Long-time Hunts.Net outfitter offers high-success whitetail deer hunts in Kansas

Hunt WD3406

If you're looking to put a big whitetail buck on your wall, consider hunting in Kansas. Bucks grow big because they have a chance to grow old enough to grow bragging-size antlers, and they have outstanding nutrition due to all the fertilized cropfields.

We have been booking whitetail hunts in Kansas ever since the state opened up to non-resident hunters, and many of our customers have taken their biggest whitetails ever in the Prairie State.

This outfitter is one we have used for many years because he runs a good operation on thousands of acres of leased land in five different big game units in the northwestern quarter of the state.

Hunts.Net President Rich LaRocco hunted with him once, concentrating on mule deer (missing a 30-inch-class buck when his muzzleloader malfunctioned) and seeing some nice whitetails in the process.

At that time he advised the outfitter to pick up as much good acreage as he could and to limit the number of hunters sufficiently that hunting quality would improve from year to year. The outfitter took his advice and has built an excellent reputation on taking big bucks, relying mostly on word of mouth and repeat customers with Hunts.Net filling his few remaining openings.

This hunt consistently produces bucks in the 150s and 160s with a few in the 170s and 180s. Hunter success typically is 50 to 80 percent for bowhunters, 60 to 90 percent for muzzleloader hunters and 60 to 75 percent for rifle hunters. Some years his average buck exceeds 160. If weather is unusually warm, hunter success and trophy size drops because deer move less during daylight.

Still, we consider this a good opportunity to hunt big whitetails, and this hunt consistently yields a higher success rate and bigger bucks than the average hunt in Saskatchewan or Alberta.

His leases are in Units 1-5, where the whitetail deer population is not large but where deer are concentrated in riverbottoms, along creeks, in Conservation Reserve Program areas and small woodlots. You must apply for and draw a deer tag in an annual computer drawing. The state issues preference points to unsuccessful applicants.

The outfitter guides a handful of hunters but has found it to be productive to scout and place stands before the season for self-guided hunters. You should plan to bring one or two portable tree stands in case you want to adjust your stand locations. During the rifle season the bucks are quite nocturnal, so plan to be on stand at first and last light.

The bow hunt occurs during the rut in November, when bucks are usually concentrated in wooded riverbottoms.

The rifle season begins on the closest Wednesday to Dec. 1 and runs for 12 days.Some bucks are still chasing does during the rifle season, but hunting is more difficult then, especially if the weather is warm or the wind is at gale force. Often the bigger animals live in small thickets or cattail patches. You'll stay in a motel and eat restaurant meals at your own expense. In some cases a lease you'll be hunting might hold a ranch house, bunkhouse or cabin that is available for rent during the hunting season.

Unlike some of our whitetail hunts in Montana or Wyoming, you won't see dozens of bucks on this hunt. But if you're willing to be patient, this hunt offers a chance at a once-in-a-lifetime trophy.

The outfitter also offers spring turkey hunts, pheasant and bobwhite hunting, and mule deer muzzleloader and deer hunts.

Hunt, length

Semi-guided bow or rifle, 6 days. Stands are in place, and you'll be shown where and how to hunt.

Hunter success

Since 2003 hunter success has averaged about 65%, which is excellent considering that the outfitter insists that hunters hold out for bucks that score at least 150 B&C points. In a typical year he takes about 50 hunters and kills 30 to 40 bucks. Bowhunter success has averaged about 50%. Virtually 100% of hunters see mature bucks.

Licenses

You must apply for a permit. Unsuccessful applicants receive preference points. Click here for state license and tag prices.

Season

Price per person, hunter:guide ratio

$3,500, food or lodging. Lodging is an extra $500 for the hunt.

Whitetail trophy size

Most hunters see at least one buck that would score 150 up the 160s. The biggest deer most years score in the 170s and occasionally in the 180s and 190s. The biggest bucks in 2012 grossed 213 and 220.

Lodging/meals

Motel and restaurant meals are not included on semi-guided hunts but are included on guided hunts. On some leases you'll have the option to rent from the landowner a ranch house or cabin.Rifle season starts on the Wednesday that is closest to Dec. 1. Archery is during the rut in November. Muzzleloader season takes place in September.

Approximately 70,000 private acres scattered in Units 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Travel

The outfitter meets most hunters in Hayes, Kansas

The outfitter sets up tree stands in advance of the season. Bring extra stands if you want to move.