Big Game Information
Big game hunting in Kansas is a relatively new heritage because nearly all big game species were extirpated from the state by 1900. Prior to settlement, the prairies of Kansas were home to tremendous herds of bison, elk, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope. In the timbered areas of eastern Kansas, white-tailed deer were abundant. The first modern deer season was held in 1965, and permits were limited. Today, white-tailed deer thrive statewide and permits for residents are sold across the counter. Mule deer are still common in western Kansas, though permits to hunt them are limited. Pronghorn antelope are limited to far-western counties where large areas of native prairie are still found, and residents can hunt them if they receive a coveted permit in the annual drawing. Similarly, elk are hunted through very limited permits. The only free-ranging elk herd in Kansas is found on the Fort Riley Military Reservation in Riley County. Hunters can receive a Kansas Trophy Certificate if the antlers or horns from a deer or antelope they kill achieves a minimum score. The department also maintains an unofficial Top 20 list for deer and antelope.
The first case of CWD was found in a captive bull elk in Harper County in 2001. As of 25 February 2019, CWD has been detected in 216 cervids - one captive elk and 215 wild, free-ranging deer in Deer Management Units 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 16, 17, 18. These include 24 mule deer,190 white-tailed deer, 1 captive elk, and 1 unknown deer species. Surveillance efforts began in 1996 and, to date, 27,117 cervids have been sampled and tested for CWD. Hunters and other wildlife enthusiasts can avoid the human-assisted spread of CWD by not transporting a live or dead deer or elk from areas where CWD occurs. HUNTERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO USE ELECTRONIC DEER CHECK-IN, BONE-OUT DEER, AND LEAVE CARCASSES IN THE COUNTIES WERE DEER WERE TAKEN. MOVING CARCASSES MOVES PRIONS! There is currently no known treatment or eradication method for CWD, so preventing the introduction of the the disease into new areas is of utmost importance to the health of local deer herds. Baiting and feeding deer tend to concentrate deer at small point on the landscape, often with the trails leading to the feeding sites resembling the wheel spokes of a bicycle. Anytime animals are concentrated at this type of "hub," the likelihood of disease transmission increases in a deer herd. More alarming, the transferring of CWD prions to healthy deer is not the only concern. Diseases such as bovine tuberculosis, foot rot, and fungal infections; and a host of detrimental parasites, including exotic lice, flukes, mange mites, lungworms, and barberpole worms are transmitted more efficiently when deer are concentrated in a small area, especially around feeding stations.
After the 2015-2016 seasons, prevalence was calculated to be between 10-20% with 95% confidence in bucks 2.5 years-old and older in the Northwest Zone. KDWPT will once again be sampling hunter-harvested deer taken in the Northwest Zone during the 2019-2020 hunting seasons. Currently, the overall trend is showing increasing prevalence and eastward spread.
Another major concern is the potential for spread of CWD from captive cervid farms into the wild cervid population. Once a disease gets into a wild population, it is virtually impossible eradicate. The only thing that can be done is control the spread of the disease at great expense. KDWPT recommends that every captive cervid operator enroll in the voluntary CWD monitoring program administered by the Kansas Department of Agriculture's Animal Health Division. The sooner diseases such as CWD can be detected in captives, the sooner control efforts can begin and possibly prevent the spread of disease to wild populations of the state. CWD is only one of many diseases that could go undetected in an unmonitored captive cervid herd. Bovine tuberculosis and Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), for example, are serious diseases that could seriously damage not only populations of deer and an annual 350 million-dollar hunting economy, but could also threaten the 6 billion-dollar Kansas cattle industry via quarantines, loss of accreditation, and loss of global export.
IMPORTANT: Help Control the Spread of CWD and CWD Prions in Kansas!!
1. Use Electronic Deer Check-In.
2. Remove the musculature (deboning) from the carcass and leave the carcass, of the deer/elk you harvest, at the kill site. Make sure to complete Step 1 first.
3. Do not transport a carcass from counties known to have CWD (see map above) to other counties. Use electronic deer check-in: https://programs.ksoutdoors.com/Programs/Electronic-Deer-Check-in
4. If Electronic Deer Check-In is not an option, consider taking or sending the boned-out carcass to your county landfill for disposal.
5. Keep the permit with the meat.
For more information about CWD, visit the CWD Alliance website at http://cwd-info.org/.
Click HERE for information concerning CWD Regulations for Resident and Non-Resident Hunters
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information about CWD and humans.
Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance has links to state regulations regarding CWD carcass
American Veterinary Medical Association has information about precautions hunters and anyone who spends time outdoors should take to protect themselves from potential risks.
- Certificates are issued for racks or horns taken in Kansas which meet minimum scores as listed below. Hunter must possess a valid permit and trophy must have been taken by legal means during the legal open season.
- Scoring must be made by a certified Pope & Young, Boone & Crockett or Kansas measurer after a 60 day waiting period. Those scoring in the Kansas top 20 must be verified by a certified Pope & Young or Boone & Crockett measure.
- To keep records consistent with national lists, any scores listed with Boone & Crockett or Pope and Young Club's will be included in state records.
- The Chief of the Information and Education Section retains the right to reject any applications submitted to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.
- Any rack that has been altered will automatically be disqualified.