Skip to main content

Bigger Bucks: Kansas Raises Cost of Non-Resident Deer Tags

A trip to the deer-rich state of Kansas is going to cost you more this season, a lot more. Starting this year, a non-resident deer license will increase from $315 to $415, and the cost of a required small-game license will rise from $70 to $95, for a total increase of $125, or about 33 percent.

Deer managers are continually trying to strike a balance between non-resident and resident hunters, revenue generation and quality deer. They usually do a good job.

It's the first license increase in 14 years and a necessary move, says Kansas Parks, Wildlife and Tourism spokesman Mike Miller.

Simple Economics


"We were able to hold our license fees steady since 2002 thanks in part to the growing number of deer, turkey and waterfowl licenses that were sold over the last ten or 12 years, but it got to the point that we had to increase our agency's revenue more than those other licenses could," says Miller. "Inflation has increased 30 percent since 2002, so we had to do something to keep up. An across-the-board increase was the best solution."


Reactions were mixed. Some hunters were upset with the increase while others were happy to pony up more money under the assumption that it would be used for on-the-ground habitat work or land purchases. A few, however, were skeptical. One hunter, posting as "cityhunter" on bowsite.com's discussion board, wrote, "when will it stop u guys saying well it funds wildlife i say BS, these agencies cry wolf take more and do less."

Generally, though, most hunters either supported the move or were entirely indifferent, says Miller.

"We spent seven or eight months discussing this through the media and through public hearings to gauge public sentiment and overall, there wasn't much resistance," he says. "I think people understood the challenges we were facing."

So far, deer destination states like Iowa, Illinois and Kansas have not seen a significant decline in the number of non-resident hunters seeking tags, despite license fee increases. 




Licenses fees go up everywhere, of course. And it isn't just non-residents taking a hit in the wallet. Kansas residents will pay more to hunt, as well. Small game licenses will cost $25, or about 33 percent more, and resident deer tags will also go up by a third to $40.

More Money? No Problem

Steep or not, the license fee increase hasn't slowed down interest in Kansas deer hunting. Miller says the number of non-resident applications for the 2016 season, about 24,000, was on par with last year's figures. Southeast Kansas outfitter Gene Pearcy didn't see his business suffer, either. He's getting more calls now than ever.



"Steep or not, the license fee increase hasn't slowed down interest in Kansas deer hunting."


"This was the first year in all the time I've been an outfitter that the units I hunt in have sold out of tags," he says. "People are certainly complaining about the cost, but it's not affecting their decision to hunt Kansas I think because the opportunities are so good and an extra $125 isn't that big of a deal when you consider the total cost of an outfitted hunt."

Even with the price increase, a Kansas deer tag is still less expensive than one in Iowa, where it costs a non-resident $551 to hunt deer. Miller said his agency examined surrounding states' non-resident deer license fees when they considered the fee increase so they would remain competitive.

Despite license fee increases, many outfitters have not seen a decrease in business. The extra money is just a small part of the total cost of a guided hunt.

Iowa actually raised its non-resident tags twice in the last 11 years. The first, in 2005, required non-resident deer hunters to purchase an antlerless-only tag for about $100. Three years later, the total cost for non-residents to hunt deer went up by about $140. Despite the steep price hikes, non-resident tags continue to sell out, says Iowa DNR research biologist Andrew Norton.

"Total non-resident applications went down 14 percent after the fee increase in 2005, but all the available non-resident tags sold for the archery season and most all sold for the gun season," he says. "Applications also went down after the 2008 increase, but again, overall applications have exceeded the quota for both gun and archery every year, so there doesn't seem to be too much of a concern about the cost of a tag."

Kansas is far from alone in its effort to raise more revenue. Mississippi wants to increase resident and non-resident licenses by 27 percent. It would be the state's first license hike in 23 years. Pennsylvania is also proposing an increase, and New Hampshire agreed to raise fees starting this year.

No matter how much a deer license costs, there will never be a giant buck behind every tree. However, some states do tend to produce giants, like the author's Missouri buck.

In other words, it's not just the premier deer states that are upping the cost to hunt. You'll likely be paying more bucks for bucks, whether they happen to be the giants that made Kansas and Iowa famous or the run-of-the-mill whitetails found throughout deer country.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

On Target: Tips for Handgun Hunting Accuracy

On Target: Tips for Handgun Hunting Accuracy

Dr. James Kroll provides tips for hunting whitetails with a handgun.

Creating Warm-Season Food Plots

Creating Warm-Season Food Plots

On this edition of "Deer Factory," Dr. James Kroll and Pat Hogan discuss tactics for establishing warm-season food plots.

Balance the Herd with Doe Harvests

Balance the Herd with Doe Harvests

Haynes Shelton and Dr. James Kroll discuss how proper doe harvest is critical to herd balance and health.

How to Build the Ultimate Arrow for Whitetail

How to Build the Ultimate Arrow for Whitetail

Jace Bauserman shows how to build the ultimate arrow for hunting whitetail.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

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.

Watching and studying the bucks of summer could lead to great success in this fall! Scouting and Learning from Velvet Bucks Scouting

Scouting and Learning from Velvet Bucks

Alex Comstock

Watching and studying the bucks of summer could lead to great success in this fall!

Even snow-white deer are fairly common in comparison to those that are abnormally dark in color.Rarest Whitetails Of All? Deer Behavior & Facts

Rarest Whitetails Of All?

Gordon Whittington - September 22, 2010

Even snow-white deer are fairly common in comparison to those that are abnormally dark in...

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.

See More Trending Articles

More Industry

A serial poacher will spend time behind bars after pleading no contest to six counts of failing toDeer Poacher Gets Hit with Jail Time Industry

Deer Poacher Gets Hit with Jail Time

David Hart - September 02, 2015

A serial poacher will spend time behind bars after pleading no contest to six counts of...

The discovery of five dead deer on a Kansas public hunting area has reignited a simmering debate.Depredation Tags: Are Farmers Gaming the System? Industry

Depredation Tags: Are Farmers Gaming the System?

David Hart - September 13, 2016

The discovery of five dead deer on a Kansas public hunting area has reignited a simmering...



Have you ever described something as a Hunters Free Locked Bucks, Get Charged Industry

Hunters Free Locked Bucks, Get Charged

Steve Center - December 14, 2015

Have you ever described something as a "once in a lifetime" experience? Many times we hear...

Pregnancy can't stop a hardcore woman from capturing her fall 2017 deer goals.


How many women doDeadly Determination: Hunting While Pregnant Industry

Deadly Determination: Hunting While Pregnant

Darron McDougal - December 27, 2017

Pregnancy can't stop a hardcore woman from capturing her fall 2017 deer goals. How many...

See More Industry

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