By Adam Parr –
Just when you think you have it all figured out, plans change due to unforeseen circumstances. Long story short, I was not drawn for a Kansas whitetail tag for the upcoming 2016 archery season and I’m bummed, to say the least. Well, I guess I can say not getting drawn was not unforeseen but it was certainly something that was out of my control. Kansas has been my “go to” state for the last two seasons and ever since that first hunt almost three years ago, I’ve been in love. Although my number one focus in 2016 is the September archery elk season in Colorado, I can’t imagine not hunting whitetails come late October when the rut starts kicking in.
Last Summer I spent a few days knocking on doors in Western Kansas and picked up two good farms to hunt for 2015. After learning the properties and understanding the general deer movement from the first season, I was hoping to put that intel to good use for this coming Fall. I will miss that I’m not going to be able to build a history with the deer I encountered from the year before. I will sincerely miss hanging trail cameras, scouting, and hanging tree stands for the upcoming season. And above all, I will miss the relationships I’ve developed with the landowners who were so great to me, welcomed me openly into their homes, and made me feel like a part of their family.
Ok enough with the pity party… shit happens and life goes on! I’ve come up with a few options to consider for the 2016 deer season:
Purchase a Left Over Kansas Tag
This seems like the ideal scenario on paper but the problem is that it would require an eight-hour drive as compared to my five-hour drive last season, making the weekend hunts tough to manage due to a full-time job. The units that I want to hunt have zero leftover tags and I will have little time to scout due to the upcoming elk season.
I also have to consider the monetary costs of this tag in addition to the time spent traveling. This tag costs $550 which is a lot of money to spend for just a few opportunities to hunt.
Read more about my successful 2015 Hunting Season in Kansas.
Purchase a Nebraska OTC Tag
The area I have been scouting via Google Earth in Nebraska is roughly a six-hour drive from where I live, which means it will be manageable for weekend hunts. Nebraska also holds a good amount of public land and is known for great deer hunting. The downfall is that hunting pressure will be higher and private land would be harder to gain access.
Another thing to consider is that the Nebraska rifle season falls right in the middle of November, giving me a small window to hunt before the orange army moves in. A positive is that a non-resident tag only costs around $300, which is a pretty good deal in my mind.
Hunt an OTC Unit in Colorado
Colorado implemented an OTC whitetail tag for select units on the front range a few years back and it would only be a three-hour drive to the areas I am looking at. The downfall to this is that the season only runs December 1 – December 31, meaning I would miss the rut. Also, the whitetail densities in these units are low so my whitetail sightings would be few and far between.
The good thing is that the price for a resident tag would be a very low cost of around 25 dollars!
Hunt IL On Highly Managed Private Land
I have access to hunt a number of farms in West Central Illinois where the deer hunting is unreal and the stands are already set. Literally, all I have to do is purchase a tag and show up! The negative to this scenario is that I would not be able to hunt multiple outings because I live so far away, meaning I would only have 1 week to whitetail hunt this year. Also, I really enjoy the challenge and take pride in the work that goes into hunting new farms and/or public land.
I’ve been trying to wrap my head around what I’m going to do for this Fall and I’m hoping that by writing this article it will help me make my decision. The good thing is that I have a few months to decide. In fantasy land, I would hunt 10 states and take off three months of work to do so, but the reality is that I have limited time and resources so I am forced to choose.
I’m also considering doing the IL hunt in November and then trying my luck with the OTC tag in Colorado where I can hunt the post-rut during December. In this scenario, I would get an awesome week of the whitetail rut and have a closer drive and cheaper tag for late season Colorado.
What are your thoughts? Leave me some words of advice in the comments section below!