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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2020: Kansas Deer

Kansas deer application strategy

Kansas's 2020 deer application overview

Jump to: State Information Draw System MULE DEER BREAKDOWN Whitetail Deer Breakdown

Note: The Kansas application deadline for nonresidents is April 24 and the resident deadline for draw permits is June 12. You can apply online here or by phone 620-672-0728.


State information

Kansas is home to a large population of deer (over 425,000 deer statewide). Overall, the trophy quality is good statewide for whitetail deer and even some big mule deer are taken each year. The broad season dates make Kansas an excellent destination for a dedicated whitetail hunter. Kansas is made up largely of private lands, but some walk-in and public state land hunting opportunities exist. 

During the 2018 deer season, Kansas hunters harvested 81,769 deer. This was an increase of 2,202 deer from 2017. 2018 harvest was 5.09% below the three-year average. The 2018 harvest was also the 13th highest deer harvest since modern deer hunting seasons began in 1965. So, to summarize, Kansas is doing well in terms of deer! (2019 harvest data was not available at the time of publishing this article.)

Kansas is segmented into 18 deer management units. As is the case in most private land dominated hunting areas, deer quality may vary from ranch to ranch as deer management practices vary by owner.

The mule deer population in the western third of the state produces trophy class animals every year. In 2019, the state distributed 171 mule deer tags to nonresidents. Depending on the unit, the draw odds for these tags are in the 3.3% to 63% range.

Deer management unit map

Kansas deer management unit map

Source: Kansas Wildlife, Parks & Tourism

Kansas deer management unit map

Source: Kansas Wildlife, Parks & Tourism

To view important information and an overview of Kansas’s rules/regulations, the draw system and preference points, tag and license fees and an interactive boundary line map, check out our State Profile. You can also view the Species Profiles to access historical and statistical data to help you identify trophy areas.

KANSAS STATE PROFILE Mule Deer Profile Whitetail Deer Profile Draw Odds Filtering 2.0

Important dates and information

  • You can apply online here or by phone 620-672-0728.
  • Nonresident deer permit draw: application period April 1 thru April 24, 2020.
  • Resident any deer firearms permit draw: application period May 12 thru June 12, 2020.
  • Resident whitetail any season permit: purchase through Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Resident archery: purchase through Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Hunt-own-land deer permit: purchase through Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Antlerless whitetail deer permit: purchase through Jan. 31, 2021.

Cost to apply

Note: All fees listed in the tables below for both residents and nonresidents will have an internet convenience fee added at time of applying online for a permit or preference point. You must front the entire cost of the tag.

In Kansas, both residents and nonresidents must have a hunting license.

Residents

Resident license cost

If you only want to hunt whitetail deer Cost
Resident hunting license $27.50
General resident
Either species/either-sex firearm
(draw only permit)
$52.50
General resident
Any season whitetail deer
(OTC)
$42.50
General resident
Either species/either-sex archery
(OTC)
$42.50
General resident
Either species/either-sex muzzleloader
(OTC)
$42.50
Total $70 or $80 depending on what option

Resident draw permits are valid either in the east units (3, 4, 5, 7, 16) or the west units (1, 2, 17, 18) during the regular firearms season using any legal equipment.

Note: A resident hunter who does not want to hunt in the current year’s season can purchase an $11.50 preference point that will count toward a firearm either species, either-sex deer permit in a future drawing.

Antlerless tag options for residents:

Resident antlerless whitetail deer permit (any whitetail deer without a visible antler protruding from the skull)

  • $22.50 general residents
  • $10.00 resident youth (15 and younger)

The total number of whitetail antlerless only permits a hunter may purchase is five; however they may use them as follows:

  • The first antlerless whitetail permit shall be valid for Unit 1 through 17 and 19, including lands managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT).
  • Four additional antlerless whitetail permits may be purchased and are valid in Units TBD on lands not managed by KDWPT, except Glen Elder, Kanopolis, Lovewell, Norton, Webster and Wilson Wildlife Areas and Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge. 

Note: No antlerless whitetail permits are valid in Unit 18.

Either species antlerless only permits are not available.

Nonresidents

Nonresident license cost

If you only want to hunt whitetail deer Cost
Nonresident whitetail deer permit fee $442.50*
Nonresident hunting license $97.50
Total  
If you want to hunt mule deer Cost
Nonresident whitetail deer permit fee $442.50*
Nonresident hunting license $97.50
Mule deer stamp fee $152.50
Total  
*If you don’t draw, you will get everything back aside from the $27.50 application fee. You will also receive a preference point.

Note: A nonresident who doesn’t want to hunt in the current season can purchase a preference point that will count toward a whitetail deer permit in a future drawing. The cost for a preference point as a nonresident is $26.50.

Party applications

Applicants in Kansas can opt to apply as a party though group sizes are limited to five total applicants. All applicants within a party must apply for the same unit and weapon choice.

Even if you decide to apply as a group, each person must apply individually; however, there will be a question on the application about groups. The first applicant in the group to apply would choose the create group option on this question. This will create a group under this applicants KDWPT number Each applicant applying after the group has been set up would choose the join group option and they would fill in the group leader’s KDWPT number at that time.


Proposed 2020 season dates

Youth and disability (Sept. 5 to 13, 2020)

Youth 16 and younger who have a valid deer permit may hunt during this special deer season only while under the immediate supervision of an adult 18 or older. Any person who possesses a valid deer permit and has a permit to hunt from a vehicle pursuant to KAR 115-18-4 or a disability assistance permit issued pursuant to KAR 115-18-15 may also hunt during this season. All resident and nonresident permits are valid and equipment restrictions designated on permits apply.

Hunter orange is required.

Muzzleloader (Sept. 14 to 27, 2020)

The following permits may be used during this season in units specified on the permit using muzzleloader or archery equipment: 

  • Resident or nonresident muzzleloader either species/either-sex permit, 
  • Resident any season whitetail deer permit, 
  • Nonresident muzzleloader whitetail deer permit, 
  • Hunt-Own-Land permit, 
  • Special Hunt-Own-Land permit
  • Antlerless whitetail deer permit
  • Antlerless either-species deer permit

Hunter orange clothing is required.

Archery (Sept. 14 to Dec. 31, 2020)

Hunter orange clothing is required if archery hunting during a firearm or muzzleloader season. 

Regular firearm (Dec. 2 to 13, 2020)

  • First extended whitetail antlerless only: Jan. 1 to 10, 2021
  • Second extended whitetail antlerless only: Jan. 1 to 17, 2021
  • Third extended whitetail antlerless only: Jan. 1 to 24, 2021
  • Extended archery (Unit 19 only): Jan. 25 to Jan. 31, 2021

Pre-rut firearm whitetail antlerless only (Oct. 10 to 12, 2020)

Any permit that allows the harvest of a whitetail antlerless deer is valid during this season. Equipment and unit restrictions on permit are imposed. The Ft. Riley Unit is closed for the pre-rut season. 


2020 drought status

Kansas drought monitor

Kansas drought status update as of March 24, 2020. Source: Kansas Drought Monitor

Currently, there only 14.46% of the state is experiencing abnormally dry conditions. 6.03% is experiencing moderate drought and 2.02% are experiencing extreme drought. For the most part, most of the drought conditions are in the extreme southwest corner of the state. 


Draw system

The resident draw system

Kansas residents can purchase an any season whitetail deer permit over-the-counter (OTC). These tags are good statewide for whitetails. Residents could also purchase either species/either-sex archery or muzzleloader permits OTC for both the eastern and western mule deer zones. 

Firearm either species/either-sex tags are available to residents through a draw. Residents have the option to apply for either the West Zone Mule Deer Unit (Unit 1, 2, 17, 18) or the East Zone (Unit 3, 4, 5, 7, 16).

Preference points are available for $11.50 to resident hunters who do not wish to hunt the current season.

The nonresident draw system

If you are a nonresident and want to hunt mule deer, you have a few hoops to jump through. 

First, you must apply for a whitetail permit (either archery or muzzleloader in Unit 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 17 or 18) and draw that permit. At the same time, you must have also applied for the mule deer stamp. If you have made it that far, you will then be entered into a drawing for one of the limited number of mule deer stamps.

If you successfully draw a mule deer stamp, then your whitetail deer archery or muzzleloader permit will convert to an either species/either-sex archery or muzzleloader permit. Note: preference points do not count toward the mule deer stamp draw. Keep in mind that if you are unsuccessful in the mule deer stamp draw, then you will receive a refund and be issued the whitetail deer archery or muzzleloader draw permit.

A nonresident can still hunt during the firearm season, but they must use a muzzleloader.

When applying for deer permits, applicants will select their unit of choice and an adjoining unit they would like to hunt. Remember that if you draw that unit, you can also hunt the adjacent unit. The great part about this strategy is that if all the tags are gone in the unit you are applying for, but there are tags available in the adjacent unit you selected, then you will draw the adjacent unit, but you can still hunt the main unit that was full.

Applicants interested in applying for a mule deer stamp will also need to apply for this at the same time. Kansas looks at all four choices, before moving to the next applicant.

The Kansas system is a true preference point system and applicants with the most points automatically receive a tag.

The Kansas preference point system only applies to the whitetail draw. In order to apply for a mule deer tag in Kansas, you must first draw a whitetail tag. No preference point weighing occurs in the mule deer draw.

A nonresident who doesn’t want to hunt in the current season can purchase a preference point that will count toward a whitetail deer permit in a future drawing. The cost for a preference point as a nonresident is $26.50.

Kansas allows the use of a preference point for up to five years. After that period, if you have not applied, you lose your preference point. There is really no reason to build more than one preference point in Kansas.


Kansas unit breakdown

Nonresident draw

Whitetail draw stats (2019)

Unit Quota 1st
choice
2nd
choice
3rd
choice
4th
choice
Leftover
permits
1 850 925 427 290 186 0
2 466 393 462 308 262 0
3 1,002 1,271 886 759 456 0
4 542 673 685 873 847 0
5 707 741 594 807 427 0
6 538 546 646 715 802 0
7 1,603 1,810 1,304 393 468 0
8 1,940 2,111 1,198 623 496 0
9 981 1,109 964 379 598 0
10 1,252 1,300 1,391 722 1,018 0
11 3,253 3,727 1,681 856 873 0
12 2,132 2,541 1,815 1,432 571 0
13 621 548 1,175 924 710 0
14 1,934 2,353 1,955 2,358 2,019 0
15 1,405 1,551 1,280 754 822 0
16 1,795 1,881 1,073 754 249 0
17 562 385 594 426 468 0
18 233 159 183 204 282 0

 

Whitetail draw odds (2019)

Unit Draw odds
at 0 points
Draw odds at 1 point
1 70% 100%
2 82% 100%
3 76% 100%
4 86% 100%
5 91% 100%
6 92% 100%
7 86% 100%
8 88% 100%
9 87% 100%
10 90% 100%
11 88% 100%
12 88% 100%
13 92% 100%
14 85% 100%
15 91% 100%
16 94% 100%
17 94% 100%
18 99% 100%

Here's why that matters

In order for a nonresident to draw a mule deer tag in Kansas, they must first draw a whitetail tag. Preference points only apply to the whitetail portion of the draw.

Mule deer stamp draw stats (2019)

Unit Quota 1st
choice
2nd
choice
3rd
choice
4th
choice
Leftover permits
1 50 276 161 41 20 0
2 40 171 153 71 28 0
3 8 63 73 146 27 0
4 1 9 25 28 31 0
5 1 30 24 41 28 0
7 1 13 21 10 13 0
17 50 161 75 27 72 0
18 20 32 35 19 35 0

 

Nonresident mule deer stamp draw odds

Unit Draw odds
1 18%
2 23%
3 13%
4 11%
5 3.3%
7 7.7%
17 31%
18 63%

Resident draw

Resident mule deer stamp draw odds

Unit Draw odds at 0 points Draw odds at 1 point
1, 2, 17, 18 78% 100%
3, 4, 5, 7, 16 39% 100%

Unlocking Kansas

Kansas is a great state to plan to hunt every year or on an every other year schedule. As the draw odds table shows, the majority of the units for whitetail deer have 70% to 99% draw odds. 

Success in Kansas is all about locating well-managed properties. Finding these properties will involve contacting outfitters or landowners.

If you’re a whitetail hunter, another great part about Kansas is that the archery season encompasses the peak of the rut and is the best time to hunt mature whitetails!

Draw odds for mule deer in Kansas range from 3.3% to 63% depending on the unit. Some quality opportunities exist, but are generally controlled by outfitters. Should you be lucky enough to draw a Kansas mule deer tag, contacting an outfitter is suggested.

Access and private land

Kansas is dominated by private land. But for do-it-yourself hunter, KDWPT does have a walk-in hunting areas program that provides access to private lands for hunters.

The state also maintains a number of State Wildlife Areas (SWA) that allow access to hunters. 

These walk-in and SWAs typically receive a lot of hunting pressure, but mature whitetails are harvested on them each year. The vast majority of the mature whitetails taken in Kansas each fall are on private lands, but some public hunting opportunities exist. If you are interested in public hunting opportunities, KDWPT provides maps of walk-in hunting areas. They can be found here.

The points system

The Kansas system is a true preference point system and applicants with the most points automatically receive a tag.

The Kansas preference point system only applies to the whitetail draw. In order to apply for a mule deer tag in Kansas, you must first draw a whitetail tag. No preference point weighing occurs in the mule deer draw.


Kansas 2020 mule deer breakdown

Kansas is home to a small population of mule deer in the western section of the state. As of the last 2016 report, Kansas boasts a mule deer population of a little over 40,000.

As stated earlier, the state issues mule deer stamps in Unit 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 17 or 18 and nonresidents are restricted to either archery or muzzleloader hunts for Kansas mule deer.

The vast majority of Kansas is private land. Be aware that the best mule deer hunting opportunities in the western section of the state are on private land that will require an outfitter or a potentially substantial trespass fee to access. Access to quality ground is expensive.

If you want to see for yourself how much private land there is in Kansas, jump over to Filtering 2.0 under mule deer and sort the units by percentage of public land. Access a direct link to this sort function here.

Or check out the table below.

Kansas mule deer units sorted by public land percentages

Unit Public land %
18 3.9%
5 1.9%
7 1.9%
4 1.3%
2 0.5%
1 0.3%
16 0.3%
3 0.1%
17 0.1%

How to uncover hidden gems

Much of western Kansas has the quality habitat needed to grow large mule deer. Locating the right property under the right management regime is the key to success. Spending the time researching individual ranches rather than units can help you locate great mule deer opportunities.

Use Filtering 2.0 when planning your next Kansas hunt. You can sort by trophy potential, public land percentages and even the number of bucks taken.


B&C entry trends for Kansas mule deer

Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are included if any part of the district is found within the county. Data provided below courtesy of the Boone and Crockett Club.

Kansas' top B&C producing counties since 2015 for typical mule deer

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Scott 2 17
Cheyenne 1 1
Hamilton 1 17
Logan 1 2

Map of Kansas typical mule deer B&C all time entries 2020

Top B&C typical mule deer locations since 2015 - Kansas 2020

The last nontypical mule deer entry in Kansas was in 2011.

Kansas’ top B&C producing counties since 2011 for nontypical mule deer

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Thomas 1 2, 1

Map of Kansas nontypical mule deer B&C all time entries 2020


Managing points and expectations

Keep in mind that Kansas does not apply preference points to the mule deer stamp draw. If you really want to hunt mule deer in Kansas, the only way to draw is by applying.

But there is a risk. The risk in Kansas is, of course, drawing a whitetail tag and not a mule deer tag. If you understand that part and are willing to hunt whitetails in Kansas while you wait to someday draw a mule deer tag, then Kansas can be a great option.

After all, hunting whitetails in Kansas is definitely not a bad backup plan!

There are definitely some great bucks in Kansas, especially in the western portion of the state, but they can be hard to find. Most of these western units have many access points and hunting pressure can be high. Make sure you do your research before applying for these tags. Contact outfitters and landowners prior to applying to have a plan.

FIND YOUR NONRESIDENT MULE DEER DRAW ODDS HERE

FIND YOUR RESIDENT MULE DEER DRAW ODDS HERE


Kansas 2020 whitetail breakdown

If you’re a whitetail hunter, then you’ve probably considered Kansas and heard from hunters taking some phenomenal bucks. Kansas has long been known for excellent whitetail deer hunting. The state boasts plenty of habitat, liberal season dates and the chance at a great buck in any part of the state.

Kansas is a must apply state if you want a solid whitetail hunt. Historically, the southern portion of the state has produced a number of record book entries. Yet, every unit in the state is capable of producing a record book size whitetail.

As stated earlier, most of the best whitetail ground in the state is leased by outfitters. Contacting outfitters or seeking out private landowners prior to drawing a tag can be helpful.

As of the last 2016 report, Kansas has a total whitetail deer population of roughly 625,000.


B&C entry trends for Kansas whitetail deer

Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are included if any part of the district is found within the county. Data provided below courtesy of the Boone and Crockett Club.

Kansas’ top B&C producing counties since 2015 for typical whitetail deer

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Chase 4 14
Comanche 3 16
Kiowa 3 16, 17

Map of Kansas typical whitetail deer B&C all time entries 2020

Kansas’ top B&C producing counties since 2015 for nontypical whitetail deer

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Clay 4 8
Osage 3 14, 10, 11
Pottawatomie 3 9
Ren 3 15, 5, 6

One interesting thing about Kansas when it comes to whitetails: there have almost been just as many B&C typical entries all time as there have been nontypical entries all time.

Map of Kansas nontypical whitetail deer B&C all time entries 2020

  • Typical entries: 466
  • Nontypical entries: 407

Private land issues in Kansas

Keep in mind that the majority of Kansas is private land. Be aware that some of the best whitetail deer hunting opportunities are on private land that will require an outfitter or a potentially substantial trespass fee to access.

If you want to see for yourself how much private land there is in Kansas, jump over to Filtering 2.0 under whitetail deer and sort the units by percentage of public land. Access a direct link to this sort function here.

Or check out the table below.

Kansas whitetail deer units sorted by public land percentages

Unit Public land %
18 3.9%
10 2.8%
9 2.2%
5 1.9%
7 1.9%
8 1.7%
4 1.3%
11 1.3%
14 1.1%
13 0.9%
15 0.7%
2 0.5%
6 0.5%
12 0.5%
1 0.3%
16 0.3%
3 0.1%
17 0.1%

Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (commonly referred to as EHD) has also affected many units across the state in the past five years. Pockets of EHD in the state have lowered the deer density in localized areas. These localized populations will hopefully continue to rebound.


Managing points and expectations

As stated earlier, if you enjoy hunting whitetails while you wait to someday draw a mule deer tag, then Kansas can be a great option. Add to that a great outfitter, some connections to hunt private or willing to pay for private land access.

FIND YOUR NONRESIDENT WHITETAIL DEER DRAW ODDS HERE

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