Now, however, a new wave of change is breaking over the state, opening new short-term opportunities but posing some very serious threats to the long-term health of the Kansas deer herd. The changes (basically, they greatly increase the number of nonresident permits available) originated with landowners' concern about deer overpopulation and the effect this was having on crops. Factor in a dramatic increase in the number of car/deer collisions across the state and you have all the ingredients you need for a legislature to step in and become "game managers."
There is another element involved here, too, and that is the legislature's interest in keeping farmers happy. This interest was first expressed in bills focusing on the reduction of the deer population. Lately, the focus has shifted to allowing landowners to profit from the deer on their properties. As in other states, the legislature has been tinkering with the creation of a landowner program in Kansas that will allow farmers to sell permits issued directly to them.
Landowner programs have been very successful in some states. Properly structured, they incentivize farmers to look after their deer herds and manage them for long-term trophy production. Some of the bills that were discussed in Kansas, however, were more on the order of shoot-em-up bills that looked good on the surface, but would have been destructive over the long haul. One early bill, for example, would have allowed landowners two transferable permits for each 80 acres they owned, and both permits would have been good for any deer and........(continued)