Kansas Muzzleloader Deer Hunting
Ronnie on open land.
Kansas muzzleloader deer hunting is a split season.
The first season is the early muzzleloader only season starting in late September.
The second season starts the Wednesday after Thanksgiving and runs for 12 days.
Early Kansas Muzzleloader Season - Warm Weather
The clothing and foliage gives this picture away as a September Kansas muzzleloader deer harvest. This hunter travels to multiple states using his Mid-America Hunting Association membership as a means to manipulate where he hunts and for which season or deer species for that matter. His picture with successful trophy deer harvest appears in the archery and modern rifle sections as well. Shannon is a deer hunter that enjoys all forms of deer hunting. This muzzleloader picture is just one example of the hunts he has made for himself.
How Muzzleloader Season Fits Into Mid-America Hunting Association
Within Mid-America Hunting Association's approach to self guided hunts on private land leases each member/hunter may hunt both the muzzleloader only early season and the second modern firearms season.
Perhaps the greatest value this one tag, two season license allows is the ability to plan sequential rather than overlapping hunts when applying or buying home state or other non-resident tags.
Association Hunter Feedback
Dear MAHA Staff,
I thought I would give you a short update. Dad and I hunted [location deleted] as you had suggested. We scouted one of the farms 2 weeks earlier and found a large amount of buck sign. This weekend, the farm was nearly devoid of active scrapes. The weather had warmed and this seemed to stifle the rut. Also, the soybeans were harvested last week and it seemed that the doe had left at about the same time. Several of the neighbor's properties had good looking alfalfa and I suspect most of the doe were over there. Opening morning, I had a decent 130 inch buck trot past my stand at about 50 yards. I wasn't happy with the shot so I let him pass. Dad saw several bucks he figured in the 130 inch range but as usual, he pardoned them.
Sunday morning, the wind had changed. I wasn't happy with the wind direction and where my stand was placed, I decided to do some still hunting on the creek bottoms. I posted on a ridge top until sunrise and then made my way across several creek bottoms. At approximately 8:30, I spotted a very nice buck upwind of me about 50 yards in the bean stubble. I was of course, on the ground, standing behind a very large elm tree. He could either go down into the creek bottom or stay on the bean stubble. Either way it would be a close shot. He decided to go into the bottoms. Unbeknownst to me is that he was following 2 does. I watched the doe for 15 minutes upwind at about 30 yards, but no sign of the buck. He finally appeared in the bottoms. I watched him and the 2 does for the next 30 minutes, which seemed like 2 hours. It then dawned on me that I was standing on a deer trail and sooner or later one of the does was going to bust me! Talk about panic!
The 3 of them slowly worked my way, and sure enough, one of the does decided to come up the ridge. She took one look at me and ran off with a loud snort. She stopped about 30 yards away in the brush. I thought that perhaps she would calm down. No such luck. She had seen enough and took off. The buck watched as the doe left at MACH 4. It was then time for him to leave. As most big bucks do, he was slow and methodical and was surveying the situation. I only had 1 shot through the brush if he exited the creek bottom where he entered. As luck would have it, he did. I took him at 50 yards. 15 score-able points.
Not very wide but great mass on this big main frame 10 pointer. His Gross Score was 164 3/8! My biggest to date! Definitely a buck of a lifetime! As an ER doctor, I thought I was going to need a defibrillator!
Thanks to all of the MAHA staff who makes the Association the best! I can't wait until spring! [name deleted]
Pre-Rut Deer Hunt
The Kansas muzzleloader season value to some is the early season allowing a hunt on pre-rut or bachelor group bucks. A different set of deer behavior is experienced and different hunting techniques required.
Kansas September muzzleloader only deer season is a pre-rut bachelor group deer hunt. That by itself means much to those that have scouted during this time period. As most deer hunters have not the opportunity to scout let alone hunt any bachelor group bucks that by itself leads to as much deer hunting failure as success.
The characteristics of the bachelor deer groups are far distinct from that of rut deer behavior. It is also usually beyond the past experience of most deer hunters.
The late summer/early fall deer are separated by sex and move very little outside of the bedding, feeding and water source area. Having those three elements within a small area are the points to scout. All the more so when these elements in a small area that are isolated from human observation and activity such as roads or farm yards.
Farm field activity is very low at this time of year as by September fertilization, spraying and such have long since been accomplished. The landowners by this time are simply waiting for crop maturity for harvest. The deer having little human contact during September. They are quick to respond to any deer hunter/scouting pressure.
Food First, Cover Second
The key Kansas deer food sources at this time of year are soybean and Bur Oak acorns.
The Kansas muzzleloader deer seasons transcend these two deer food sources in terms of desirability and availability. The time line follows that by early September the soybeans are reaching the mature stage and are at peak succulence as a deer forage. Soybeans compete for deer attraction along with crop field edge browse leaf matter as all should always remember deer are browsers, not grazers feeders. Their feeding on soybeans is as a browse. Observation along most deeper wood edge along a soybean field will show that the tips are nipped off, not the entire plant is consumed as in grazing.
The combination of soybean field edge along with wooded edge combines the early to mid-September deer food sources. Put that soybean and brush edge along a creek bottom with water and some spots of heavier low to deer body level cover away from human encroachment and that is a prime September deer scouting and hunting spot.
Sometime from mid September through the third week in September the Kansas Bur Oaks will drop their acorns. This signals the first of the summer to fall Kansas deer pattern change.
Once the acorns start to drop and they take more than two weeks to do so, the deer will move from the soybean fields to the acorns. This brings the next deer scouting point of combining a soybean field, with brush edge, with water to that of a stand of Bur Oaks, and Kansas has plenty of Bur Oaks to be found.
Aerials will then make finding the deer isolation spots easier asa pre-on-the-land scouting effort. Scouting would then be to these spots and what cover connects them. If not narrowing down the scouting effort in this manner the hunter will soon find himself overwhelmed by available acreage. there is simply too much land to scout. If not first developing such a plan to limit the amount of land covered that hunter will then spend more time on less productive walking.
Then Reproductive Motivated Deer Behavior
The acorns are one more mark that tells when deer behavior transcends to the early phases of the rut. By the last weekend in September it is common to find rubs. These are true rut rubs as by early September the velvet has been rubbed off. Once the rut kicks in the bachelor deer groups break apart and the entire deer pattern changes and does so typically not later than the earliest part of October.
Foot First, Stand Second
A secondary effect of this discussion relative to Kansas' September muzzleloader deer season is that the self guided deer hunter hunts best by foot and not deer stand.
Many that travel to deer hunt execute a deer scout/hunt combination. This includes being on a deferent deer lease each morning and afternoon of the first part of the deer hunt. A slow walking/deer scouting approach on each until finding a bachelor group. Only after finding first a bachelor group of bucks and then a group that has a wall hanger does the deer stand enter the picture.
Bringing out the deer stand is a means by which to gain first standoff and then shot opportunity of interdicting the bachelor group movement. That daily deer movement during the first part of the September muzzleloader season will be habitat driven by feeding, loafing and watering schedule rather than reproduction driven movement as during the rut.
At this point we remind ourselves and the hunter reading this article that we are not a hunting training or hunter trainer organization. We are in the hunt execution mode only. The discussion above is only meant to show just to what extent we offer a range of hunt options.
This aerial is of a square 1/2 mile of one deer lease. The "B" marks where we believe from recurring scouting the September bachelor group bucks, 4 on this farm, bedded and the "S" marks where we found a fresh scrape the end of the first week in September. One of the bucks was a true trophy while the others will make a better rack next season.
What is significant about this buck group and this terrain is how nondescript their movement, the overall terrain, the bedding site location and the various places we observed the bucks moving as a group. This exemplifies how the muzzleloader deer hunter is well advised to put aside preconceived ideas about whitetail deer behavior during the early Kansas September deer season.
Most of the in-the-field pictures on this web site come from pocket cameras of chance opportunity. We take the picture we can and hope it does not turn out too badly.
We found them ambling along infrequently browsing, using a small number of trails, traveling in a circular pattern within the wood areas and at variable times.
Finding these bachelor groups requires the deer hunter to scout a lot of ground. Over four of six separate days of scouting we found the bucks within the wood line not more than 300 yards from their bedding area. For any of us finding any particular 300 yard area within the vast acreage of land we lease will require scouting every day all day long until the bucks are found. Something contrary to the deer stand hunting method the majority of hunters practice to include those with muzzleloader deer hunting experience during other times of the season.
Muzzleloader deer season is a good example of when trophy deer are easy to see and tough to put in the truck.
More About The September Kansas Muzzleloader Season
Kansas Muzzleloader Deer hunting season in September is a unique whitetail deer hunting experience for many new to the mid west. So much so we have captured on this page that which has been frequently brought to our attention by experienced deer hunters on their first Kansas September self guided deer hunt. These experiences are unique to the September season only and are offered only as idea builders.
One note about this early or pre rut Kansas deer season is that late summer scouting pays off as the trophy whitetail deer scouted in August remain where they are through the September muzzleloader deer season. For those that secure a Kansas muzzleloader deer tag we will have the exclusive use private Kansas lease land for more deer hunting on your own than anyone can hunt.
Awake at 4AM, in deer stand by 5AM, hunting 12 hours of daylight. 8PM walk out after dark. Drive back to the motel and refit for the next day. Get to bed by 10PM. Awake at 4AM and start the deer hunt over again. As this is a dry month for Kansas muzzleloader daily maintenance is minimal. On rain days add another 40 minutes of muzzleloader maintenance.
By the third day of 6 hours a night sleep the deer hunter has now come under threat of falling asleep in deer stand during the Kansas' 90+ degree days. This muzzleloader deer season is one of the few occasions when the deer hunter begins to look forward to winter's cold.
The deer hunter after the first day realizes the futility of the sweat soaked scent control suit. It will be left in the truck. An extra bottle of water added to the pack for the remainder of the hunt. By 10AM, when the squirrels settle down to sleep, the sweat from the likely 90 degree sun causes sweat to soak socks inside rubber boots as well.
While it may appear we have overemphasized the warm weather of this early Kansas season that emphasis mirrors that of the deer hunters who contributed to this article. This includes one of the Association partners, John Wenzel, who hunts the Kansas September muzzleloader season. His choice for this deer season is the weather and the bachelor buck activity. This season also leaves open the colder winter months for quail and pheasant hunting.
Awake at 4AM and get to the stand by 5AM. Hunting until 10AM when the day's heat puts the deer down. Move a stand and unroll a sleeping mat. Put the gun up and nap until 4PM, get into the new deer stand and hunt the evening until dark. Get back to the motel and asleep by 10PM. Wake at 4AM with enough sleep from the night and the noon time nap to be alert and safe to deer hunt again.
During season deer scout and hunt.
On the first morning of the hunt prepared a tree stand and hunt until 10AM. At mid morning walk that property to determine the presence or not of trophy quality bachelor group bucks. If so, find a stand to interdict their late morning and early evening movement. If not call in and reserve another property and scout/hunt it through the afternoon.
If that next lease has some bucks stick with it for the next day's reservation. If not reserve another property and scout/hunt it repeating this process until discovering one or more trophy whitetail deer or groups and stick with that lease until harvest.
The early September Kansas muzzleloader deer season is further distinguished by scent control.
Dress cool as a sweat soaked carbon scent control suit have limited utility. Cover scent rather than containment is more useful. Also, leaf cover is thick reducing available light in the woods. A scope on the muzzleloader all the more valued. Attracting scents, decoys and grunts or bleats have little value during a pre rut deer hunt.
Misquotes and ticks are generally done or well on the decline for the Kansas September muzzleloader deer hunting. Exceptions are during a cool summer while in the creek bottoms that have dried into standing pools of water. Bug jacket and head net should be included on the packing list.
A some years one annoyance is the cicada. On bad years this bug will come in waves making enough noise to deafen out all other sounds.
What is described above is what many do it yourself muzzleloader deer hunters new to our Kansas September deer season have commented on as being most un-prepared for. Nothing that would kill a hunt. But better to learn from others than by adverse first hand experience.
Bachelor Group Bucks - Still More Detail
Kansas muzzleloader deer hunting September season is a deer hunting opportunity not frequently found outside of Kansas. A chance for deer hunting the pre-rut bachelor group buck. A type of deer hunt not too often written about in deer hunting magazines or books for both reasons of its difficulty and lack of rut activity.
This Kansas deer season's challenges the do it yourself deer hunter with the gun of choice itself. It is also one of behavior. This bachelor group buck avoiding doe areas, is lazy and conducts mock scrape activity. All of which can bring advantage to deer hunter not found during other hunting seasons or other states. Or, it may be a source of great deer hunting frustration. Overall, this early Kansas deer season gives one more deer hunting option in addition to all the other hunts we offer.
Avoiding contact with the small deer family and doe groups makes seeing any number of doe during this early Kansas muzzleloader deer season a bad sign. The bucks will bed, feed and move with other bucks. While avoiding doe areas may not accurately describe this deer behavior it is clear that the separation between the sexes is every bit as discrete as may be seen during any part of the entire year.
Bucks in bachelor groups appear to have a very small range of movement, largely centered on their single bedding area. Deer movement at this time is largely made to feed and water. There is some general movement during late mornings seemingly based on boredom rather than any survival need. Water, in mostly dry Kansas, is a deer scouting and hunting key point. If not included in any scouting plan then that time on the land is less effective.
Deer movement to feeding areas occurs well before nightfall. The long daylight hours appear to bring on an earlier desire to move. This limited daily deer movement necessitates scouting a larger amount of base acreage. However, even with these requirements Kansas early September muzzleloader deer hunting has the overwhelming advantage of habitual buck behavior. This deer behavior is such that interdiction after scouting is evident to even the casual observer/deer hunter. Or, meaning once detected if not busted by the hunter that same pattern will repeat.
That Food Thing Again
Favored deer food sources include alfalfa and clover as well as acorns that fall in middle September. Soybeans will also get some attention during this period, but begins to wane when the acorns drop. However, it is the browse rather than graze the deer will feed on most.
This feed behavior is no small point about the September season. Deer will feed regularly and during the long daylight hours. Hunting between the feeding and bedding areas either in stand or on the ground does payoff far more so than during any rut hunts.
Mock scrape activity is by far the most interesting whitetail deer behavior seen during this early Kansas season. Much of it also unique to a daylight activity.
Rarely, are these September deer scrapes maintained through October. This does appear to be behavior without clear motivation except to the human mind as boredom relief. Observing such behavior during the Kansas September season with muzzleloader in hand simply adds to the deer hunting adventure of being in the field.
Best Scout and Hunt
Kansas September muzzleloader deer season is most direct connection between deer scouting and hunting there does exist. Finding a group of two to four bucks moving together, locating their bedding, feeding areas and their water source allows for the summer scouting effort to pay off more than any other deer hunting season. The payoff is where deer are seen in August they are still there in September. Not until the first of the rubs begin to show at the very end of September do the bucks begin their wider area movement pattern typical of the rut.
The bucks found with velvet on their racks during summer scouting will very likely be in the same area in September having rubbed their velvet before muzzleloader deer season comes around. Finding a September rub further reinforces the hunter has found the right area for a September muzzleloader deer hunting experience unique to Kansas compared to other states and the time of the year.
For those that cannot pre-season scout, a combination deer hunting and scouting trip is viable. What makes it this way is that this September deer season is when walking up the bucks is a primary means of getting within shot range. This buck has no motivation to move to the hunter. Contrasted to a peak rut deer hunt where the hunter is dependent upon a hot doe to move the bucks. This September deer season is where the hunter expresses or not prime trophy whitetail deer finding skills. While this may seem an advantage to be able to maneuver in on a trophy whitetail the equalizer is the thick foliage cover limiting shooting range.
Minority Hunter Activity
Muzzleloader deer hunting is a minority deer hunt in the overall scheme of hunters. Even with the chances of being awarded a tag from our two draw states is higher than for modern gun deer tags. In the case of the Kansas muzzleloader deer tag the unique opportunity to hunt bachelor group bucks is frequently the draw for those that seek a more diverse experience within the deer hunting discipline.
Another Deer Hunting Experience
Getting the muzzleloader deer tag will allow the hunter yet another option to refine his skills. This is so during a deer hunting season with a whitetail behavior pattern foreign to most deer hunters. With this one more deer hunting option the Association hunter is left to argue with himself as when and where to deer hunt. The deer hunter's choice is not limited to just one state, one hunting season or one lease. Within our organization we give the do it yourself deer hunter the opportunity to truly make his own deer hunting success. That success we have observed through the years come from being able to hunt the buck of choice through covering ground. Mostly Association deer hunters will hunt 3 to 5 farms before finding that buck. That is the nature of deer hunting. A contrast that leads to more tags in pocket than on deer would be to hunt but one spot and hope a buck shows up.