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Archive for Sunday, December 11, 2005

Early results of firearms deer season mixed

December 11, 2005

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Halfway through the Kansas firearms deer season, hunters were reporting mixed but generally good hunting.

Cold weather and snow had an effect, in some cases for the good and others for the worse, depending on the severity of winter storms.

Snow had the greatest effect in the northwest part of the state, according to Wildlife and Parks official Mel Madorin.

"Some areas were closed because the snow was too heavy," Madorin said. "Success was better where it lightened up. In the places where snow cover was good but roads were open, I'd say we had quite high success rates, better than last year."

Milder weather in the northeast may have kept deer from moving in the daytime.

"Everyone is saying deer numbers are down," regional official Rob Ladner said. "I think harvest may be down a little, but hunters are taking some nice bucks. The worst areas are the western counties of our region, but there are still a lot of deer in Unit 19."

Unit 19 is the Topeka-Kansas City corridor, where hunting access often is difficult to obtain.

Hunters in the west and south central were required to take their deer to check stations to check for chronic-wasting disease.

One check station in Dighton reported an active, successful first few days. In six days, they had checked 63 deer, compared to 56 the entire season last year. Many reported were large bucks.

In southwest Kansas, colder weather pushed deer out in daylight hours, and hunters reported "pretty good" success, according to state official Scotty Baugh.

"It has been mixed, depending on the area you were hunting, but a lot of deer have been taken to our check stations," Baugh said. "I think it is a little better than last year and will improve if we get snow this week. The southeastern parts of our region are best."

A check station in Larned reported 50 more deer than for the same period last year.

Severe cold weather had slowed activity, but midweek snow was expected to push deer out in daytime, making them easier to spot and track.

Deer hunters were also doing "pretty well" in southcentral Kansas, according to state official Val Jansen.

"For the most part, hunters are getting their deer," Jansen said. "I'd say harvest is average to slightly above average. Our Harper County check station has requested more tags."

That Harper County station reported checking in more than 100 deer in six days - 27 in just one day.

In the southeast, the harvest has been good in northern counties, according to state official Mike Little.

"The deer taken have been of good size, and we are getting especially favorable reports from nonresidents," he said. "Still, I think we may be a little behind last year. Mild weather may be a factor. A snow would help."

Little made that assessment before most of the state received heavy snow Wednesday.

The state firearms deer season ends today.

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