Kansas Deer Population:   An estimated 700,000 deer in 2020 up from an estimated 674,000 in 2019 and 642,000 deer pre-hunt in 2016.  About 678,000 pre-hunt in 2015 and 627,000 deer pre-hunt in 2014.   The herd was virtually extinct from 1900 into the 1950's.   Herd analysis at right. Historical Kansas deer hunting data and news archive.

Kansas Deer News

Kansas deer season dates approved for 2021-22  April 21, 2021  The Topeka Capital-Journal 
... KDWPT wildlife research biologist, indicated a 20% reduction in firearm and muzzleloader permit quotas will be recommended for this fall..,

In this presentation from March 26, 2021, Bob Hagen, KU professor in the Environmental Studies Program, shares results from two ongoing studies that have used wildlife cameras to assess mammal communities at the University of Kansas Field Station. - April 7, 2021 Kansas


... Corbet introduced similar legislation in 2019, which passed the House 63-60 but effectively died in the Senate ...

Chronic Wasting Disease found in county January 27, 2021 Kansas, Washington County News
... CWD is moving east across the state ... and it skipped a few counties to get to Washington County... deer can become infected before birth, and yearling bucks can spread the disease to new areas when they leave their mothers and search for new areas...

... charged with 139 counts, including illegal hunting and poaching of 60 whitetail and mule deer...  ordered Blick to pay $310,234 in restitution ...

... A Kansas game warden rescued two deer tangled together by their antlers from "excruciating death" by shooting a gun and breaking them apart ...

... While it doesn’t technically live on the property, she’s always around, plays with their dogs, goes in the house ...  they arrived on her property and shot the doe ...

... After making their way through 1-inch thick ice, crew members were able to remove the deer from the ice and carry the deer back to the shoreline...

... KDWPT, in collaboration with the University of Missouri, is undertaking a research project to better understand where CWD is present in Kansas and how the disease spreads...

Traffic deaths are up in Kansas November 12, 2020 KSNT News
... Last year there were more than 11,000 crashes involving a deer ... “We have seen an uptick in excessive speeding in the state since March,” ...

...  the deer died of natural causes while fighting or sparring.  Bucks spar as part of a breeding strategy to determine strength and resolve, and it usually lasts only a short while before one of the deer withdraws ...

...  The new study focuses on a lighting system for the car that illuminates a larger portion of the vehicle’s front surface .. researchers noted a big difference: the number of dangerous interactions fell from 35% to 10%.  “The deer were perhaps better able to see the vehicle rather than being blinded by the lights,”...

The hunt is on for deer in Kansas September 15, 2020 KSNT News
... Hunters killed 78,000 deer in Kansas last year. On Monday people can start hunting ... KDWPT estimates that the state has a deer population of about 700,000 ..,

Hunting preview 2020 September 9, 2020 Kansas, Kansas City Star
... The overall population is stable, maybe even slightly increasing, Jaster [big-game program coordinator]  said. The highest densities can be found in the Chautauqua Hills in southeast Kansas...

... a case of Chronic Wasting Disease in a captive cervid herd in Osage County ... CWD has been detected in wild deer populations in many western Kansas counties, however, this is the first documented positive case in eastern Kansas and the first in a captive herd since 2001...

Kansas data:  A state estimate of about 700,000 in 2020, stable to slightly increasing.  Reduced permits recommended for 2021-22.  An estimate of more than 620,000 whitetail deer in 2019 and 53,600 mule deer for a total of about 674,000 in 2019.  An increase in applications for nonresident deer permits in 2019.  Summer rains in 2016 improved fawn survival, increasing the deer population to a state estimate of about 642,000 pre-hunt.  About the same in 2018 and  2017.  Mule deer population estimates from 51,000 in 2015 to 44,893 in 2020.
     A 2018 study to look at the westward shift and possible decline of mule deer populations.  Some foot-rot disease in 2017.  Fire killed about 5 percent of deer in Unit 16 in 2016.  In 2014 and 2015, the state reduced antlerless tags and the number of days in the hunting season to increase the population and bringing the 2015 whitetail population to around 630,000 - 650,000 pre-hunt, a slow increase.   The population was below carrying capacity in 2015.  About 600,000 whitetail deer estimated pre-hunt in 2014 and 2013.   The population was trending down after three years of drought and reduced habitat resulting from less land in the Conservation Reserve Program.  In 2015 an estimated mule deer population of 51,000.  The decline continued into 2016, although there were good rainfall and food sources that year, with a rough estimate of 50,000.  T

Historic State Population Estimate (Approximate)

 Estimated from 
KDWPT graphic
 2005  536,000 
 2006 535,000
 2007 591,000
 2008 597,000
 2009 635,000
 2010 683,000
 2011 746,000
 2012 612,000
 2013 673,000
 2014 627,000
 2015 678,000
 2016 642,000
o support populations, significant reductions in mule deer permits for 2015 in eastern zones, some reductions in the west.  Further reductions in 2016. Densest populations in the southeast
    Total population after hunting estimated at 511,000 in 2012 after hunting, 550,000 in 2010. A significant outbreak of EHD in 2012, bringing average trend over the past several years down, particularly in southwest Kansas. Drought 2010 to 2012.  Hunter success around 58% in 2014.  Increasing geographic fragmentation of deer populations and increasing predatory pressure from coyotes.  
     Although mule deer were common in western Kansas by the late 1980s they are rare in many of those areas.  In general, the Kansas deer population is below carrying capacity.  Western Kansas has more CRP land and better habitat.  The rut peaks in Kansas around November 13.  The record harvest in 2001 is attributed to an significant increase in doe permits after speeds were increased on Kansas highway, resulting in more deer vehicle collisions, and an effort to reduce the deer population.
     Data Issues:  The deer harvest has fallen since the 642,000 population estimate from the state for 2016 with a smaller decrease in the number of permits issued.  A 2010 estimate based on an interview with the Kansas program manager of 350,000
     Chronic Wasting Disease    The first case of CWD was found in a captive bull elk in Harper County in 2001.  First deer detected with CWD was in northwestern Kansas in 2005.  At the end of the 2018-19 deer season, 216 deer had test positive.   As of Dec. 3, 2018, 184 positive cases.   As of November, 2016, 136 had tested positive, 80 percent in Rawlins and Sheridan counties.  Spreading to the south and east, a wildlife biologists forecasts that deer populations could be drastically reduced in coming decades.
      History  Prior to settlement there were large herds of mule deer and white-tails were abundant in the timbered areas of eastern Kansas.  Taylor and Elder report "Deer were common along wooded portions of streams and in large timbered areas as late as 1875 (Knox, 1875). Lantz (1905) reported deer as common until 1884 but considered them extinct by 1904."  By 1904 all big game animals had been hunted to virtual extinction in the state.  
     Kansas was one of the last states to restore the deer population, the only state without deer in 1947.  Sightings began in the 1950s.   An estimated 30,000 deer in 1965, the year of the first modern deer season,  after efforts to restore the deer population; deer harvest of 1504 with almost 4,000 licenses issued.  The 2013 harvest was 89,664 deer. About 52.6 percent of the white-tails were antlerless, 15.9% of the mule deer.  About 123,195 deer hunters that season.  
     Elk population of about 10,000, many in eastern Kentucky.
     Moose, one sighted in 2019, traveling down from Nebraska.  The last sighting was in the 1980s.
     Mountain Lions were gone from the state by the early 1900's, 13 verified sightings from 2007 to 2015.  Twenty confirmed sightings to 2019.