"This past season was one of Kansas' best top-end trophy seasons in years, producing a good number of whitetails grossing over 200 B & C, including several non-typicals grossing over 230 and an above-average number of typical whitetails and mule deer in the 170- to 180-class. However, hunting opportunities here may be about to take a sharp downturn. I say that because many hunters last season reported an overall lack of deer, especially does and mid-range bucks in the 130- to 150-class. Also, some of the hunters I talked to who took monster deer said they hunted harder than ever before finding anything decent. Most also reported numbers of mature does were down in most of the state's 19 deer management units. Numbers were also down at most wild game meat processors.
"While nothing can be proven yet, it's quite possible the lack of mid-range bucks is the result of extreme pressure put on the antlerless herds from 1999 to 2002. Record-length seasons and numbers of antlerless tags came at the insistence of the state legislature, hoping to lower crop-damage and deer/vehicle collisions...."
The bad news notwithstanding, Michaels says there are still areas in Kansas with good overall numbers of bucks coming on, usually where an outfitter or trophy-minded landowner has kept the pressure on does low. His warning simply means you should do a little extra homework before plunking down your money this year. Be sure you get a reference list and contact all of the 2002 and 2003 hunters, he says. Ask these hunters what the buck population was like when they hunted.
On another subject, Michaels says nonresidents need to be aware of a recent change in the state's transferable deer permit system. In years past, firearms permits drawn by landowners and sold to nonresident hunters, could be used anywhere within a specific management unit. Transferred........(continued)