Kansas has 300,000 acres of public lands and more than 1 million acres of private land giving hunters a great opportunity to hunt.
The state is recognized as the top 3 states for pheasant and quail hunting. It has large diversity of species from east to west, north to south; ranging between migratory birds, small game and big game animals.
Diversity of animals, varied landscapes and climatic variation thus attract huge number of hunters from around the world every year. By following some rules and regulations you can easily access the state’s hunting spots.
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1. What Species To Hunt In Kansas
Two deer species are found in Kansas: the mule deer and the white-tailed deer. Primarily high plains, smoky hills and Red hills regions are the habitats of mule deer.
Mule deer are less abundant as compared to white-tailed deer. White-tailed deer increased dramatically in the last 20 years in Kansas. The mule deer and the white-tailed deer has many similarities.
They often consume corn, milo, soybeans and alfalfa in addition to the native plants.
Deer hunting season opens on fall season in every hunting zone of the state but differ little bit in case of archery, muzzleloader and firearms season.
Kansas has a population of about 300 elk in Fort Riley, a U. S. Army base in northeast Kansas. Elk are shot by lucky hunters who draw one of the few permits awarded each year.
Elk were native to Kansas, and they once thrived on the grasslands. By the late 1800, they had almost become extinct because of habitat loss and unlimited hunting. But they were restored later on at Fort Riley
The antelope is a unique species to North America. There is a good number of antelopes in Kansas, but they are primarily restricted to the West.
Hunting of antelope is restricted to three management units that include Thomas, Wallace, Hamilton, Kearny, Morton, Ford. Not every hunter is allowed or given permit of firearms and muzzleloader to hunt this species.
It is limited to resident hunters only and about 170 permits are authorized every year.
This is another big game animal. They reach the highest densities in the southeast of Kansas. A large bobcat weighs about 30 pounds, both male and female bobcat have a distinct white spot on the back of each ear.
They are carnivorous and can hunt with keen senses of sight and hearing. Bobcats are hunted on fall season.
Coyotes are the small game animals to hunt in Kansas. They are not legally classified as furbearers in the state. Coyotes hunting season starts in February and goes on till march.
Coyote population extends over the entire state and it is considered as destructive animal, so anyone interested can hunt without any restriction.
The best time for hunting coyotes is in the early morning or late evening hours.
Kansas is top ranked among the U.S for upland hunting. The pheasant is the most popular species to be hunted in Kansas.
Generally, the most number of pheasant is found in the northwest and Southwest. Many public lands have good places to hunt.
Pheasant hunting season starts in mid-November and goes on till January.
1.7 Bobwhite Quail
Kansas is one of the top states for bobwhite quail hunting. The Melvern Wildlife Area, one of the public lands, gives abundance of quail hunting opportunity.
The southeast and northeast regions of Kansas are considered the best for quail habitat. Soybean, wheat, corn fields are excellent places to locate birds.
2. Where To Hunt
2.1 Public Lands
Kansas has 300000 acres of state-owned lands. Kansas thus ranks last in the nation in terms of publicly owned land. Public lands include Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge, Melvern Wildlife Area, Mcpherson Valley Wetlands Area.
Some restrictions must be followed while hunting in public lands. The commercial guiding of hunters is not allowed on public lands owned or managed by Kansas Department of Wildlife, Park and Tourism. Camping and target shooting is allowed only on designated areas.
Over 99% of BLM-managed lands are open for Hunting, fishing or shooting opportunities.
2.2 Private Lands
Kansas has 97% privately owned lands. Hunting on private land in Kansas is a privilege and should be treated as such. Kansas law wants all hunters to have landowners’ permission before hunting on private lands.
Hunters must require written permission from the landowner if the land is posted with ‘Hunting with written permission only’.
3. Hunting Seasons
The KWPT commission approves hunting season every year. There may be some variations regarding season. Hunters must follow departmental instruction.
- As part of the split, the sandhill crane hunting season for game bird and big game runs from October to December in the Western zone and November to January in the central zone.
- Waterfowl season starts in September but date varies zone and unit wise.
- For veteran and active military personnel high plains units’ season for waterfowl starts in last week of April voted by the commission. On low plain zones hunting season starts in 1st week of October.
- Canada goose season begins in October and goes till February. Snow geese have a long season into early season.
- Deer hunting season starts from September for youth/disability followed by muzzleloader and archery season until December 31.
- Elk season begins with a muzzleloader season from 1st week of September followed by archery season from mid-September and runs through December.
- Antelope season begins with archery season from mid- September to October followed by muzzleloader and firearm season September to October.
- Small game season for fur-bearers lasts from November to February. Cottontail and jackrabbit hunting have no barrier, can be hunted year-round.
- Squirrel hunting has long season starts from June and goes on till February next.
4. Hunter Safety Education
A hunter in Kansas must undertake hunter education born on or after July 1, 1957.
A student under the age of 11 may take the hunter education course but he won’t be certified. For certification student will be required to take the course again after turning 11.
But for hunting, students must turn age 12 and must take supervision.
All hunters turning age 16 must have completed a Hunter Education Course before purchasing first hunting license. All hunters aged 16 to 28 and aged 12 to 16 hunting alone must carry proof of hunter education while hunting.
4.1 Hunter Education Program in School
KDWPT offers a unique program to any school in Kansas called The Hunter Education in Our Schools Program. This program is free of charge and is available in schools as an optional course offering opportunity to obtain hunter education certification.
This program provides students with basic outdoor skills that can be applied throughout their lives.
4.2 Traditional Course
Kansas hunter education offers traditional course which teaches hunters to be ethical, safe and knowledgeable. The course covers hunter responsibility, history of firearms, bowhunting, basic gun safety, wildlife management, hunting regulation etc.
The course is organized and conducted by volunteer instructors across the state. The course must be of two or more days with a minimum of 10-12 hours in length.
4.3 Internet-Assisted Course
This course is mainly designed for people with conflicting schedules and covers the information you need to know before going to hunt. There is no fee required to take an online course.
To complete the course students must attend an internet-assisted hunter education field day and testing session.
4.4 Advanced Hunter Education Classes
Advanced hunter education classes are not substitute for a required hunter education course; instead, this course includes specific types of hunting such as waterfowl, goose, upland bird, deer and varmint hunting.
It is offered by the Department of KWPT and instructed by volunteers.
5. License Requirements
All resident hunters from age 16 to 74 must have a resident hunting license. Non-resident hunters require non-resident hunting license regardless of age and they are subject to some restrictions as well.
5.1 Senior License
Hunters aged between 65-74 also need hunting/fishing license from the department of KWPT. For them, a reduced-price lifetime combination hunting license or a half price annual hunting license is available for purchase.
Hunters over 75 years are not required to purchase hunting license, provided they are residents of Kansas.
5.2 Armed Servicemen License
Members of the armed services on active duty who were Kansas residents at the time of entering service, and the members on active duty officially stationed in Kansas may purchase resident hunting license.
5.3 American Indian License
To get hunting license, an American Indian must be a resident in the state of Kansas. They must prove that they have some degree of native American ancestry/heritage in the form of legal document issued by the tribal office.
5.4 National Guard License
Active members of the Kansas National Guard are provided free hunting license.
5.5 Non-resident full-time student License
A non-resident who is studying as a full-time student at a public or a private secondary, post-secondary, vocational school located in the state may purchase resident license.
6. Rules and Regulations
6.1 Distance Rule
It is illegal to hunt, shoot or trap from public roads without permission of the landowner adjacent to the side of the road being hunted. Hunting near the rail roads also need permission from the railway department.
Average distance of archery shooting is 10-30 yds, shot from rifle, muzzleloader is taken from 70-200 yds.
6.2 Hunting Hours
Hunting hours depend on the state’s sunrise-sunset chart regulated by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Hunting hours for birds start from half an hour before sunrise to sunset.
Game animal hunting hours are from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset. Violating hunting hour rule is punishable offense.
6.3 Bag Limit
How many species to be hunted or possessed is indicated by bag limit. Rule for bag limit is made by the natural resources department of the state. It may vary season wise, land wise and also by species.
In Kansas it is regulated by KWPT department. For turkey, one turkey of either sex is permitted to a hunter. Fur-bearers (bobcat, mink, opossum, raccoon, fox, etc.) have no season bag limit. Coyotes hunting also have no bag limit.
Migratory dove daily bag limit is 15 and exotic dove has no bag limit. Small game such as squirrel has bag limit of 5, rabbit has 10, and bullfrog has 8. There is no limit for possession of crows.
6.4 Hunter Orange Garment
Hunter orange is required for safe hunting. It is mandatory while hunting certain species. All game hunters and assisting personnel must wear orange during muzzleloader or open firearm season.
An orange hat with 200 square inches and of minimum 50% of the bright orange color is required and it must be visible from all direction. A minimum of 100 square inches of the bright orange color on both the front and the back of the torso is required.
Hunters may wear camouflage orange. Hunter orange is not required for pheasant or quail hunting but it is highly recommended.
6.5 Bow Requirements
All kinds of bows are legal for hunting in Kansas. For crossbow there is no minimum requirements as per poundage. Bows must be hand drawn and are designed to shoot only one arrow at a time.
No bow or arrow may have any electronic device attached that control the flight of the arrow.
Arrows used for hunting big game and turkey must be equipped with broadhead points that cannot pass through a ring of 3/4th of an inch in diameter.
Kansas doesn’t need a minimum bow weight, draw length or bow length. Non-broad head arrows may be possessed while hunting but may not be used while hunting wild turkey.
7. Prohibited Practices
- It is prohibited to shoot, hunt or trap on private land or roadside without proper permission.
- Fur-bearers and coyotes may be hunted at night but any kind of projection of artificial light is strictly prohibited.
- Baiting is illegal on all lands managed by KWPT department except on the private lands.
- Kansas made it illegal for hunters to text one another the location of wildlife.
- It is prohibited to hunt under the age of 12.
Kansas gives the opportunity to hunt in its wide lands. Because of its wetter east and dry west, abundance of animals varies along with the season.
KWPT department gives some relaxation regarding license facility, accessibility to the land and season hunting. One thing you need to do is to abide by the rules made for the hunters. Careful planning is suggested to go for a hunting trip to Kansas.
For more information, visit Kansas Department of Wildlife, Park and Tourism website: https://ksoutdoors.com/Hunting.
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