Corn, bean and milo fields attract deer and other hooved animals like moths to a flame. Feedlots do the same, especially during winter with extended periods of cold weather, heavy snowfall or crusty snow cover.
That’s when these creatures find natural sources of vegetation more difficult to acquire. Antelope, deer and elk are messy eaters too. They soil or destroy three to four times the forage they consume.
The answer most ag-related people consider begins with hunting. This is also one of the most effective damage-control techniques known to reduce deer damage.
Oftentimes, this remains easier said than done. It requires foresight, planning, commitment and details on the part of everyone involved. And even then, it might not be enough.
What other recourse do farmers, ranchers and landowners have when dealing with such challenges?
This might entail seeking outside help. And in this case, that might mean contacting the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
“We need to know if you’re experiencing challenges with wildlife,” says Robin Jennison KDWPT secretary. Jennison recently spoke to farmer/rancher members of Kansas Farm Bureau.
“Contact your local wildlife and parks official or call our Pratt or Topeka offices,” Jennison continues. “We’ll send someone to work with you on the best way to solve your problem.”
Kansas law provides landowners with rights to protect their property from damage by deer, but KDWPT needs to know about the incident.
There tends to be plenty of talk in rural communities among farmers, ranchers, landowners, their neighbors and sometimes everyone but KDWPT staff, says Jeff Grossenbacher who farms in Nemaha County.
“Farmers and ranchers are good about discussing challenges and problems among themselves, but they don’t always contact authorities that can help,” the northeastern Kansas corn and bean farmer says. “Tell KDWPT your concerns if you have challenges with deer, antelope or elk.”
With fall harvest swinging into high gear, this might be one of the easiest times for farmers to spot evidence of deer or antelope activity in their crops. Letting KDWPT know what is happening on cropland also helps them determine how many permits to allow hunters in the various hunting districts.
“Wildlife and Parks will not know if such damage occurs unless you tell them,” Grossenbacher says. “If you have problems, let them know.”
Sometimes, deer damage to private land occurs outside of the regular hunting season. When such incidents happen and the farmer or rancher is unable to keep the deer from causing substantial economic loss, this might justify a special control permit, Jennison says.
Landowners, farmers and ranchers can secure such control permits from KDWPT to address localized hotspots of deer damage. These permits allow landowners to kill deer outside the normal deer hunting season.
Damage control permits can be issued on a site-by-site basis after an inspection of the damage by one of the department’s district wildlife biologist. Each permit is issued for a specific number and type of deer.
For more information on antelope, deer or elk damage control permits, contact your local district wildlife biologist or the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Operations Office at (620) 672-5911 or visit ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/KDWPT-Social-Media.
John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwest Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion.