Family deer hunts near Scandinavia
By Greg Seubert
Kevin Kiesow remembers making the short drive as a kid with his dad from their Neenah home to the family’s hunting land in Waupaca County.
They were back on that 40-acre mixture of woods and swamp a few miles east of Scandinavia Nov. 18 for opening day of Wisconsin’s gun deer hunt.
While Kiesow’s father, Keith, and another hunter remained on their tree stands, Kevin took a lunch break near his truck.
“I grew up hunting here,” said Kiesow, who now lives in Black River Falls. “It’s family land and the hunting has always been pretty good. We just kind of stick with what works and tradition. I’ve always enjoyed coming here to hunt. It’s been a couple of years since I personally got (a deer), but my dad typically gets at least one here a year.”
A wind storm in July 2019 knocked down several trees on the property that had to be removed.
“It had to be logged after we had straight-line winds,” Kiesow said. “It’s actually mostly swamp. I guess (the woods weren’t) overly thick before, but this is my first opportunity to come back here for opening weekend since it’s been logged.”
Kiesow and other family members have hunted the land for years.
“Even before I was 12, I would go out and sit with my dad when he was hunting,” he said. “It’s something that I enjoy. Even if I don’t have the opportunity to harvest an animal, I get to sit out in the woods and take everything in. I’ve just been enjoying the day. Yeah, the deer really haven’t been moving a whole lot, but I’ve been watching birds and squirrels, just sitting in the woods relaxing and enjoying myself. It’s very peaceful.”
Other than cleaning up the damage from four years ago, the Kiesows haven’t done much to the property.
“Not a ton, other than making some trails for us to be able to access the stands,” Kiesow said. “No cabin, it’s basically just land.”
With its mix of woods, farmland and swamps, Waupaca County is consistently among the top-producing deer harvest counties each year. Kiesow likes the idea of hunting on private land, as opposed Waupaca County’s public land open to hunting.
“You have a little more control,” he said. “You can kind of pick and choose as far as what you want to harvest versus what you’re going to let walk and grow up to be bigger next year. We have set stands in areas where we’ve always seen deer. We know where the deer come between our property and the neighbors’ property. It’s a matter of sitting in their traveling route.”
Kiesow said he didn’t hear many shots while sitting in his stand, although several vehicles were parked along and near Silver Lake Road between Scandinavia and Blueberry Road.
“I saw two this morning, but they were uncooperative with me,” he said. “As far as shooting goes, it’s been extremely quiet compared to years past. Snow is always nice, but I can’t complain about the weather today. I’m not freezing.”
Kiesow and other Waupaca County hunters woke up opening day to no snow on the ground, a sunny sky and temperatures in the low 40s.
“I’m sure the weather is having an effect on deer movement and probably even the number of people out in the woods,” he said. “I’m hoping to get something here opening weekend. Unfortunately, I have to work next week, so my opportunities are going to be limited.”
Even if Kiesow didn’t harvest a deer on the first two days of the hunt, which runs through Sunday, Nov. 26, he enjoyed the chance to keep his family’s tradition alive.
“Wisconsin has a rich history of hunting and this is carrying on that tradition,” he said. “It’s just something my father always enjoyed doing and he passed it down to myself and my sister, who used to hunt here when she was younger.
“I have daughters and I’ve been trying to get them involved, but unfortunately, they don’t show quite the interest in it,” he added. “I’m OK with that. They still like to come out in the woods with me every now and then and we can spend some quality time together.”