Christmas Comes Early for Kalen, and What a Gift He Received!

Originally from northeast Iowa, Kalen Lenz currently lives in southern Iowa. A return trip home a couple of days before Christmas in 2019 brought not only tidings of great joy for Kalen, but a memorable muzzleloader hunt for an exceptional buck.

“I headed back home for the holidays,” Kalen said. “I looked forward to hunting the family farm. I’ve hunted on this farm since I was a little kid. Dad and I went out and checked trail cameras that morning. The Iowa shotgun season had ended on the previous Sunday. The buck had been coming out to a corn field in the daylight. I really wanted to bow hunt the buck, but I still had a late season muzzleloader tag in my pocket.”

The blind Kalen wanted to hunt the buck from didn’t have a good wind, so he and his dad elected to go up to a top bean field. “It was close to 50 degrees outside, so we planned on doing an observation sit,” Kalen said. “We didn’t see anything all afternoon. Then about 4:45 p.m. deer began moving to our south. In a few minutes we saw a good buck come out to join the others.”

Kalen eased his binoculars up and realized the buck they saw was a target buck. “We had a couple of years of history with his 5 1/2-year-old buck,” Kalen said. “It looked like the buck was going to feed over into a neighbor’s corn field where several other does were feeding. A couple of does hopped the fence and came back over into our field. Fortunately, our target buck elected to follow them.”

Kalen and his dad experienced a bit of anxiety as the last five minutes of legal shooting light approached. “Finally the buck turned broadside at 90 yards,” Kalen said. “I didn’t hesitate, and made a good shot on the buck. I shot him in the high shoulder and he didn’t go 10 yards.”

Kalen hadn’t hunted the family farms in several years. “My farm in southern Iowa had been riddled with EHD,” Kalen said. “It was especially sweet when the stars aligned and this hunt fell into place. Hunting conditions were bad at my place, we had trail camera photos of a target buck on the home place. I was able to make the trip home, dad and I hunted together, and I took this terrific buck on our first afternoon sit on December 23. That’s what I call the best early Christmas present ever!”      

- Bill Cooper, DeerCast Senior Writer