The highs and lows of season's first days

Hunter success since Wednesday's opening of firearms deer season appears to be mixed.

* "It's been good so far. Everybody coming in talks about seeing all kinds of deer," said John Parson of Parson's Taxidermy and Wild Game Processing in Derby. "It's a lot different than last year when we hardly got in any deer. I think the weather has been cooperating for (hunters). I had a group come back from around Wakeeny and they talked about seeing 60 deer together. That's a lot of deer."

Parson said he's been seeing a lot of does and bucks coming in. He felt his best buck, a perfect 10-pointer with 14-inch tines, would easily make the Boone and Crockett record book.

* The big buck business is going well for Kendall Shaw of Shaw's Taxidermy in McPherson.

"It may not be really intense but the rut is still going on," he said. "I'm hearing from people who are seeing bucks chasing does and bucks running around with their nose to the ground. That always helps."

His best buck from firearms season is main-frame 9-pointer with several stickers and 10-inch browtines. Shaw thought it would gross about 190 inches. Several bucks of about 160-inches have come in.

He thought harvest numbers were similar to last season.

* Cory Foth of Doyle Creek Taxidermy in Peabody said hunters are bringing in about as many bucks as last season, though no huge trophies.

Many hunters have voiced a simlar complaint.

"People are commenting on how many hunters they're seeing out and about compared to past years," he said. "Some are saying they're also not seeing as many deer but they think the quality bucks are still there."

* Mark Tittle of Mark's Meats in Halstead commented on the number of big-bodied bucks and does already brought in by hunters. He said success rates appear to be higher than last year when rough weather hampered participation and success.

* At Stroots Locker in Goddard, a sizable percentage of deer brought in have been big bucks. Smaller bucks and more does are probably to come.

"The first few days everybody's trying for the really big buck," Vince Stroot said. "That'll change the middle of next week. That's when they'll start filling doe tags and shoot whatever they can get."

* Game warden Phil Kirkland has been patrolling portions of Stafford, Barton, Pawnee, Edwards and other central Kansas counties.

He was surprised by the lack of deer hunters afield Saturday.

"I'm guessing a lot had already killed going into (Saturday)," Kirkland said. "I've seen quite a few bucks that were killed but not many does."

He'd gotten quite a few complaints from landowners and other hunters. The most common complaints have been tresspassing, shooting from roads and failure to wear orange.

* Warden Hal Kaina had a busy week, mostly patrolling parts of Rice County.

Tresspass complaints have kept him busy. He'd responded to three by mid-afternoon Saturday and issued several citations.

Most hunters he's checked have said they're not seeing as many big bucks as last year.

* Most aspects of the season have been slow in Sumner and Harper counties for game warden Jason Barker.

"It's been kind of an unusual year as far as activity and violations," Barker said. "We're not seeing a lot of people out running around."

Barker said checks with local locker plants confirm hunter success has been relatively low in that region.