Deer, turkey numbers high; bow hunting season starts
More doe tags issued; penalty for buck kills substantial
Autumn big game season officially began last week with the opening of bow hunting season for deer and turkey.
The season began Oct. 4 and runs to Nov. 28. Rifle season began Wednesday for turkeys and will begin in early December for deer.
Population numbers for both deer and turkeys are up, and Leavenworth County wildlife officials said this increase has both its ups and downs for hunters, depending upon which of the animals a person is after.
For those hunting turkeys, the future looks good.
Glenn Cannizzaro, Leavenworth County conservation officer for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, said several large flocks had been seen in the area.
"Turkeys are definitely on the increase," he said. "They're pretty prolific animals."
But for deer hunters looking for a trophy buck, the outlook isn't quite so pleasant.
Because of the impact that even the slightest increase in deer can have on crop damage numbers and deer-related traffic accidents, efforts are being made by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks to curtail excess population growth.
State biologists control deer populations by maintaining a certain ratio of does to bucks. Right now they say there are too many does producing too many fawns.
What that means to hunters is more doe and fewer buck tags will be issued this year.
Which means the chance to even have a shot at bagging a trophy buck is down from previous years.
"By shooting a doe, you reduce the population by three," Cannizzaro said.
He said doe's typically give birth to two fawns each year.
In an effort to keep hunters from shooting trophy bucks illegally, last session the state Legislature passed a law imposing a stiff penalty on those who try it.
Cannizzaro said that hunters who poach a buck with an inside antler spread of 17 inches or more are subject to a $5,000 fine. The crime is a Class D misdemeanor, and is also punishable by jail time or the loss of hunting privileges.
Though the season is early, Cannizzaro said that the department had already served two search warrants in the area, resulting in the discovery of six poached animals, some of which were bucks.
One of the warrants was served near Tonganoxie, but authorities are not releasing the names of the suspects or the number of animals found at each location.
The department is asking for help from the community in catching deer hunters who break the law.
Anyone who has any information regarding illegal hunting practices can report it by calling (877) 425-3843. Callers can remain anonymous.