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Joined: 10/15/2008
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NW Kansas Whitetail?

I may be hunting in NW Kansas in 2009, Unit 2. What is the terrain like? What is the whitetail potential, size and quantity? Is bowhunting riverbottoms logical? I have never been to Kansas before.

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Location: Southeast Colorado
Joined: 01/07/2007
Posts: 93
NW Kansas Whitetail?

I live near unit 2 and have hunted deer there a number of times. (mostly successfully) In my experience (yours may differ), I have found whitetails to be limited to riparian areas and not particularily adundant. This is primarily a mule deer unit. I have seen quite a few small whitetail does.

The terrain will vary from tabletop flat with zero cover (short grass or cropland) to rugged mini canyons. There is a lot of CRP grass and some of it is quite tall and excellent deer cover. Unfortunately, Kansas requires that the CRP grass be mowed every few years which ruins it from a deer habitat standpoint. However, not everyone mows at the same intervals. There are many areas of irrigated cropland dedicated to corn. These are fairly productive for deer but they will be harvested by the late rifle season. I think that the unit is difficult from a bowhunters standpoint.

In a terrain without an adundance of heavy cover, deer may be found hiding in small patches of tall weeds or other spots that may seem unlikely to a hunter unfamilar with west central Kansas. I cannot tell you how many times I have advised a companion to walk out a tiny spot of cover in a vast open area and had them spook out very nice bucks.

Prairie hunting will be unlike any you have other done. Mostly you will relie on luck, not skill, as you learn.

Kansas has an excellent "walk-in" hunting program which makes large acreages available for public hunting. You can download the atlas from KDWP's website.

Riparian areas are scarce in unit 2 and often already leased to outfitters. The other areas are largely ignored by the trophy hunters and most agricultural landowners are fairly receptive to hunters. Much of the land is owned by absentee landlords who can be quite difficult to get in touch with and will likely tell you to talk to their tennant anyway. Land ownership atlases are available locally and include much valuable contact information. A good place to start finding who controls what is with the local NRCS office, FSA office and county extension agents.

My experience is that hunting pressure is light. If you are a non-resident getting your license of choice may be difficult.

I would strongly suggest you check out the area WELL in advance of your preferred season.

Good luck!

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