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Minutes for HB2208 - Committee on Agriculture

Short Title

Relating to the transferability of deer permits.

Minutes Content for Tue, Feb 14, 2017

Chair Hoffman opened the hearing on HB2208 at 3:34pm.

Kyle Hamilton, Assistant Revisor, Office of The Revisor of Statutes, provided an overview of HB2208 and the statutes that it affects.  (Attachment 1)  There is a Fiscal Note for HB2208.

Representative Ken Corbet, 54th District, Kansas House of Representatives, appeared before the Committee in support of HB2208.  I am here to testify in favor of HB2208 regarding landowner deer permits.  Kansas has 49 million acres of farm and ranch country, over 97 percent is privately owned.  The bill would open up millions of acres to hunting opportunities in Kansas.  Yes, it is true that Kansas owns all the wildlife, however, they provide no food, habitat, or water.  It's the farmers and ranchers who are the caretakers of wildlife in Kansas.  This simple act of allowing landowners to have landowner permits to sell will in a small way do several things.  One, it opens up accessibility to private lands that may not have ever been available.  Secondly, it allows landowners to recoup a few dollars for crop and tractor tire damages.  Lastly, it will encourage landowners who participate in this option to improve their habitat for deer and wildlife on their property.  This is a win for hunters, tourism, and Kansas.  I urge you to pass HB2208 out of committee and I urge your support on the floor.   (Attachment 2)

Mike Beam, Senior Vice President, Kansas Livestock Association (KLA), appeared before the Committee in support of HB2208.  This bill provides an additional opportunity to facilitate a fee hunting experience to non-residence of Kansas.  I am often reminded that farmers and ranchers are not just producers of grain, forage, and livestock; they are managers of natural resources - especially on privately owned land.  It's not unusual for a form or ranch family to rely on recreational services as an added income stream for their operation.  By allowing the transfer of land owner permits to non-resident hunters, this will create a more stable business environment and eliminate the frustration of our members.  (Attachment 3)

Wes Traul, Richmond KS, appeared before the Committee in support of HB2208.  He described typical agriculture and agritourism operations, the current landowner permit system and how the proposed system will provide incentives to landowners to manage their land more effectively for wildlife.  (Attachment 4)

Joe Ludlum, Kansas Farm Bureau, appeared before the Committee in support of HB2208.  The biggest challenge has been competing with the State's deer herd that often succeed in harvesting my crops.  While I have used depredation permits, I have been unable to recoup my financial losses caused by the deer.  I encourage the development of a landowner permit transfer system to nonresident hunters to help reduce the damage to by property, help offset my financial losses, and put deer meat into the food supply.   (Attachment 5)

Whitney Damron, Kansas Sport Hunting Association, submitted written only testimony on support of HB2208(Attachment 6)

Steven Westfahl, Irish Creek Outfitters, submitted written testimony on support of HB2208(Attachment 7)

Robin Jennison, Secretary, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism, appeared before the Committee in opposition of HB2208.  Deer management is a continual process to find a balance between resident hunters, non-residents hunters, maintaining quality resources, and the tolerance of society for herd size.  Kansas provides a large number of non-resident tags (21,816 of 23,092 applicants).  By comparison, Iowa, another nearby "trophy deer" state issued permits to only 6,000 of 20,000 non-resident applications.

An unintended consequence of this bill may also be regulation of the deer herd.  Resident hunters are more likely to harvest does than non-residents who are looking for a trophy.  Those who pay for hunting leases often insist that no one else hunt the same land, even for other species.  While the agency supports landowner rights, the harvest of does control the size of herd.  The Department believes that HB2208 is unnecessary and will compliance the process of receiving non-resident deer permits.  (Attachment 8)

Leland Queal, Pratt KS, submitted written testimony in opposition of HB2208(Attachment 9)

Lauren Sill, Hutchinson KS, submitted written testimony in opposition of HB2208(Attachment 10)

Matt Zumbrunn, Burlington KS, submitted written testimony in opposition of HB2208(Attachment 11)

Lloyd Fox, Vassar KS, submitted written testimony in opposition of HB2208(Attachment 12)

There were no neutrals of HB2208.

The Proponents and Opponents answered questions from the committee.

The hearing on HB2208 was closed at 4:51pm.

Chair Hoffman adjourned the meeting at 4:51pm.