Kansas is blessed with a great whitetail herd, as well as a substantial mule deer herd. One of the primary reasons for this is habitat. And the habitat is there because of many private landowners who have long taken into account the requirements and needs of wildlife. Yes, rules and regulations regarding bag limits and seasons have had a hand in Kansas’ deer program as well.
Was a time when white-tailed deer were not as common as they are today. Actually in some areas they were non-existent! I well remember as a youngster reading about the first deer hunts in Kansas. Later while working as a wildlife biologist in Texas, doing deer research and management programs I passed on a position with Kansas’ wildlife department to work with their deer program. I have frequently since questioned my doing so. I stayed in Texas. Little did I know what changes would occur in Kansas!
Because of the state’s excellent wildlife habitat, concerned and wildlife management minded landowners/land managers and hunters who care, the state has become a deer hunting “Mecca”!
Heading into the 2014 hunting season...gazing into my camoed-crystal ball..the prognosis for deer hunters is excellent! Fawn survival rates 3 to 7 years ago in many areas of the state were very decent. This year there will again be a very decent number of mature bucks in the herd.
When is the best time to take a mature buck with extremely large antlers? The first legal hunting opportunity! I’m not a bowhunter, but bow season is an ideal time to do so! I prefer hunting with things that goes “BANG!”. To me the finest aroma in the world is the smell of freshly burnt gunpowder from a gun shot while hunting!
Try to take that big buck you scouted during the late summer on opening day while he is still in his late summer pattern. Once the rut starts, which indeed is a fun time to hunt, that big buck you watched all summer long may be miles from where you saw him in July and August!
Beyond scouting from a distance, so not to alert the buck as to how and where you’re going to hunt him and hunting opening day of the earliest hunting season, I am a firm believer of hunting all day long. Hunt especially during the middle of the day when the moon is nearly full and full, and, when essentially there is no moon. These seem to be natural times for big bucks to move during mid-day. And likely too, we’ve taught deer most of us hunt early morning and late afternoon. Another reason to hunt mid-day!
Never look for excuses not to go hunting; like it’s too hot, it’s too windy, it’s raining, it’s too cold and many other reasons. Go Hunt! Deer are individuals, no different than you or I. They have different likes and dislikes. The buck you’re after just may be totally different than the ones you’ve hunted in the past!
Yes, Toto, this really is Kansas!!