Landowners may phone toll-free number to help manage deer

PRATT -- Kansas is blessed with one of the nation?s finest deer herds, and thousands of hunters enjoy the thrill of deer hunting in the state each year. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that big game hunters in Kansas spend nearly $65 million annually on equipment and trip-related purchases, while all hunters spend more than $245 million a year in Kansas. Deer are also a popular species for wildlife watchers in the state, a group that contributes more than $125 million to the Kansas economy each year.

While deer and deer hunting are essential components to the Kansas economy, populations may reach tolerance levels for some people in some. Hunting is the most effective tool to reduce these deer populations. More specifically, the harvest of female white-tailed deer is essential. Deer are polygamous, so taking a buck does nothing to reduce the reproductive cycle because another buck will take its place in the breeding season. Taking a doe removes not only that animal, but its offspring -- commonly two fawns per year -- and the reproductive potential of those offspring.

The ability to effectively control deer relies on sufficient hunter access to private land, a particular concern here in Kansas. If a landowner does not allow hunting, even if the areas around their property do allow hunting, a refuge is created. Deer quickly learn where these safe havens are located. Deer in these specific areas will continue to multiply, regardless of the number of permits issued.

Landowners concerned about high deer populations on their property have several options:

  • allow hunting on their property;
  • harvest antlerless deer;
  • participate in the department's hunter referral program if finding hunters is a problem. Hunters are ready and willing to harvest antlerless deer on private property; and
  • apply for a big game damage control permit. These free permits allow the landowner to harvest a prescribed number of deer on his or her property outside of the normal season dates, if they experience significant crop damage. For more information on these programs, landowners may phone 1-888-497-8661 toll free.

This line is for deer population control information only. For all other inquiries, phone (620) 672-5911.