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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2021: Kansas Deer


Main writer: Jordan Christensen of The Draw

KANSAS 2021 DEER APPLICATION OVERVIEW

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

In a day and age where, as hunters, we are often left to hunt younger age class animals because the states are managing more for opportunity than for trophy, Kansas is a glaring contrast. With incredible mule deer harvested every year — and some of the best whitetail hunting in the world — if you are looking to hunt 6+ year old deer and you don’t want to wait a long time to do it, Kansas should definitely be part of your yearly application strategy. With over 600,000 deer across the state, this is what you have been searching for. We are definitely living in the “good ole’ days” when it comes to Kansas. 

Whether you are looking to hunt whitetail deer or mule deer, it makes no difference in quality. Some of the biggest mule deer in the country are quietly coming out of Kansas each year and, although it takes a decent amount of luck for a nonresident to have a chance at a mule deer in Kansas, the state’s whitetail deer will definitely turn the head of even the most refined of whitetail hunters in the country. 

Your odds of drawing a deer permit in Kansas can be as low as 70% in the northwest corner of the state and as high as 96% in some of the higher deer density areas of the state with zero points. If you happen to have a point in Kansas, then there is not a whitetail permit that you do not have a 100% chance at drawing. 

If you are looking for a world-class experience, keep reading and learn more about what the Sunflower State has to offer. 

Note: The Kansas application deadline for nonresidents is April 30, 2021 and the resident deadline for draw permits is June 11, 2021. You can apply online here or by phone 620-672-0728.


State information

To view important information and an overview of Kansas’s rules/regulations, the draw system, 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 goHUNT MAPS

Important dates and information

  • You can apply online here or by phone 620-672-0728.
  • Nonresident deer permit draw: application period April 1 to 30, 2021.
  • Resident any deer firearms permit draw: application period May 11 to June 11, 2021.
  • Resident whitetail any season permit: purchase through Dec. 31, 2021.
  • Resident archery: purchase through Dec. 31, 2021.
  • Hunt-own-land deer permit: purchase through Dec. 31, 2021.
  • Antlerless whitetail deer permit: purchase through Jan. 31, 2022.

Deer management unit map

Kansas deer management unit map

Source: Kansas Wildlife, Parks & Tourism

Kansas deer management unit map

Source: Kansas Wildlife, Parks & Tourism

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.

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.

Nonresident license cost

If you only want to hunt whitetail deer

Cost

Nonresident whitetail deer permit fee $442.50*
Nonresident hunting license $97.50

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

*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.

Kansas does not average your points for a group application. The application will be entered into the draw with the lowest point total of any applicant in the group. So if you apply with anyone who has zero points, then everyone attached to that application will also enter the draw with zero points and any accrued points by any party member will add no value to your group application. 

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 applicant’s 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 2021 season dates

Youth and disability (Sept. 4 to 12, 2021)

Youth 17 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. 13 to 26, 2021)

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. 13 to Dec. 31, 2021)

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

Regular firearm (Dec. 1 to 12, 2021)

  • First extended whitetail antlerless only: Jan. 1 to 9, 2022
  • Second extended whitetail antlerless only: Jan. 1 to 16, 2022
  • Third extended whitetail antlerless only: Jan. 1 to 23, 2022
  • Extended archery (Unit 19 only): Jan. 25 to Jan. 31, 2022

Pre-rut firearm whitetail antlerless only (Oct. 9 to 11, 2021)

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. 


Drought Status

2021

Kansas 2021 Drought Monitor

Kansas drought status update as of April 6, 2021. Source: Drought Monitor

Currently, 13.9% of the state is in some small level of drought while another 22.1% is considered abnormally dry. Overall, the state is looking fantastic and, when compared to what we are seeing in the western states, a welcome sight for hunters who are concerned with what we are seeing across most of the Southwest.

2020

Kansas drought monitor

Kansas drought status from March 24, 2020. Source: Drought Monitor

Draw system

The resident draw system

Residents are allowed to hunt whitetail deer over-the-counter (OTC) each year. The permits they purchase are good for anywhere they have access whether it’s public land, walk-in or private. They can hunt during the archery, muzzleloader and rifle seasons with these permits. Residents can also choose to purchase an either species permit if they want to hunt with archery equipment or with a muzzleloader. These permits are good for both eastern and western deer zones.

If a resident would like to hunt mule deer with a rifle, they must apply for the draw. If successful, the permit they draw will allow them to hunt either West Zone Mule Deer which includes Unit 1, 2, 17, 18 or the East Zone with includes Unit 3, 4, 5, 7, 16.

If you would like preference in drawing this permit in future years, they can simply purchase a preference point for $11.50 as well. 

The nonresident draw system

The nonresident draw process happens earlier in the year and applications are due April 30 this year. 

The first phase of the nonresident deer draw is exclusively for whitetail deer. Nonresidents are required to purchase a nonrefundable $97.50 hunting license prior to applying for a deer permit and, in order to apply, they are required to submit the $27.50 application fee as well as the entire cost of the deer permit, which is $442.50. There is also a $14.53 service fee added to the transaction in order to proceed. If you are unsuccessful in drawing your whitetail permit, you will be refunded the cost of the whitetail permit; however, the state will retain all other fees during the application process.

If you choose to apply for archery or muzzleloader in Unit 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 17 or 18, then you will be eligible to try and draw a mule deer stamp during the application process. This will add an additional $152.50 to your total during the checkout process. This portion of the draw takes place after all of the whitetail permits have been issued. If you were successful in drawing a whitetail permit, which happens on a preference point system, you will now have a chance to draw the mule deer stamp. This happens on a random draw and the odds vary by unit. There is no way to increase your odds of drawing the mule deer stamp and if this is the only goal, expect for it to take years. 

If you are successful in drawing a whitetail permit, but not successful in drawing a mule deer stamp, then you will be refunded only the amount of the mule deer stamp. If you are unsuccessful in drawing either your whitetail permit and the mule deer stamp, then you will be refunded the cost of the whitetail permit as well as the cost of the mule deer stamp; however, the state will retain all other fees due at the time you apply. 

All successful deer applicants will also receive a doe permit for whitetail deer.


Kansas unit breakdown

Nonresident draw

Whitetail draw odds (2020)

Unit Draw odds at 0 points Draw odds at 1 point
1 71% 100%
2 72% 100%
3 79% 100%
4 89% 100%
5 93% 100%
6 95% 100%
7 92% 100%
8 91% 100%
9 93% 100%
10 93% 100%
11 90% 100%
12 90% 100%
13 96% 100%
14 88% 100%
15 94% 100%
16 94% 100%
17 90% 100%
18 91% 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. 

Nonresident mule deer stamp draw odds

Unit Draw odds
1 17%
2 27%
3 17%
4 10%
5 5.6%
7 14%
17 32%
18 20%

 

Resident mule deer stamp draw odds

Unit Draw odds at 0 points Draw odds at 1 point
1, 2, 17, 18 61% 100%
3, 4, 5, 7, 16 19% 100%

Unlocking Kansas

Kansas is an incredible state to add to your overall application strategy. Not only are the odds currently 100% with one point for whitetails, but they are very high even if it’s the first year you have ever applied. The long story short is this is an excellent back up plan kind of state even for the most engaged application warrior. With the draw deadline coming just after we see the results in New Mexico, this can allow you to see the smoke clear on this aggressive application state and make your move based on how the results treat you in the Land of Enchantment. It’s not unlikely that if you got serious about it, a deer tag in one of the best states in the country is likely to happen six to eight times in a ten-year period if you applied every year. 

Success in Kansas often has to do with hunting well managed properties. Finding these properties will require you to contact different outfitters and landowners in the areas you would prefer to hunt. Another option would be to contact The Draw. They have multiple outfitters all across the state with incredible track records for big deer.

Access and private land

Knocking on doors is a skill set that takes time to develop and the only way to get better at it is like anything else: practice. However, Kansas has an excellent walk-in access program all throughout the state that allows hunters looking to hunt big and small game access to thousands of acres of private land. This style of hunting is not for everyone, but it is worth mentioning that there are many big deer taken all throughout the state on these small scattered parcels of land each year. 

The other option for DIY-oriented hunters is the numerous State Wildlife Areas (SWA). These can tend to get an excessive amount of pressure, but if you can hunt during the week and avoid some of the peak times of the year, there are many mature deer taken on these properties and offer additional places for hunters who don’t have or don’t want access to private land. These areas 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.

If you are choosing to apply as a group, remember that any points that any group member has will be irrelevant and the application will be considered with the lowest point total for any member of the group.


Kansas 2021 mule deer breakdown

Based on a study in 2019, the estimated number of mule deer found in Kansas is approximately 53,000 total animals.

This is up from previous years and is following the same trend the state is seeing with its whitetail population. The majority of the mule deer can be located in the western and north central portion of the state with the higher densities found in far western and northwestern regions of the state. Currently, the only units offering any mule deer stamps are Unit 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 17 or 18. If you are a nonresident, you will only be allowed to hunt mule deer if you choose to apply for archery or muzzleloader and are lucky enough to draw a mule deer stamp in the random draw after you have successfully drawn your whitetail permit in any of these given units. 

The majority of these deer are located on large sections of private land and prior arrangements are strongly encouraged before you head out to Kansas as this could become a very frustrating hunt without some sort of access or an understanding on how little the areas you will be allowed to hunt in are.

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%

This does not include how much walk-in land is available in any of these units as this can change from year to year.

How to uncover hidden gems

Like many states in the Midwest or further east that are predominantly private land, the caliber of deer has little to do with what unit or area of the state they are located and has almost everything to do with how successful the outfitter, lease or the landowner is at managing their deer herd. Focusing your efforts in finding the right property with the right track record is how you will locate a hidden gem in Kansas.

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. If you are simply looking to find a quality outfitter, reach out to The Draw. They have many different outfitters that they have worked with for many years with great success.


Managing points and expectations

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

Nonresidents

There is not a point system in Kansas for mule deer. This is a random drawing that you can choose to participate in if you are selecting to hunt in a unit where mule deer hunting is available as well as choosing to apply for an archery or muzzleloader permit. There is not currently an option for a nonresident to hunt with a rifle for mule deer in Kansas. 

Remember that in order to have a chance at the mule deer stamp, then you will need to first draw a nonresident whitetail permit. This is a preference point system and, currently, the odds of drawing this are 100% with as little as one point. However, there is a rather high probability that if you are successful in drawing the whitetail permit, you will not draw the mule deer stamp and be stuck with a whitetail permit that there is no refund for. All that considered, hunting whitetails in western Kansas isn’t such a bad consolation prize as these areas are known for producing some giant bucks.

Residents

Rifle mule deer permits are currently drawing at 100% for both east and west mule deer zones with one preference point. 

FIND YOUR NONRESIDENT MULE DEER DRAW ODDS HERE

FIND YOUR RESIDENT MULE DEER DRAW ODDS HERE


Kansas 2021 whitetail breakdown

Kansas is a mecca for whitetail hunters all across the country and rightfully so. The number of Boone and Crockett caliber of deer taken in this state year after year is astounding and, although the south central part of the state may be where the data points to as far as where the biggest deer live, the truth is that a giant could and does come out of just about anywhere in Kansas with the right property management and a little bit of luck. It is estimated that the whitetail herd in Kansas may have hit 700,000 animals in 2020, which would be up by almost 75,000 deer compared to the previous year. This is almost hard to believe, but with so much value placed in whitetails over the years, it makes sense that the landowners are doing everything they can to make the herds, bigger, older, and stronger.

If you want to check the box on a whitetail or you are one of the many who simply can’t get enough of hunting these deer, planning a trip to Kansas is a must and planning to hunt it often should be considered. With long hunting seasons and a state that doesn’t allow rifle hunters to hunt deer while the rut is in full swing, this is a perfect storm for folks looking not just for a chance to harvest a buck, but hunters who are looking for a next-level experience. 

Working towards access on the right lease or a hunt with the right outfitter should be strongly considered to up your odds in hunting and harvesting one of these amazing deer. Here are a few options to consider click here.


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%

Particularly in the western units, but to some extent in most of the units across the state, there is walk-in land that can change each year. This can and will add some additional public land opportunity to each unit. 

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

Currently, the odds of drawing a nonresident whitetail deer permit in Kansas is 100% for applicants with one or more points. 

If you do not have any points, use Filtering 2.0 to see what exactly your odds would have been last season and plan accordingly. For the most part, if you are looking to hunt whitetails and you are not in the far western side of the state, you can plan on your odds of drawing with zero points to be close to or over 90% even the first year you apply.

FIND YOUR NONRESIDENT WHITETAIL DEER DRAW ODDS HERE

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