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A Comprehensive Guide

% Public Land
Species Available
# of Hunters

2024 Kansas Big Game

Kansas is known for producing big farmland bucks and for having good turkey hunting. A small population of elk can be found on the Fort Riley military base and several hunts are offered every year. Pronghorn can be found in the southwestern part of the state and offer an opportunity for residents and landowner/tenants to chase the curious speed goat. Hunters shouldn't be intimidated by the small percentage of public land as Kansas has one of the largest private access programs, called Walk In Hunter Access (WIHA), that provides access to hundreds of thousands of acres in the western 2/3rds of the state.

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Species to Hunt



Whitetail Deer


Spring Turkey                                                    February 9th

Nonresident Deer                                              April  26th

Resident Firearm Either Species                      June 14th

Elk and Pronghorn                                            June 14th

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Over the Counter Hunts

Over the counter opportunities vary by residency. Kansas residents can hunt deer and turkey over the counter in the most of the state. Some exceptions exist: for instance, Unit 4 Spring turkey hunts are issued by limited draw. All white-tailed deer hunts are over the counter as are mule deer muzzleloader and archery hunts. However gaining the opportunity to hunt mule deer with a firearm requires drawing a license. Residents can also hunt pronghorn with archery equipment via OTC license. Elk found off Fort Riley in an open unit can also be taken with an over the counter license and some do stray off base every year.

Nonresidents hunts have all moved to a draw system. The only exception to this is if a nonresident can qualify as a landowner or tenant. If they meet the requirements then they can purchase deer and turkey licenses over the counter.

Limited Entry Hunts

Limited draw hunts are in place for turkey, deer, elk and pronghorn. In 2024 all nonresident Spring turkey hunts moved to a limited draw. Deer licenses have been a limited draw for some time. Nonresidents must apply for a white-tailed deer license. If drawn, they can elect on their application to be entered into a mule deer permit drawing if applying to a western unit which has permits available. Nonresidents cannot draw a pronghorn unless they qualify as a landowner or tenant. They could only apply for elk if they are an active military member stationed at Fort Riley.


A draw is in place for residents wanting to hunt turkey in Unit 4 or chase mule deer with a firearm. In addition, elk hunts on base are all issued through a drawing and pronghorn hunts using muzzleloader or firearms also require drawing a license. Kansas uses several draw systems that are explained below.

The Draw

Kansas uses several draw systems across limited draw hunts. Each is explained in turn below.

Random Draw

The nonresident Spring turkey draw used a completely random draw as do nonresident Mule deer permits. In this draw each applicant for a unit has the some odds of drawing as every other applicant. 1st choice applications are drawn at random until either the entire quota is used up or all 1st choice applicants were awarded a hunt. If there is quota remaining, 2nd choice applicants are considered. This process repeats until the entire license quota is issued.

Preference Point Draw

Pronghorn and deer limited drawings (resident and nonresident) use a preference point system to allocate licenses. In a preference point system, a hunter can build preference points each year they are unsuccesful or purchase a point without entering the draw. When applying to the draw, 1st choice applicants for a hunt are then ranked from those with the greatest number to those with the least. Licenses are awarded in this same order until the entire quota is given out or all 1st choice applicants have been awarded licenses.

Bonus Point Draw

Elk licenses are issued using a bonus point system. In a bonus point system, every applicant has an opportunity to draw a license but the improve with the number of bonus points an applicant has. In Kansas, each bonus point gives an applicant another entry into the drawing and therefore another additional opportunity to draw a license. A quirk of Kansas's draw is that there are two stages to the draw. First all residents applications are pooled and 100 are drawn using the bonus point system. Then military applications are pooled with the 100 resident applications drawn and a second draw is run across using bonus points to award elk licenses.


Every hunt limited draw hunt in Kansas has a quota which is the maximum number of licenses to be issued for a hunt. Depending on the hunt, quotas are hunt for species/weapon type. Pronghorn quotas are split 50% to residents and 50% to landowner tenants. Unlike other states where nonresident quotas are determined by draw demand, Kansas sets the quota prior to the hunt.

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