• 2014 Deer Season Summary Letter

  • Paradise Adventures - Deer Season 2014

    OK folks, all and all we had another great season. Welcoming new hunters and enjoying warm embraces from familiar faces of seasons gone by makes it all worth while. The weather was mixed as usual with warm spells and cold spells. But a small part of bow season was down right miserable for everyone, especially the hunters, with light snow and well below normal temperatures. It was some of the coldest temps we have ever experienced during bow season. It reminded me a lot of last years gun season, brrrr! The guys were tough though and stuck it out. But I can say one good thing about it, when the cold air hit, the rut kicked into high gear. I am not sure that I have ever witnessed such a change in deer activity so quickly. It went from seeing very little happening, to bucks chasing doe’s everywhere within a day or so. I always knew that the temperatures had a lot to do with it and that cold snap sure backed up that notion. We still noticed that our peak rut action continues to happen around the 15th thru 18th of Nov no matter what. Another thing that we had to deal with was two full moons this season and that also impacts the deer movement significantly. We had our first full moon on the 6th of Nov and the second one on the 6th of Dec. Wasn’t that a coincident, and it doesn’t seem to matter wether it is cloudy or not, they still prefer to move mostly during the nighttime hours. We really noticed that during rifle season. The rut was for the most part completely over and there was just not much happening out there in the daylight hours. It didn’t seem to matter where we put our hunters, it turned out to be long, quiet days. A couple guys were lucky though and happened to be in the right place at the right time opening day and were done early with big smiles on their faces. I am sure that it is a big relief to get it done early in your hunt and be able to relax for a few days. But it just doesn’t happen for everyone that way. Usually more than a couple end up setting all 6 days watching and waiting. But like I said in the beginning of this letter, we still feel we had a great season and I know we had as much fun as a bunch of guys and gals can possibly have. Mike and I may be getting old, but we still know how to have a lot of fun. Here at Paradise it is much more than just hunting. Its like having a big family reunion every year for about 5 weeks.

    Well, the bow hunters started showing up on the 5th of Nov. Eight of them to be exact. The first group were mostly from the Long Island area or near by. All 8 had shots but only 6 were fatal. Gary Galati shot the biggest of that group once again on his last day and it scored 159 7/8 inches and had a 7 1/2 inch drop tine. It was a great buck with lots of character. Our second group of 11 arrived mostly on the 14th and there were 9 hunters from NY and 2 from PA. With several new faces in the group we made sure they felt like part of the family right away. Several of the guys were from previous years and within seconds the busting of each others chops and laughter began. Once again I was told by several guys this year that the buck is just the frosting on the cake, it's the good times we have, “That’s priceless”.

    I must tell you the story about one of the guys of this group. Although I could tell many stories about each guy in this group, especially the one they called “Garnsey,” what a hoot he was. Whoa! Can’t wait to see him again next season. Anyway, in this group we had a gentleman by the name of Jim Sherman who is a retired judge. Jim is getting up there in the years but you really couldn’t tell it by the way he held his ground so to speak, very perky. You would never guess his age. Anyway he came in one day and said that he was getting a little nervous up in a tree stand and figured it was time to call it quits. And to be honest he was satisfied with doing just that, even though my guide Coey offered him a ground blind made of hay bales that he could set in and shoot his cross-bow out of he still politely refused and called it quits. He seemed happy on the outside just setting in the camp waiting for the other guys to tag out. But I could feel the sadness inside. Well, I had gone home that morning to help my lovely wife load up her van with lots of goodies to take to work that day. As I was heading back to camp around 8AM I had this thought come to me that I could not let Jim just set around camp for several days. For one thing I don’t like quitters. Especially when in my heart I knew that he was quite capable of doing what he needed to do. In this case the “Judge” was just being nice and did not want to bother us for going to a little extra work of setting up a ground blind for him. So he just said, “No, I’m good”. Wrong answer judge. When I arrived back at camp he was setting and the table having a cup of coffee. I walked over and put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Hey Judge, I have been thinking of all the times you had to tell people where to go and or what to do, you know, being a judge for so long. You know what, this time it is my turn, I told him. As I speak my brother is out scouting a place just for you. Coey and I are going to go out and load up some hay in the pickup and in the meantime you are going out to shoot your cross-bow. He immediately stated that his cross-bow was broken. I said,”Well, that excuse is not going to fly today because it just happens that I have a brand new one and we will have it ready in just a few minutes. Then I would like for you to shoot it a couple times to get familiar with it, are you OK with that? He sat there quietly for a few seconds. Then he turned to me with a big grin on his face and said, “OK!” Now to make a long story short. Several of us headed out to the spot my brother had picked out and commenced to making the ground blind and clearing shooting lanes. It was probably about 11:30 AM, give or take a few, when we left the judge setting comfortably in his little hay blind with a huge smile on his face. I am sure he was thinking we were nuts and there was no way a deer would come anywhere near this place where so many people had tread the area getting this spot ready for him. As we left I told him, just be patient and try not to fall asleep. He assured us he would do just that. Well, God is good. No, God is GREAT! At around 4:30 PM Judy’s phone rang. It was Jim the judge. He said, “Get over here quickly, I got one down, but I have to hang up because I am about to pee my pants.” CLICK. Everyone was ecstatic with joy and laughter. I grabbed my video camera as we headed out the door and jumped in our trucks. As we pulled into the wheat field we could see the judge standing along the wood line eagerly waiting our arrival. As we pulled up to him I grabbed my camera and starting filming immediately. I knew this was going to be a very special time for all of us. This is a, must see, video that is on our web site and this will show you why we continue to do this crazy job called, Outfitting. If this video don’t warm your heart, nothing will. Jim, at his young age of 75 harvested his biggest buck of his lifetime and had a smile on his face that all of us will never forget and you won’t either once you see the video. We will also never forget the criticism he gave us as we headed a short distance to retrieve his buck. I guess that was just the “Judge” in him speaking out. To watch this video and get the rest of the story, go to our web site, kansasparadiseadventures.com, look for video’s on the Home page. This one will be named of course, “The Judge.” Then you will know, “The rest of the story”.

    Our next five hunters arrived on the 18th of Nov and were from NY and NJ. All were return hunters but three of them have been coming out for at least 12 years. Post rut action was happening and things were still very exciting in the woods. As I was dropping off a couple guys for the first evening hunt we drove up to a spot and a doe was standing there in a meadow. The guys said they saw another deer walk into the woods but was not sure what it was. As we watched the doe trot off a huge buck stepped out and chased after her. The guys were peaking at that point with excitement. I put Burt in this spot but as luck would have it the buck never came back. In fact, Burt hunted very hard in a few different stands for 6 days and never did get a shot. He and three other bow hunters during the season hunted very hard, but unfortunately none of the four ever got a shot. I am sad for these guys, but past experience tells me that there are always going to be a few guys every year that this happens too. We just never know who it's going to be. Still out of 24 bow hunters 20 of them got a shot at a buck and 15 of them harvested one. Five guys had at least one shot and three of them had two shots at bucks but never harvested a one.

    Now I must tell the story about my buddy from Jersey. He called me up a few days after he left and said he was so excited to see that he had finally made the front page of my photo album page on our web site. After around 12 years of hunting with us he finally harvested a world class buck. He has taken many bucks here but this one is truly a monster. With 19 score-able points Jerry Lesch’s buck scored 196 6/8 inches and weighed in at 210 lb. Jerry shot this buck on Wed the 19th and hit him about 2 inches below his heart slicing him open with his broadhead right on the bottom of his brisket. At that point he was heart broken to see the buck trot away. But Jer was determined to stick it out there for another chance at him. Three days later low and behold here come the big giant again. This time Jerry’s shot put him down. To see the recovery of this buck on film go to our web site once again. After you watch the Judge, watch “Jerry’s second chance” and see how excited Jerry actually was when we arrive to pick up him and his trophy. I need not say anymore. My words can’t describe this. As you will see, Jerry is very excited to see us and show off his buck…

    Trail Cameras: Here I go again! Wow, I sure have mixed emotions about those things. I had 10 of them out. They are so frustrating. One week they work fine, the next, nothing. I am not sure if it is me or the stupid camera or the dang batteries. Anyway I ended up with 15 to 20 thousand pictures and a lot of confusion. Out of all the pictures I only had three of the big boys harvested that I actually got on film and one of them I didn’t even know I had on film until after he was shot with an arrow. Still the guys like to see the photo’s of the deer they harvested while he was still alive, but man the emotions that comes along with these contraptions are not always good. The only good part is, we know the big ones are out there, but on the other hand we have always known this. And where are they going to show up when hunting time comes along is a good question. Our gut feeling is they are out there, somewhere, but when the camera comes up empty of good shooter bucks it puts that silly question in the back of our minds. Should I put somebody there? If you do make the mistake of telling them we had a camera in this particular spot, but no shooters showed up on the camera. Then we put him or her in that stand and they see no shooters. You are probably not going to be at the top of his or her list for the “Best guide of the year award” I’m sure. Unless by chance they happen to kill one there. Then they forget all about the camera. Because usually the first thing that comes out of their mouth is. Hey, by the way, did you get any good ones on film here? And of course we can’t lie. We just say, nope, but we sure hope this is going to be the time he does show up.

    Bow season stats: 24 hunters. 15 kills. 11 shots flung and of those 11, 4 were hit with blood trails.

    Well, we have a lucky man in the group. He has killed the biggest buck two years in a row now and his name is Rick Horner. This year opening day he harvested a buck that scored 164 inches. Congratulations Rick! Gun season was not near as cold this year but once again we found our selves sharing it with another full moon and very little rutt activity. We did have some excitement on the last day of our 6 day hunt. Judy and I were going to a place to take down a stand. As we entered the gate and were putting along on the four wheeler Judy asked me if that was a buck standing over there. I looked but did not see anything. We went a little further and she said that sure looks like a buck standing over there. I looked again and saw nothing. I said where are you looking? She replied, right over there by that big cedar tree. I looked again as I was driving and then I saw it. I had been looking way over the top of it. I stopped and looked again. This time I saw what looked to be a buck that had been gut shot, standing still with his head down. As we got a little closer I could see another set of antlers. I said, there are two bucks there and they are hung up together. That morning Denny and Dottie Peiffer had gone to a special mass at the local Catholic Church and we were expecting them back at any time. I called Mike and asked if they were back yet and he said he was on his way out to camp to find out. I told him of the two bucks and said to get them out here as soon as possible. When he got to camp they had just arrived and he let them know what was going on. They gathered their things and headed out. When they arrived they snuck up on a pond dam and Dottie shot the buck that was still alive. When we got to the bucks we could see what had taken place and realized what a terrible way for these two to end. The biggest buck was dead and had been dead for at least a day or so. Dog tracks were all around and his rear end was eaton. The live buck had drug the dead one over to a small water hole and there he was, not able to move anymore, standing in sloppy mud. The dead buck was so covered in mud you could hardly see him or tell it was a deer. The game warden game out and put a tag on the one deer and Dottie tagged the other one. She plans on getting them mounted locked together. That night when our taxidermist came over to cape them he found puncture wounds in the deer that was dead first that we think came from the buck that was still living. Or else another buck came along and gored him while they were locked together. Anyway he had puncture wounds in his side that probably killed him. After the goring they must have continued fighting and got locked up and while the one was fatally injured died leaving the other one stuck to him for a death sentence as well. The buck that Dottie shot was not going to live even if we would have freed him. He was in very bad shape and would have been dead in a short time. The dead buck was an 8 point with one sticker and scored 146 5/8 inches. The one she shot was a 7 point and scored 123 2/8 inches. We separated the two in order to cape them because it would have been impossible to do so other wise. There was only one little extra point holding the two from getting apart and they had to have hit just right to get stuck together. All in all it was amazing to see and witness. There are several pictures of these two on the web site in the 2014 photo album. I am sorry to say that we failed to get two of the guys and their bucks pictures taken during the gun season and I apologize for that. They were Tom Washabaugh and Rob Lani.

    Gun season stats: we had 11 gun hunters. 7 bucks were harvested. One guy went home early sick. 2 others shot and one hit but we were unable to find it and the other guy we think hit some brush that was in front of the buck and there was no blood or buck to be found, bummer, he thought it was a real good one. One man did not get a shot during the 6 day hunt. He had passed on a few in search of a trophy. Like I said earlier, gun season was slow and we did as much as we could to find a buck for everyone. Like they say, that’s why they call it hunting and not killing. That is so true..

    Now I want to thank God for another safe season for our hunters as well as us, Coey, Judy, Mike and me. Together we set around 60 stands and that is tough work. Coey does most of the climbing anymore to keep the elderly from getting hurt, Me and Mike. Bro helped with a few but most of the time he was harvesting soybeans, planting wheat or busy doing other things on the farm. During deer season and turkey season are some of our busiest times on the farm. Spring time we are preparing ground and planting the crops and in the fall we are trying to harvest them and planting wheat. So in other words it is very stressful with very long days. I also want to thank God for a great season on the farm. We had great crops all-round, including a record setting corn crop for us. Now I also want to thank our dear friends Judy and Coey for a great season with lots and lots of fun and some of the best food in the country from both of them, mostly Judy. I know Coey likes to take most of the credit, but we all know who the real cook is and who the real boss is. That girl keeps us all in line, especially Mike. The two of them are a priceless team and once they arrive my worries are multiplied. Not really! My worries are almost exempt. Thank you two so much and YES they are family, no doubt about it. We love them so much for what they do for us, but mainly because they are such good people. God has put them into our lives for a special reason, just like he does everyone. Our thoughts and prayers are with them always. Thanks again to all of you that hunted with us and we wish you all a great year with many, many blessings. Until we meet again, Good Hunting! And I speak for all of us at “Paradise Adventures,” Take care and we hope to see you next year. Written by, Kurt Nunnenkamp, just after gun season, Dec 2014.

     

    Written: 12-18-14
    By; Kurt Nunnenkamp