Kade Kuennen from Festina, at age 9 has had more hunting adventures than the average turkey hunter. You may even see him and his father Dan on His and Hers Outdoors television show, since their guide at Great Plains Outfitters films for the show.
Kade grew up hearing hunting stories about his late grandfather Richard Kuennen. Kade’s first year turkey hunting garnered some pretty spectacular tales himself! He went out his first time hunting with his uncle Rick Kuennen on April 12 and bagged himself a very large Tom turkey weighing 20 pounds, with a 10 inch beard and spurs an inch and a quarter long! The boys left for the woods at 6 in the morning and already at 5 minutes to 7 Kade was done turkey hunting!
Kade’s luck continued, as that evening at the Thundering Toms Fayette County banquet in West Union Kade won a trip turkey hunting trip for two to Kansas and Nebraska with Great Plains Outfitters. Kade had put in four chances in a raffle and he won the biggest prize which cost $4,600 for the trip for two to Nebraska/Kansas for two people to hunt turkeys. Kade chose to take his father, Dan Kuennen and his uncle Rick Kuennen came along to help call the turkeys for Kade during the three day trip.
The group took off Wednesday, May 7 and got to the outfitters in Kanas by evening. The guides remarked that Kade was the youngest hunter they had ever guided for. Thursday was so windy that their blind blew away and wasn’t a good hunting day. Kade’s father, Dan, got his turkey on Thursday while Kade and Rick where hunting elsewhere. Friday the group got out at 6 in the morning in Nebraska to a prime spot. With two decoys already set up and huge turkeys between the decoys, Kade was a bit nervous if he could shoot so he asked his guide first, he shot and dropped the Tom turkey at 6:35. Then the group went back to Kansas, Uncle Rick used his box call and huge turkeys came in. Just as Kade shot his 20 gauge Mossberg shotgun the turkey flew up and boom, he wounded him. By 11:35 they had tracked him and finished the job. Excited and nervous, Kade explained the scenario, “When scouting Uncle Rick seen a hen after hearing them gobbling in a distant, he hit the calls and some came by the fence and went down the hill, another came from the cornfield at the left. Rick told me to shoot; I was nervous and didn’t hold the gun up high enough and shot it in the legs. We tracked it and Justin saw it step towards the ridge and then I pulled the trigger and he was down. I gave the thumbs up! Yahoo! Got him! Then I did the happy dance!” The brothers are proud of how well Kade did and how safety minded he was during the hunts. The trip of a lifetime was a bonding experience they will not soon forget. Kade’s classmates in third grade at DeSales were excited to hear about his adventures when he came home as well.
Kade had gone along hunting without a gun with Rick a year before this and the brothers felt that was a key time for Kade to learn about hunting safety. Rick hunted turkey since the early 70’s. At the time, turkeys weren’t as plentiful as now. He said you sent in an application along with your money and in a lottery drawing of certain zones you may be lucky enough to get to hunt turkeys. There are four different turkey hunting seasons, the Kuennen’s hunt the spring season which is called fourth season and he takes Kade during youth season.
The Kuennen’s would like to thank the outfitters, and Fayette County Thundering Toms chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and for those who supported to the trip.
Three turkeys Kade’s first year hunting remarkable. We can’t wait for more hunting stories from this young man in years to come!