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Observers see mixed results from deer season

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, at 8:05 a.m.
  • Updated Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, at 8:15 a.m.

The firearms deer season that closes Sunday will be remembered as a season of the haves and the have nots.

“Some guys say they’re seeing a lot, and some guys are not seeing anything where they’ve always found deer before,” said Vince Stroot, of Stroot Locker, Goddard. “I think a lot of it depends on where there’s water.”

Wildlife officials had predicted many areas that normally produce a lot of deer might not this year because of the on-going severe drought. All three wild game processors and a game warden interviewed reported spotty populations.

Stroot said a lot of hunters brought deer in last weekend, then business slowed greatly through the week.

“I expected the kill to be down because of the full moon and warm weather,” Stroot said. He added they’ve had some big deer brought in for processing.

Mark Tittle, of Mark’s Meats in Halstead, describes the season as “busy, similar to last year.” Though he’s seen some big deer, Tittle noted they’ve had few small deer. “Normally we have 30 or 40 of those, but hardly any this year,” he said. “Those are (fawns) and I guess maybe they had some bad reproduction in some places this year.”

The best report of hunter success came from John Parsons, of Parsons Taxidermy and Wild Game Processing in Derby.

“I expected it to be slower than normal, but it’s going good, we’ve been real busy,” said Parsons. He said he’s had a good representation of trophy-class bucks brought in.

Game warden A.J. Meyer said this season has been the slowest he’s had of the three he’s patrolled Reno and surrounding counties. Reports about things such as trespassing and shooting from the road have been almost nil in his areas. He hadn’t checked many hunters with deer, either.

“People who are seeing deer say they’re not seeing as many as usual,” Meyer said.

Senior licenses — Special hunting and fishing licenses for senior citizens 65-74 go on sale Friday. Karen Beard, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism licensing chief, said the licenses should be available at all regular license vendors or online at www.kdwpt.state.ks.us.

A senior citizen lifetime hunting and fishing permit is $42.50. Annual fishing or hunting permits are $11.50. That’s about half what regular hunters and anglers pay.

Those who purchase lifetime senior combination licenses will eventually get a plastic license in the mail.

“We want them to have something that’s going to last better than our annual licenses,” Beard said. “We’ll eventually pull their name out of the system and send them a credit card-type of license.”

Beard said the permits can not be purchased until the hunter or angler turns 65.

“If they don’t turn 65 until the middle of the year they’ll have to buy a regular license if they want to hunt or fish before that,” she said.

For several decades, Kansas residents 65 and older were exempt from needing general hunting and fishing licenses.

This year the Kansas legislature passed a bill removing that exemption, at the request of Wildlife and Parks.

Robin Jennison, Wildlife and Parks secretary, said the move was needed to insure proper funding since a growing percentage of Kansas hunters and anglers are 65 or older and not paying for licenses.

The added license sales will also allow Wildlife and Parks to qualify for more federal aid raised from excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment.

Previously, those exempt from licenses were not counted when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services divided the funds among states, based on their number of hunters and anglers. Jennison said Kansas senior hunters and anglers have been paying into those federal funds for years, and that money has been going to other states.

“We’re now going to get as much as everybody else when the (excise tax) is split out,” Jennison said. “We’re finally on an even keel.”

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