For the seventh year Wildlife and Parks commissioners had a raffle at their January meeting. Lucky winners could end up raising a little money for their conservation or shooting group and, hopefully, a lot of funds for Kansas wildlife.
Seven special permits are so sold every year. The winning organization can then sell them to the highest bidder. They get to keep about 15 percent and the rest goes back to the agency for wildlife projects.
No more than one of the seven permits can be for elk and antelope, though up to all seven can be used for deer. The deer permits are good during any season, in any unit, for whitetail or mule deer.
In 2006, the program’s first year, $49,000 was raised. That was largely because Montana hunter spent about $23,000 for an elk permit. A total of about $224,000 has been raised from the program. The 2011 total was about $42,000.
Most years more than 100 groups apply for the commisioner’s permits.
Though a few sold for less than $500 the first few years, deer permits now often go for about $5,000 or more. Many are purchased because it’s a guaranteed permit that allows the taking of a mule deer buck. One year noted hunter Garth Carter drew a permit to hunt mule deer with a muzzleloader and bought a commission permit, too. It’s the only way someone can legally take two antlered bucks in the same season in Kansas. It’s the only sure way to get an elk permit. Odds of drawing an elk permit are usually more than 100 to 1.
Several years ago a Missouri hunter used one of the deer permits on a mule deer that grossed about 255 inches of antler, one of the largest taken in the world that year.
The permits, though, don’t insure success. The Montana hunter who paid $23,000 to hunt elk never saw a bull on his trips to Fort Riley. Last year’s elk permit buyer, Ed Markel, of Pretty Prairie, saw quite a few elk but no big bulls.
This year’s permit winners are -
National Wild Turkey Federation – Hays – elk
Ducks Unlimited – Wichita – antelope
Friends of the NRA – Pratt – deer
Ducks Unlimited – Topeka – deer
National Wild Turkey Federation – Iola – deer
Friends of the NRA – McPherson – deer
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation – Wichita – deer