PRATT — If you are a deer hunter, a farmer with crops in the field, a motorist, or a person who enjoys watching nature, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) invites you to share your opinions on deer management with agency staff. To accommodate such input, the agency will conduct five public meetings across the state beginning Aug. 23 in Beloit and ending Sept. 8 in Lawrence.
The meetings will be held at the following times and locations:
• Aug. 23 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. — the Municipal Building’s Trail Room, 119 N. Hersey Ave. in Beloit;
• Aug. 24 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. — the Dillon Nature Center, 3002 East 30th Ave. in Hutchinson;
• Aug. 30 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. — Memorial Auditorium’s Alliance Room, 101 South Lincoln in Chanute;
• Sept. 6 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. — William Carpenter 4-H Building, 608 N. Fairground Road in Scott City; and
• Sept. 8 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. — Dole Institute of Politics’ Simon Media Room, 2350 Petefish Drive in Lawrence.
These meetings are open to the public and will include short presentations on the status of the deer herd and hunters in Kansas. The main part of each meeting will be an open forum for people to express their opinions.
KDWPT conducts an annual review of deer hunting regulations dealing with the hunting of deer, and this year that review has been expanded. Specifically, the department is seeking public comments on some potential changes in the deer hunting seasons that have been suggested by hunters, parents, legislators, and others. Season dates and timing often have complicated effects on the number of deer that hunters take and the participation level among hunter groups. For example, although it’s counter-intuitive, longer seasons may actually reduce hunter participation and reduce the number of deer that hunters take.
Some suggestions the department has been asked to review this year include the following:
• change the current nine-day, mid-September season for youth and people with disabilities to two four-day seasons with the first season starting on the Friday before Labor Day (first Monday in September) and the second season starting on the Friday before Columbus Day (second Monday in October). Each season would run four days and include two weekend days and one holiday;
• change the dates of the traditional 12-day firearm deer hunting season from the Wednesday after Thanksgiving to the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (thus including two days of holiday for many workers, in addition to four weekend days);
• change the beginning date of the white-tailed deer antlerless-only season from Jan. 1 to the Friday before Christmas and continue it for 17 days, thus including no fewer than six weekend days and both Christmas and New Year’s days;
• initiate a two-day, pre-rut white-tailed antlerless-only season for the last weekend in September;
• expand the season dates for bowhunting with the season beginning on the Tuesday after Labor Day and ending on Jan. 31. During the archery season, hunters would be prohibited from taking an antlered deer during any dates open for antlerless-only deer hunting with a firearm; and
• expand the muzzleloader season from the current 14 days in September to include an additional seven days in December following the 12-day firearms season.
If time permits after the public comment segment, there will be presentations on controlling deer damage to crops and items landowners should consider before they lease their lands for deer hunting. For more information about the Deer Information Nights contact Lloyd Fox, Big Game Program Coordinator, PO Box 1525, Emporia, KS 66801, 620-342-0658.