvest with the Missouri Department of Conservation by 10:00 pm on the day of the harvest. Be sure to know and follow all applicable Missouri state laws. Again, you will not have to check your harvested deer on the refuge.

Feral hogs can be taken until your deer permit is filled. There is no limit on hogs. Please let staff know if you observe or harvest hogs.

Enjoy the Hunt

Please be safe out there. Report violations or unsafe acts to our Law Enforcement Officer at 573-986-1327 or contact local law enforcement. Thank you for supporting refuges and wildlife.