Prologue: I’ve had two brothers-in-law whose personal hobbies greatly impacted my life. One was a rodeo calf roper and the other a bow hunter. Both spent enough time teaching me these pursuits that both became an enduring part of my life. I thought I was one of the guys they loved to hang with. Looking back, I realize the primary motivation was most certainly to win the favor of my sisters. None the less, I am thankful for their time and the positive impact on my life. Mike, the bowhunter, has participated in Kansas bow hunting for deer from it’s infancy through the present. He wouldn’t tell you, but he’s darn good. I started hunting with him 45 years ago. During that time, his bow has brought home a buck, any of us would be proud of, almost every single year. A little history from Mike below:
My history with Kansas deer hunting started on a hunting trip in 1966 with my dad, Ernest Lewis, a school buddy Monte Drew and his dad, Kenny. We were all novice hunters at that time, but an exciting time was had by all. No deer were harvested, but memories were made forever. Little did I know at that age that deer hunting would lead to great friends, memories and many life lessons – some good and some not so good. When deer hunting at that time you didn’t even need to wear hunter orange. We’ve we come a long way in over 50 years of deer hunting in Kansas.
Compared to other Midwestern states, Kansas’ deer hunting tradition is relatively young. The first regulated season was in 1965, when limited firearm and archery seasons were opened. Just 50 years before that, deer may have been completely extirpated from the state, because of unregulated market and subsistence hunting. The first modern firearm season was five days long, Dec. 11-15, and just 3,975 firearm permits were issued. Hunters took 1,153 deer that first year, for a 29 percent success rate. Compare that to 2014 when 123,000 hunters killed 93,939 deer (many hunters filled antlerless-only permits in addition to their either sex permit). We have come a long way and anyone interested in the history of deer and deer hunting in Kansas should check out the November/December 2015 issue of Kansas Wildlife & Parks magazine. The entire issue was devoted to history and the Kansas deer hunting tradition. Individual copies can be purchased for $2.75 by calling (620) 672-5911.
Hopefully the next 50 years will be as rewarding as the first 50 years!
Hey Mike, I haven’t forgotten the pheasant hunting after the deer hunting was finished for the morning at Cedar Bluff. Great times with great people. Blessings to you!