Every family has that one person. The one most likely to end a conversation with “Watch this!” Jesse Kauffman realizes he’s the person in his family.
“I guess I’m unique about everything so just a little different,” Kauffman said.
Deer hunting season is a big deal on the Kauffman family farm near Springbrook. As avid hunters, Kauffman and his father wanted a way to see over the brush while hunting. A simple tree stand wouldn’t suffice. Kauffman built his own deer stand, which also happens to be Wisconsin’s tallest bus stop. He converted an old school bus into a fully functional deer stand.
“School bus deer stand, I guess,” Kauffman quipped.
It started when Kauffman’s father found a 28,000 fuel tank and planted a pop-up camper on top. It was brought down in a wind storm. Kauffman decided to one-up dad with his own plan.
A school bus would be just perfect,” Kauffman said, “You’d have all them windows to shoot out of.”
Dad was skeptical. Kauffman, who owns an excavation company, was undeterred. He found an old school bus and attempted to push it atop the fuel tank using his excavation equipment. It didn’t work. Bus number one fell to an early demise.
“We destroyed one there, and the fight was on between me and my dad, the arguing and screaming and throwing stuff,” Kauffman joked, “Typical father-son love.”
Attempt number one still sits as a pile of wreckage on the farm. Kauffman was determined to make his idea a reality. He bought another school bus from a neighbor for $400. This time, he learned from his mistakes.
“I shoved dirt and shoved dirt until we had a dirt ramp all the way to the top of it. Then we pushed the bus up there, and I took the dirt away,” Kauffman said.
Kauffman successfully welded the school bus down and converted a hay elevator into stairs. Wisconsin’s first, and only, school bus deer stand was complete. Kauffman decked out his new digs with a table, chairs and a heater. It even has a TV and satellite dish. The Kauffman family now hunts in style. Kauffman is pretty proud of his $400 investment.
“It’s a one of a kind, that’s for sure,” Kauffman said.
Hear The Story of Another Wisconsin Family’s Hunting Traditions @ WisconsinLife.org