"Yes, the drought is as bad as the news portrayed, but hunting has been fantastic for whitetail and mule deer. This year the drought probably helped because the deer were more concentrated around food and water and the corn was cut at least a month ahead of schedule. In fact, Kansas had probably its best-ever early muzzleloader season (opened September 17) with numerous great deer shot. I know of at least 10 that scored over 200, with four or five over 220...and those are just the ones I know about. That early season is always a great time to get on huge bucks because they're still in summer patterns and bachelor herds and aren't as spooky as later in the fall, when all hunting seasons are underway. (I've long said this season is greatly overlooked by trophy hunters!)
"So, will the high success rate on great bucks continue? Probably, because less cover makes them easier to find and food will probably be at a premium. Will the early success have a negative impact on the later general rifle season? Good question; time will tell.
"There are still problems looming in Kansas. We had some die-offs from EHD, and this was our second year of poor fawn production in some areas. The state continues to increase the number of permits being sold to nonresidents, and poaching continues to be a HUGE problem, possibly worse than in any other state when it comes to poaching trophy whitetails."
We've asked Pearce to give us a complete update when the season ends, in plenty of time for you to plan for next season. Stay tuned!