Kansas’ deer population, which in 2011 brought in $116,442,906 in retail sales from nonresident hunters alone, is a huge source of outside revenue for the state.
The population, which currently consists of an estimated 636,000 deer, has also had bouts in the past decade with epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus and chronic wasting disease. The deer population is widely considered to be as good as any place in the country, and its continued maintenance is touted as a key part of the Kansas economy by many state officials.
“It’s a very quiet impact,” he said. “It’s not like we’re having a county fair or festival, but when these people travel into the area, they’re traveling into Anderson County or Franklin County for that particular purpose.”
He estimated each hunter spends about $600 in extra expenses on top of what they pay the outfitter to hunt. That includes groceries, gas and hunters stopping at sporting goods stores like Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shop during their trip.
“It’s a very subtle impact in that there’s not a lot of fanfare, so it has a tendency to fly under the radar,” Traul said.
He said almost all of his clients come from out of state and that his business runs about a 70 percent repeat-clientelle rate. Part of that draw is the quality of the deer population, but part of it also goes back to the services he offers.
“The deer herd is part of it, but if you don’t provide that service and make that connection, there are numerous places people can travel for a quality whitetail,” he said. “You’ve got to provide a service or they will travel to that other location. We don’t have an exclusivity on nice whitetail deer.”
In order to keep the herd in top shape, Traul also said his business puts certain limits on which deer can be taken to manage the herd, including a minimum size the hunters must agree to in a contract.
“We limit the number of people we take in any one week,” Traul said. “Most bookings are made 1 to 2 years in advance.”
To schedule a hunt with Kansas Unlimited, call (785) 835-7090 or visit its website at http://www.kansas-unlimited.com.
Read the original version of this story in its entirety at CJOnline.