Deer hunting trends shifting in Kansas

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – It’s the busy season for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. It’s deer rutting season, and duck, geese, and pheasant season started recently.

Hunting trends are shifting across the country and Kansas is no different.

Right now it’s deer season for bow hunters, rifle season comes in December. Since the department made a change to allow crossbow hunting, more people are switching to bows from rifles. That means game wardens are busy earlier in the year.

“This is also the time of the year we get a number of complaints that people are doing wrong things, so we’re doing a lot of follow up investigations in whatever those might be, if it’s somebody killing too many deer, or hunting on property without permission, or maybe hunting at night illegally,” said Dan Melson, operations captain in Northeast Kansas for the Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism.

Hunting numbers are declining across the country, and some of the numbers in Kansas are showing that trend.

Each year Kansas residents can buy one deer tag, but the number of purchased tags has gone down by more than 26,000 since 2015.

To make more money, because the department is fee-funded and doesn’t get money from the state, people from out of state are allowed to buy a tag. That number has gone up in the same time period.

“Every year is a reanalysis of where the deer population is, how many deer permits we sell, how successful hunters are,” said Melson. “We do think that maybe we’re seeing some rebounding in the deer population specifically whitetail in the state.”

Melson said if the amount of deer get too high, the number of doe tags and hunting days could see an increase.

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