Large bucks, like this one photographed in Elk County, have made Kansas one of the most popular places in the world for trophy deer hunters. Leasing private ground, and sometimes guiding deer hunters, has created an important revenue stream in many parts of rural Kansas.
Kansas biologists are very protective of the state’s mule deer herd, like this buck, because of ongoing population concerns. Still, many farmers would like to see unlimited non-resident deer permits for hunting white-tailed deer.
The fertile farmland and pastures of Kansas have made it a world-class hunting destination, which has led to leasing hunting land a valuable income source for many farmers and ranchers.
Rod Meir sits and watches a canyon in the Smoky Hills as out-of-state guests try to flush deer in the valley below. Kansas’ fame as a top trophy deer state has thousands of non-resident hunters ready to spend thousands of dollars in leasing fees for a crack at a big buck.
Hunter Josh Hoeme got this nice buck in Scott County. Kansas’s lengthy archery deer season can give non-resident hunters several opportunities to harvest big bucks like Hoeme’s. Some farmers would like to see archery permits increased, so they can capitalize on leasing opportunities but not take too many deer from the herd.
SAFE FOR NOW
The trophy buck on the right is safe for now (that’s a no-hunting sign he’s standing behind). In a time when more and more land is being reserved for non-resident deer hunters, there is less land open to resident hunters. However, leases can bring much-needed revenue to farmers and ranchers.
Josh Ghering shows the kind of "happy hunter" smile non-residents are willing to pay Kansas landowners thousands of dollars in lease fees, and that’s one reason that more and more Kansas farmers and ranchers are making money by leasing their land to hunters. But when the hunters they plan to host are not able to get a deer permit, it can cost the landowner thousands of dollars in lost lease fees.