Skip to main content

Best Spots for Bowhunting Kansas Trophy Bucks

Best Spots for Bowhunting Kansas Trophy Bucks

It might be known as the Sunflower State, but Kansas also grows monster bucks by the bushel. More than 50,000 archers hunted deer there in 2014, harvesting nearly 27,000 whitetails. Of these, roughly 15,000 were bucks.

Archery season begins in mid-September and runs through December, providing plenty of time for hunters to identify and pattern deer carrying trophy antlers.

When most hunters think of Kansas, they picture unending flatlands. But the state actually has a surprisingly diverse topography, ranging from the Great Plains in the West to the Smoky Hills in the center, to the Flint Hills and Arkansas River Lowlands in the southern and eastern reaches.

roy_mccraw_realtree
Roy McCraw's 172-inch Chautauqua County bruiser taken in 2012 has everything you could ask for, and more. (Photo courtesy of Realtree)

"There are fertile soils and a good mix of natural vegetation and croplands that provide deer with ample nutrition," explains Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism deer biologist Lloyd Fox. "The state also has many acres of tall grass and CRP fields [Conservation Reserve Program] that provide perfect fawning areas."


Kansas has long had a reputation for growing monster bucks - and for good reason. The No. 6 and No. 8 non-typicals in Pope & Young both came from here.


At 264 1/8 inches, Dale Larson's non-typical has occupied the top of the Kansas records since 1998. Dale arrowed the buck during the rut in Pottawatomie County, one of the top counties for big deer. This giant, widely known as "Dagger," has 31 points, an impressive 24 2/8-inch inside spread, and a long, spiraling drop tine.

Three years after that buck fell, Brad Henry of Topeka bagged a typical state record scoring 193 7/8 inches. Brad was hunting in Wabaunsee County when the largest deer he'd ever laid eyes on walking within bow range. The buck is currently No. 13 in P&Y.

Just about every county in the state has produced at least one P&Y buck. Many have produced dozens. The counties with the most all-time entries include Butler (129), Barber (107), Comanche (87), Greenwood (74) and Sumner (73).

josh_harden_realtree
Josh Harden passed up multiple 140-class bucks during the Kansas rut to hold out for his 187-inch Booner. (Photo courtesy of Realtree)

But what's happened recently? Entries made from 2010 until now reveal bowhunters in the eastern and south-central parts of Kansas are taking the most P&Ys.

In that time span, Bourbon and Marshall counties have produced the most (17 each), with Kingman (16), Comanche and Pottawatomie (14 each), Barber (13), Butler and Coffey (12 each) not far behind. In all of these counties, adequate escape cover, ample nutrition and low hunter densities combine to provide ideal behemoth buck prospects.


"Anywhere in the eastern third of the state has potential for producing a buck that breaks the (state) record," says Marvin Whitehead, president of the Kansas Bowhunters Association. "I green score for a lot of guys who have no intention of entering their buck into the record books, so there are a lot more trophies taken than hunters realize."

bobby_johnson_realtree_edit
With over 200 deer taken by bow, Bobby Johnson's 226-inch bruiser taken in Council Grove is a testament to the quality bucks Kansas consistently produces. (Photo courtesy of Realtree)

Despite the fact more than 95 percent of the state is privately owned, there are some good options for public bowhunting. In northeastern Kansas, Tuttle Creek's 12,000 acres of walk-in hunting provide plenty of room to find mature whitetails. This area is prone to flooding in the fall, creating temporary islands where big bucks like to hide out.

Also, the 7,684-acre Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area to the southeast is a public-land whitetail haven. Thick wetlands and oak and hickory stands give deer there cover and food.

With some areas having experienced herd decline as a result of drought and/or epizootic hemorrhagic disease several years ago, it shouldn't have much overall effect on 2015 prospects, according to Lloyd Fox. But there figures to be some tweaking.


"We will make some minor adjustments in shortening or eliminating antlerless-only seasons in some units, and reduce the number of antlerless permits in other units," he notes.

Kenny Fowler Buck

Taken in south-central Kansas, Kenny Fowler's 23-point monster buck is a spectacular whitetail that demonstrates the state's trophy potential. Check out this Big Buck Profile segment from NAW TV:

For updated deer-hunting rules and regulations, including information on seasons, bag limits and quotas, visit the KDWP website. For more information on P&Y bucks taken in Kansas and the rest of North America, check out pope-young.org.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

How to Plant Food Plots on a Budget with Small Equipment

How to Plant Food Plots on a Budget with Small Equipment

Haynes Shelton debunks the common belief that you must have big, fancy equipment to plant food plots. That's simply not the case; he's how to plan and plant food plots on a budget with small equipment.

Deer Herd Health and Antler Development with Mineral Supplementation

Deer Herd Health and Antler Development with Mineral Supplementation

Haynes Shelton and Dr. James Kroll talk about how to supply your deer herd with key minerals, and how to avoid the most common mistakes.

Deer Dog: Replicating Realistic Tracks

Deer Dog: Replicating Realistic Tracks

On this edition of "Deer Dog," Jeremy Moore discusses the role scent plays when it comes to tracking and how to incorporate it into your training.

Alternative Season Whitetail Hunt

Alternative Season Whitetail Hunt

Mike Clerkin is hunting the alternative weapon whitetail season in Missouri with his S&W revolver.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The X-6000 series is the latest top-notch wireless trail camera option from Moultrie.Wireless Whitetail Work: Moultrie Mobile Does it All Accessories

Wireless Whitetail Work: Moultrie Mobile Does it All

Haynes Shelton - November 02, 2020

The X-6000 series is the latest top-notch wireless trail camera option from Moultrie.

Making an extreme move to another state to chase public-land bucks worked out for Jake Bush.Would You Relocate Just to Hunt Big Deer? Whitetail

Would You Relocate Just to Hunt Big Deer?

Josh Honeycutt

Making an extreme move to another state to chase public-land bucks worked out for Jake Bush.

The right arrow for your setup will boost your whitetail body count. Building The Ultimate Whitetail Arrow Bowhunting

Building The Ultimate Whitetail Arrow

Jace Bauserman

The right arrow for your setup will boost your whitetail body count.

So easy to make, this Venison Queso Dip Recipe can be whipped up in as little as 30 minutes.Venison Queso Dip Recipe Venison Recipes

Venison Queso Dip Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

So easy to make, this Venison Queso Dip Recipe can be whipped up in as little as 30 minutes.

See More Trending Articles

More United States

Arkansas doesn't quite know where it is. Or, to put it more accurately, many people are unsure howWhere to Hunt in the South? Try Arkansas. United States

Where to Hunt in the South? Try Arkansas.

Gordon Whittington - January 27, 2017

Arkansas doesn't quite know where it is. Or, to put it more accurately, many people are unsure...

Few whitetail addicts who live outside Massachusetts think of it as a good place to pursue PopeDon't Underestimate Massachusetts Bowhunting United States

Don't Underestimate Massachusetts Bowhunting

Gordon Whittington - February 15, 2018

Few whitetail addicts who live outside Massachusetts think of it as a good place to pursue Pope

For a state over 400 miles wide, with whitetails found in numbers from one end to the other andThe Scoop On Bowhunting in Tennessee United States

The Scoop On Bowhunting in Tennessee

Gordon Whittington - October 16, 2017

For a state over 400 miles wide, with whitetails found in numbers from one end to the other and

I vividly remember the moment I first laid eyes on a Pope & Young whitetail in the suburbs ofYour Guide to Bowhunting in Georgia United States

Your Guide to Bowhunting in Georgia

Gordon Whittington - June 07, 2017

I vividly remember the moment I first laid eyes on a Pope & Young whitetail in the suburbs...

See More United States

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the North American Whitetail App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All North American Whitetail subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now