PRATT -- The Kansas Wildlife & Parks Commission has approved regulations governing this fall^s deer, turkey, elk, and antelope hunting seasons.
The action, taken at a public hearing in Tonganoxie, culminated several months of public discourse by commissioners and department staff, especially regarding deer season provisions.
Kansas hunters will see many similarities, and a few changes, from previous deer seasons. Among the changes for the 2001 deer season are the following:
* Resident hunters will be able to purchase Whitetail Either Sex permits at any time through the season, rather than applying by mid-July, as required in previous years. Resident firearms hunters interested in hunting mule deer will still need to apply for Any Deer permits by July 13.
* Firearms permits for white-tailed deer may be used during both the regular firearms season and the muzzleloader-only season, with equipment legal for those seasons.
* Hunters may purchase up to four deer game tags (white-tailed antlerless-only) without having to obtain a deer permit as a prerequisite to that purchase. The game tags are valid for use statewide, except that no more than two of the tags are valid in deer management units 17 and 18. As in the past, game tags are not valid for use on department-owned or managed wildlife areas, but may be used on private property, including Walk-In Hunting Areas.
* A preference point system was established for Any Deer firearms permits, ensuring more equitable distribution of mule deer hunting opportunities.
As in recent years, hunters will be limited to no more than one antlered deer permit per hunter. Application deadline is May 31 for all categories of nonresident deer permits, and July 13 for resident Any Deer firearms and muzzleloader permits. All other types of deer permits may be purchased through Jan. 12, 2002.
Season dates are Sept. 15 - 28 for early muzzleloader season, Sept. 29 - 30 for youth and disabled hunters season, Oct. 1 - Nov. 27 and Dec. 10 - 31 for archery hunting, Nov. 28 - Dec. 9 for firearms hunting, and Jan. 1 - 13 for the extended whitetail antlerless-only season.
Commissioners approved a fall turkey season which, unlike previous years, combines archery and firearms seasons. Two-hundred permits are authorized for Unit 1 (northwest Kansas; application deadline Aug. 10). Unit 2 was split into Unit 2 (northeast and southeast Kansas) and a new Unit 3 (southcentral Kansas). An unlimited number of permits are available in units 2 and 3, and a second tag will be available in Unit 2. Either archery or firearms equipment may be used during the fall turkey season, which runs from Oct. 1 - Nov. 27 and Dec. 11 - 31.
Antelope hunting units were increased in size from the 2000 season, and antelope units now coincide with boundaries for deer management units 2, 17, and 18. A muzzleloader season was added to the traditional archery and firearms antelope seasons. A total of 140 firearms permits and 38 muzzleloader permits are authorized for the three units. Application deadline for firearms and muzzleloader permits is June 8. Unlimited archery permits are available, and archery permits may be purchased through Sept. 29. Season dates are Sept. 22 - 30 for archery hunting, Oct. 5 - 8 for firearms hunting, and Oct. 1 - 8 for muzzleloader hunting.
Elk hunting unit boundaries were altered to coincide with deer management units 8, 8a (Fort Riley), and 9. Elk hunters will continue to be allowed to hunt during any open season with equipment legal for that season. An unlimited number of Hunt-Own-Land antlerless-only elk permits were authorized during any open season off Fort Riley. Season dates off Fort Riley are Oct. 1 - Nov. 27 and Dec. 10 - 31 for archery hunters; Sept. 1 - 30 for muzzleloader hunters; and Nov. 28 - Dec. 9 and Jan. 1 - March 15 for firearms hunters. On Fort Riley, the seasons would again be split into three segments -- Oct. 1 - 31, Nov. 1 - 30, and Dec. 1 - 31.