Pearce tells us that, once again, Kansas was a great place for trophy whitetail and mule deer in the 2009 seasons, despite some weather issues during the firearms hunt that kept kill numbers down. Hunters took several non-typical mule deer and whitetails grossing in the 220-230 range, with some scoring over 250 inches. Many areas produced typicals grossing in the 170-180 range. Many of the best bucks were taken by nonresidents, who were in the state in record numbers last fall.
Overall, says Pearce, the news for the upcoming fall seasons is pretty good, thanks to great genetics, ample food and all the bucks that weren't killed in the weather-dampened 2009 firearms season. But before you start sending in your applications, Pearce cautions that there's a possible problem looming on the horizon: "Years of tightly-managed buck harvest went out the window when the Kansas legislature mandated a "y'all come" policy with radical increases in nonresident permits in 2008. Some units saw permit numbers more than double. Pretty much anyone who applied for whitetail permits drew last year with thousands of permits left over, which were then sold first-come, first-served.
"I interviewed several outfitters and experienced trophy hunters who worry that the increase in permit numbers could lead to over-harvest in many areas in coming years. And with little public land available and access becoming increasingly difficult, there's legitimate concern that the increased number of permits will lead to more problems with poaching, trespassing and road hunting.
"With so many permits floating around, trophy buck management is now squarely in the hands of landowners and/or outfitters. That's most easily done on large tracts of land where young bucks won't be heading to........(continued)