From Missouri Department of Conservation
-- A recent decision by the Missouri Conservation Commission extended permit exemptions to all qualifying disabled veterans and former prisoners of war, regardless of where they live.
The Commission made the change at its meeting March 19 in Kansas City.
Previously, only Missouri residents who were honorably discharged military veterans with service-related disabilities of 60 percent or more and Missourians who were prisoners of war during military service did not have to purchase resident small-game hunting or fishing permits.
Now the exemption applies to veterans from other states who meet the same standards.
The Commission also changed rules to allow qualifying nonresident veterans to purchase resident deer and turkey hunting permits. This represents a substantial savings.
The action was stimulated by an earlier presentation from William White and the Board of Directors of Camp Hope in Farmington. Camp Hope's mission is to allow disabled American veterans, regardless of state of origin, to enjoy the outdoors by participating in outdoor activities.
"It is an expression of our gratitude to disabled veterans and former POWs," said Commission Chairman William F. "Chip" McGeehan. "We think it is an important gesture to let veterans know how deeply grateful we are for their service and sacrifice.
"My father, Lt. Col. William F. McGeehan, was shot down over Hamburg Germany, July 25, 1943 while on a bombing run. He was liberated from a prison camp in April 1945. This action by the Conservation Commission is very close to my heart, as I know what my father went through in the hands of his captors."
The Commission previously granted military personnel from other states the privilege of buying resident hunting and fishing permits if they are stationed and living in Missouri.
While the exemption puts resident and nonresident disabled veterans and former POWs on an equal footing, the change is not an exemption from all permit requirements. They still must purchase Missouri deer and turkey hunting, migratory bird hunting and trapping permits if they want to engage in those activities.
Exempt veterans born on or after Jan. 1, 1967, must have successfully completed an approved hunter education class. Likewise, they still need daily tags to fish in trout parks and must have a trout permit to keep trout caught in trout-management areas.
Exempt veterans must carry a certified statement of eligibility from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs when purchasing permits or exercising permit privileges.
For more information, contact the Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180.