Regulations considered to accommodate changes in deer statutes
INDEPENDENCE – After two years of discussion and work, major changes in the Kansas deer permit/management program are taking form. The Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission will workshop regulations regarding deer hunting and permit allocation at a Jan. 10 meeting in Independence. New regulations are being written to accommodate changes in deer-related statutes that were passed by the 2007 Legislature.

Changes for the 2008 deer season include the following:

  • resident whitetail either-sex permits will be valid statewide during any season with equipment legal for that season;
  • resident either-species, either-sex archery permits will be valid statewide;
  • transferable nonresident permits will not be available;
  • a big game or turkey permits for residents younger than 16 will be half-price;
  • special Hunt-Own-Land deer permits may be issued to a landowner/tenant’s siblings and lineal family members and their spouses, regardless of residency, one permit per 80 acres owned or operated;
  • a formula will determine the total number of nonresident deer permits issued annually, based on demand and established biological adjustment factors;
  • nonresident deer hunters will be restricted to two adjacent deer management units;
  • nonresident hunters will be required to select one season (archery, muzzleloader, or firearms) at the time of application; and
  • nonresident hunters applying for whitetail either-sex archery or muzzleloader permits in designated units may also apply for one of a limited number of mule deer stamps, which will cost $100 (if successful in both drawings, the applicant would be issued a permit that allows the take of either a white-tailed deer or a mule deer in that unit).

The process began during the 2005 legislative session when the House Parks, Wildlife, and Tourism Committee asked the department to review its deer-related statutes and bring back recommendations on how they could be condensed and simplified. The department assembled a 10-member task force to begin the review. The task force began looking at statues, as well as regulations, and realized that a major overhaul was in order. The deer permitting system in Kansas had evolved into a complicated and confusing system serving a wide variety of stakeholders.

Draft recommendations were presented to the House committee at the beginning the 2006 legislative session, but the task force requested more time to gain public input before making final recommendations. The committee concurred. The department then began a thorough campaign to hear from as many stakeholders as possible. Input was accepted through a web log (blog), public commission meetings, email, telephone, direct mail surveys, and 14 public meetings conducted across the state. In September 2006, the task force went back to the drawing board and began developing final recommendations based on this public input.

As these regulations are being reviewed, additional issues, including changes to equipment restrictions such as allowing crossbows during the firearms deer season and allowing scopes on muzzleloaders, will also be considered. The Jan. 10 meeting of the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission will be conducted at Memorial Hall in Independence, 410 N. Penn Ave. The afternoon session will begin at 1:30 p.m. and recess for supper at 5 p.m., then reconvene at 7 p.m. For more information, contact the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, 620-672-5911.