Kansas Mule Deer Hunting
Kansas Mule Deer hunting appears to be a great unknown across the United States.
Not only does Kansas have a good Mule Deer population covering the western 1/3 of the state there are a good number of trophy quality Mule Deer racks that many western Kansas pheasant hunters can attest to. The challenge with Association Mule Deer hunts is not the quality or number of racked Mule Deer, or the quality of the Mule Deer habitat it is the difficulty of drawing a Kansas Mule Deer tag over that of a whitetail tag. For those non-residents that draw the Kansas Mule Deer tag they have a good opportunity that should be consider their once in a lifetime chance.
To make the most of that opportunity we will assist with where to hunt giving a farm listing on known Mule Deer populations. This list will be from the MAHA partner's (Jon Nee and John Wenzel) observations throughout the year.
John, "...I still have an any deer tag [update sent to us on December 8] in which I am going to try and use on one of the Muley bucks in the attached picture...you can see three nice bucks and a small buck staying with the group of does. Notice the buck to the left that has his head down and is sneaking away to the left. That is the one I am after. I got these pictures when a bird hunter pushed them out of a piece of land next to where I was to hunt...Seeing lots of quail also. Take care, Mike
These pictures are of western Kansas Mule Deer on typical open lands Mule Deer country well known to upland bird hunters as well as a minority of deer hunters. To hunt such lands requires a patience to sit and glass superior to most Whitetail Deer hunters that find scouting and hunting in woodlots less tiresome. A fact that we recognize requires actual boots on the ground experience Mule Deer hunting to be believed. Our exposure to a handful of first time open lands deer hunters traveling from heavily wooded home states teaches us such things.
Nothing better than actual hunter pictures, even if grainy.
Kansas Mule Deer hunting is far different than the eastern slope of the Rockies or the desert southwest that has been a long time favored destination for Mule Deer hunting. And, with our two season and pre season scouting Mule Deer hunting advantage on one Kansas tag gives more opportunity than other Mule Deer regions. To this advantage is the uphill walk is much less, there are no cactus and horses are not required. For those that have gone Mule Deer hunting in the more rugged areas Kansas will seem like a hollywood hunt as it is on the great plains and it is as flat as it gets. The final advantage is our Mule Deer hunting is all on private lease land we secured for our exclusive use.
Opening below is an aerial photo, two ground level photos and a portion of a contour map of what mid-west Mule Deer habitat looks like.
The photos are of the Medicine Lodge River drainage where the Association contracts a large Mule Deer hunting ranch. The river line may look like it contains water int he aerials. What the dark line actualy is are brush and trees that grow along the edge.
This aerial photo is also deceiving as to the ease of ground navigation. While walking is easy and observation is long range this area contains over 100 draws that can hide herds without the hunter ever finding them. And, although open country, the hunter will do well by using a compass to get back to his truck without any extra walking.
This photo covers only a portion of this ranch which is just a portion of the tens of thousands of acres under lease in the Kansas Mule Deer management units where we lease land. This particular ranch has sufficient habitat and space to support 9 hunters a season for firearms and muzzleloader season. We have yet to have 9 deer hunters on this lease in a season. Archery hunters would be extremely challenged in this habitat.
This picture is of the ground in the aerial photo above. The near draw is a dry drain into a tributary along the bluffs in the far ground that then drains into the Medicine Lodge River. Seemingly of little topography each little ridgeline crossed and bend walked around yields a new view of ground hidden from any other direction. While the grass appears short and there does not seem to be much cover habitat Mule Deer seek this ground for its easy to see predator approach and easy to run surface.
This picture is of the bottom of a draw halfway between the near draw in the photo above it and the bluffs in the distance. It may not appear to be good habitat, however this is the draw with a spring. Within 25 feet of this spring in any direction along its 30 foot length it was very hard to step anywhere without stepping on deer droppings. This little valley is a small as it looks and there are many of these little twisting hideaways that cannot be easily covered from the ridge and once inside the ridge the next little valley is completely hidden.
To finally illustrate what this Mule Deer habitat is like is the contour map below. It is of a portion of the aerial photo above. The pond is a good reference point.