In 1957, the Missouri Conservation Commission approved a voluntary hunter safety course. These courses focused only on firearms safety and handling.
Even with the early voluntary safety courses, hunting-related incidents continued to increase. The actions of some hunters were causing landowners and non-hunters to become upset with all hunters. Responding to public demand and a need for better training, the safety course was revised and expanded to focus on more than gun safety. The revised program included hunter responsibilities, hunter ethics, and the hunter’s role in conservation.
Concerned with increasing numbers of hunting incidents which peaked in 1986, the Missouri Conservation Commission passed a regulation in 1987 requiring mandatory hunter education certification starting on January 1, 1988.