With my hunting seasons over in Colorado, I’ve moved on to my old state of Kansas to hunt the elusive whitetail deer.
In the early part of the 20th century, whitetail deer were on a rapid decline due to unrestricted hunting, accelerated land clearing the population growth in deer habitat. Wildlife managers rose to the occasion and began protecting them..
Once protected, the deer were found to be one of the most adaptable species on the planet and soon were living in huge numbers in close proximity to towns and even cities. In Arkansas, for instance, there were 500 whitetail deer in 1926. Today, because of aggressive game management that state has 500,000.
Due to the success of farming methods in this country they also have been able to expand at record numbers due to the food supply provided by that industry.
In Kansas, the numbers are so great that up to six tags for deer are allowed per hunter per season. That is on paper. The first day of hunting, I soon doubted the overall deer populations published by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.
No one I talked to was seeing deer and all the old haunts where I had found them in the past were devoid of any herds let alone single strays. As with any hunting experience, knowing the lay of the land and the habits of the species sought is paramount to success as well as knowing how they react to weather and the moon phase.
A quick call to my son and he reminded me of the full moon and I then understood that the deer were feeding at night and hiding all day. As the moon began to wane later in the week, the deer appeared as if magically and I began to have some success.
The area that I hunted in allowed me to have an either sex permit plus an additional five doe tags. The numbers allowed in any one region are based on animal counts and carrying capacity of the land.
I was able to harvest a very large buck which appeared to be about 3 years old. He quickly was cut up and put in my freezer and the hunt continued for a doe. With the moon in a receding phase, the deer were suddenly everywhere I looked.
At the end of the 10 day hunt I had harvested four corn fed Kansas deer and since I cut them up myself, am assured of a supply of good fat free, low cholesterol meat for the next year.
With the price of beef reaching all time record highs, I look forward to a winter of not having to purchase meat for Trixie and me, plus my son's family, too.
It takes a lot of work to hunt your own game, cut it up and package it but the reward of a good, safe, chemical free meat supply is well worth the efforts.
April in Colorado brings the end of the application period for the hunts offered in 2015. Be sure and get your brochures as they come available and if you do your homework, walk enough miles and are lucky, maybe you can fill your freezer with good tasting game.