An Interview With Kaleb Kisky Of Whitetail Freaks.
Brought to you exclusively from the pages of Planet Whitetail
When you think back to the days of your whitetail hunting youth, what do those days look like? Something tells me you were not hanging off the side of a tree with your good buddy hanging above you capturing your every move for the entire world to see! Just a hunch. Well, Kaleb Kisky from the infamous Whitetail Freaks clan is no stranger to hunting in front of a camera and having the entire world asses his every move. Kaleb has grown up in Iowa, “The Land Of The Giants”, into what some would call “Whitetail Hunting Royalty.” Kaleb’s Mother and Father, Kandi and Don Kisky are the founders of Kisky Productions and the Whitetail Freaks TV series. So needless to say, this young man knows what he is doing when it comes to putting the SMACK down on some big boned Iowa brutes! Kaleb has been killing deer on camera since the age of ten and shows no signs of stopping. Along with being a well seasoned whitetail hunter, Kaleb is also a “Pro” cameraman in the making. Kaleb is seventeen years old and is in his senior year of high school. While Kaleb is excited to graduate this May, he is not planning to move on to a higher education in the traditional sense. Instead, Kaleb plans to step full time into the industry. Kaleb is living the dream of every seventeen year old whitetail hunter in the country, every fifty year old whitetail hunter for that matter. While Kaleb is a lot of things, a hunter, a cameraman, a son and a brother, most of all, Kaleb is a “Whitetail Freak!”
PW: I know you have been around whitetails and hunting them your entire life. At what age did you start deer hunting with your Dad and when did you harvest your first whitetail?
KK: Most people think that a kid would start off hunting with their dad. That is absolutely not all true. Because my first whitetail hunt was actually when my mom took me and she filmed. I did not get a deer but I do remember passing up a 135 in whitetail my first time in the tree. When I was in grade school I remember squirrel hunting with dad with our .22 single shots. I actually harvested my first whitetail when I was 10 years old with my muzzleloader. My mom and my dad were actually with me at the same time on Christmas Eve. The deer that i took was a 5 year old management buck scoring 140 inches that my mom almost shot earlier in the season. That was also my first buck harvested on camera.
PW: What is the most challenging part about hunting with the whole world watching? Did you find that the “personality” part came easy to you, or have you had to practice being good on camera?
KK: The most challenging part about hunting with the entire world watching is that the entire world is watching! Every mistake I have every made has been captured on film. The good news is that most people out there don’t have to worry about. I am also working on becoming a better camera man, because mistakes are not only made by the guys in front of the camera, but also the ones behind it. Sometimes those are the toughest mistakes to out live.
PW: Would you say that being the camera man or the hunter is the more difficult of the two jobs?
KK: I would say the difficulty of both being a hunter and a cameraman is the same. Because the hunter still has to worry about the camera man and where he can and cant film and has to make sure he is set up ok and everything. The cameraman also has to go through a checklist with the hunter and coordinate with him/her while hunting. Communication between both the hunter and the cameraman is essential to providing a good quality kill along with everything else needed to go with it. In the hunting world today there is so much equipment that we pack in, both hunter and cameraman, it is ridiculous. The hunter usually has their bow,backpack, 2nd camera angle, and all hunting equipment. The cameraman will have the tripod/camera arm,camera backpack, and all the filming equipment. Needless to say being a hunter and a cameraman both involves a lot of hard work,preparation, and patience.
PW: It seems your Mom and Dad spend most of the time hunting in front of the camera and we have all seen you do some filming. How do you convince them to let you hunt instead?
KK: I usually try and convince mom and dad to let me hunt during the early season when the hunting isn’t as good. Mainly I film dad until they both actually tag out that way I can have the rest of the season to myself. Most of my hunting has been really early in the season and really late in the season. During primetime like during the Iowa rut I am usually filming for Whitetail Freaks.
PW: Given that you are still young man, you have killed some bucks that much older men can only dream of. What is your largest whitetail to date and when did you take that deer?
KK: My largest whitetail to this day is my 162 inch split G2 buck that i shot in 2008 with my dad filming. I took him in late muzzleloader season overlooking a soybean field. It had been blistering cold the previous two weeks but that day it warmed up to 40 degrees with 30 mile an hour winds. The split g2 buck did not come into the food plot until last light then he offered me a 150 yard shot broadside. I pulled the trigger on the old Thompson Center and smoked him. He ran probably 80 yards then piled up across the fence.
PW: Living in Iowa, you certainly have your fare share of great opportunities at good bucks. If you could only choose to hunt one day per year for the rest of your life, what day of the year would that be?
KK: If I were only able to hunt one day of the year it would be November 7th during the peak of the rut in Iowa. I have seen more monster whitetails and seen more monster whitetails harvested on this day than any other.
PW: As fans of the Whitetail Freaks series, we only get to see the best footage of you, your family and friends prepping to kill big deer and killing big deer. What would you say is the hardest part of being a professional hunting family?
KK: I would say the hardest part of having a hunting family with a popular television show is being under the spotlight for absolutely everything. Doing everything perfect and by the books is very important to maintain a good name in the hunting industry.
PW: Have you ever hunted in others states, other than Iowa? If so, where was your most favorite place to hunt away from home?
KK: I have never really hunted away from home except this past fall I got the chance to film my good buddy David Langston from Hunter Safety System in Kansas for a couple days. The impression I got from Kansas was great because you never know what is going to come strolling in front of you while in stand.
PW: I’m sure many of your buds love to hunt too. What’s the most fun part of being in your shoes as a high school kid and what is the most challenging part?
KK: The best part about being in High School and having a show is that if i am able to hunt sometimes I can be "Sick" from school but it is really fun because I get to usually hunt with my friend Ethan Porter. I filmed him kill a 176 inch bruiser in October 2 years ago. It was our first time in the tree together and he put the smackdown on the buck. There is really not a challenging part about being in my shoes except just like any kid I cannot wait to graduate this year.
PW: If you had to give other young people a word of advice around how to become a better hunter, what would that piece of advice be?
KK: Of course, the first step would be to find someone who is close to you who can show you the ropes. There is a ton to learn about whitetail hunting alone, much less filming. Once you have spent plenty of time in the deer woods alone, mastering the art of solo hunting, then maybe you could add a friend with a hand held camera and experiment with different stuff. Don’t forget about all the resources that are available nowadays over the internet, magazines and books. There are plenty of place to go for information about hunting and filming the hunt.
PW: With High School soon coming to an end, do you plan to go full time into the pro hunting industry or do you have other career plans in mind?
KK: After I graduate this May I would like to go full time into the hunting industry and be a full time camera man for someone. I would also like to manage a big deer ranch someplace of my own.