Kansas Deer Population: An estimated 700,000 deer in 2020 up from an estimated 674,000 in 2019 and 636,000 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. The recent population peak was around the year 2000.


Kansas Deer News

Deer population in area higher than average March 23, 2022 Kansas, Backroads News

... the spotlight survey done in early November for Deer Management Unit 8, which includes Washington County, was about 30 percent above the 5-year average for the unit... for DMU 8 showed 25 bucks per 100 does while the statewide average is 31.2 bucks per 100 does. DMU 8 is also below the state average for fawns per doe with only 22.6 fawns per 100 does versus the statewide number of 45.3 fawns per doe...


Commission Big Game Permits Awarded to Seven Kansas Non-profits February 21, 2022 Great Bend Tribune

... Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commissioners drew the names of seven lucky conservation organizations ... Seven deer permits were awarded ...


Commission Big Game Permits Awarded to Seven Kansas Non-profits February 15, 2022 Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks

... One elk, one antelope or up to seven deer permits are issued each year, depending on applicant preference... Once the permit is sold, 15 percent of the total sale price is kept by the organization...


Coyotes are thriving in Kansas despite competitive hunting events designed to reduce population September 23, 2022 Kansas, The Topeka Capital-Journal

... State estimates show the number of coyotes in Kansas has nearly tripled since the 1980s... coyotes will dine on just about anything, from deer, rodents and birds to insects ...


Population genomics of free‐ranging Great Plains white‐tailed and mule deer reflects a long history of inter‐specific hybridization 2021, Kansas. Evolutionary Applications

... Collectively, our results indicate a long history of gene flow between these species in the Great Plains, and hint at evolutionary processes that purge incompatible functional genomic elements as a result of hybridization. Surviving hybrids evidently may be reproductive, but with unknown consequences for the future integrity of these species, population trajectories, or relative susceptibility to emerging pathogens...


Deadly deer disease spreading quickly; What to know for hunting season December 5, 2021 Kansas, KSNT

... “CWD has the potential to ruin hunting as we know it over time,” Hesting said. “This is going to take a long time…decades... to date, the state’s sampled about 30,000 deer, with about 548 that have been positive. However, that number is increasing rapidly...


Crowd chases down deer in west Wichita, finally rips plastic container off its head November 24, 2021 Kansas, Wichita Eagle

... about 10 people showed up. They spotted the deer, but the first attempts of the night were unsuccessful... “I was able to grab the jug and held on for dear life, no pun intended,” ...


Don't Let the Rut be a Punch to the Gut November 2, 2021 Kansas, KRSL.com

... In 2020, Kansas experienced 9,670 deer-related accidents with an average insurance claim of nearly $5,500...


MU project studies increasing prevalence of chronic wasting disease September 13, 2021 Kansas, EurekAlert!

... “In 2009, there were only six Kansas counties with confirmed positive cases of chronic wasting disease, and by 2020, there were 32 Kansas counties with confirmed positive cases,” ..,


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..,

KDWPT to testify on bill seeking to allow transfer of landowner, tenant deer permits to nonresidents February 19, 2021 Kansas, The Topeka Capital-Journal

... 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...


Kansas man gets prison time for poaching 60 deer January 14, 2021 KSNT

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


Sharpshooting game warden frees tangled deer with a single shot, Kansas video shows January 12, 2021, Kansas City Star

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


Kansas Game Wardens Shoot Wild Doe That Family Has Been Keeping As A Pet January 11, 2021 Whiskey Riff

... 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 ...


Johnson County, Kansas, first responders rescue deer from frozen lake December 26, 2020 Kansas, KSHB

... 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 offering deer hunters free Chronic Wasting Disease testing December 2, 2020 Kansas, KSNT

... 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,” ...


'Nature can sure throw some curveballs.' Two deer die with antlers locked in Kansas October 22, 2020 Kansas City Star

... 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 ...


Lighting System Research Could Help Reduce Deer Collisions October 12, 2020 Kansas, KSAL

... 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...


Chronic Wasting Disease confirmed in cervid herd in Kansas July 14, 2020 Kansas, WIBW

... 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 deer 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 636,000 pre-hunt. About the same in 2018 and 2017. Mule deer population estimates from 51,000 in 2015 to 53,400 in 2021.

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. To support populations, significant reductions in mule deer permits for 2015 in eastern zones, some reductions in the west. Further reductions in 2016. Densest deer populations in the southeast of the state.

The population estimates in the graph below are based on information from the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks. The 2000 to 2004 total and whitetail populations and 2000 to 2005 mule deer populations are estimated using hunting data.

Over this period the mule deer population has averaged about 7% or the total. The graph below shows just the mule deer population to provide more clarity about how their population has changed.

Hunting data was used to make some of the population estimates. The graph below illustrates the historic deer harvest data taken from Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT), 1965 to 2020.

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. By 2020, 32 counties were infected. Spreading to the south and east, a wildlife biologists forecasts that deer populations could be drastically reduced in coming decades. By the end of 2021, 30,000 deer had been tested with about 548 that have been positive.

History Prior to settlement there were large herds of mule deer and white-tails were abundant in the timbered areas of eastern Kansas. "Lewis and Clark did report, in 1804, of seeing a large concentration of deer near the present site of Kansas City. Zebulon Pike found deer in east central Kansas. In 1806, Captain George A. McCall described the deer population in the vicinity of Fort Scott as plentiful." (from Deer in Kansas, p. 4). 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.


Other useful links:

Report Sick and dead deer for KDWPT at this link: surveymonkey.com/s/WHZKVNS


- Kansas Chronic Wasting Disease Map - Kansas Deer and Elk Facebook page

- Deer Damage Control Guidelines, Department of Wildlife

- Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks - Map of Reno County Deer Accidents