Dec. 4 marks the first day of firearm deer season this year and with new regulations giving hunters greater flexibility than ever before, the season offers something for anyone willing to weather the cold. From Dec. 4-15, hunters will have the opportunity to hunt deer with any centerfire rifle and handgun; any gauge shotgun using slugs; and any legal muzzleloading rifle, musket, or pistol .40 caliber or larger. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
For those who possess a valid deer permit, but have yet to fill a tag, time isn’t up yet as any unfilled permit is valid during the firearm season; however, either-species, nonresident and some antlerless permits are restricted to the deer management units listed on the permit. In addition to their deer permit, all hunters, unless exempt by law, must also have a Kansas hunting license. Hunters with archery permits must use archery equipment and hunters with muzzleloader permits must use muzzleloaders, crossbows are archery equipment.
During the firearm season, all hunters must wear hunter orange clothing consisting of an orange hat and an orange vest that shows 100 square inches from the front and 100 square inches from the back. Camouflage orange clothing is legal if the number of square inches of orange is visible.
If you are a resident hunter and have yet to purchase a permit, you may do so wherever licenses are sold and online. Permits aren’t valid until the next calendar day after purchase. Hunters must possess a permit that allows the harvest of a buck before they are eligible to purchase antlerless permits.
Hunters should remember that all deer must be tagged before moving the carcass from the kill site. Certain permits, such as an antlerless whitetail permit, require that the head remain attached to the carcass during transport for sex identification. However, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism offers a voluntary option that allows hunters to register their deer through the Internet, using photos taken at the harvest site. Once registered, the hunter may then transport the carcass without the head attached. If Internet access is unavailable at the kill site, the hunter can retain the photographs while in transit and a registration number can be obtained later. To access the electronic deer check-in, go online to the KDWPT website, www.ksoutdoors.com, and click “Hunting/Big Game/Deer/Deer Check-in.”
To ensure everyone enjoys a safe deer hunt, hunters must remember basic firearm safety rules including knowing their target and what lies beyond it and always wearing the required hunter orange. Hunters must have permission to hunt on any private land, whether it is posted or not. The 2012 Kansas Hunting Atlas features maps showing all public and Walk-In Hunting Access areas is available wherever licenses are sold and online at www.ksoutdoors.com.
Image courtesy Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism