sixth Grader Tags Dad’s Target Buck Right After His Football Game


Many hunters agonize over enrolling their children in fall sports activities, however 12-year-old Conor Kuehl is proof that you just don’t have to decide on.

The sixth grader from Valparaiso attended his Saturday soccer recreation on Sept. 24, which occurred to fall on the primary day of Indiana’s two-day youth season. The recreation between the 2 undefeated groups began at 3 p.m. however went quicker than anticipated with a blowout rating of 18 to six, in accordance with Conor’s dad and coach, Greg Kuehl.

“Conor led us to a big win against them and had a touchdown pass or two,” Greg says of his son, who performs quarterback, broad receiver, tight finish, and security. “When we got back to town, I told him, ‘Man, we’ve got 40 to 45 minutes here, we can still hunt if you’re interested.’”

Conor was wanting to hunt, so his mother and sister agreed to drop him and his dad on the household farm. But he was additionally hungry, so the Kuehls hit the drive-thru first.

“I’m like, ‘Dude, you’re killing me,’” Greg says with fun. “‘Literally every minute we spend at Burger King is one less minute to hunt.”

A young hunter dressed in a football uniform stands beside his dad before going hunting.
Conor and his dad, Greg, earlier than heading to their blind; anticipating deer contained in the blind. Courtesy of Greg Kuehl

The two have been brief on time and equipment as they arrived at their spot. Before the sport, Greg had put his Marlin .30-30 within the truck—and never a lot else.

“I threw the rifle in the truck with a couple orange hats even though our school colors are basically hunter orange anyway. I wasn’t thinking we’d even have enough time to hunt so I didn’t pack my hunting pack, binos, the shooting bag he normally shoots off of—literally anything.”

They didn’t have any camo, both. They regarded so ridiculous heading to their blind—Greg in his teaching polo, slacks, and orange sneakers, and Conor nonetheless in his jersey, pads, and cleats—that Mrs. Kuehl snapped a photograph earlier than they headed to the blind.

A redneck hunting blind built on top of a rusty gravity wagon.
The Kuehl’s blind, constructed from an previous gravity wagon and a run-down shed, grew to become a pimped-out deer searching disguise, full with a urinal. Courtesy of Greg Kuehl

Oscar the Cull Buck

Conor and his dad have labored collectively to plant meals plots and handle the habitat on their 102-acre farm. Over the years they tricked out a cellular blind (which went viral on TikTok) by rebuilding an previous shed on prime of an deserted gravity wagon. The result’s a tiny, insulated cabin full with framed pictures, a heater, and a urinal that may be towed across the farm with a four-wheeler. For the previous couple of years, it’s been parked on a treeline overlooking a plot of corn.

That’s the place Conor shot his first deer final yr, a heavy-horned buck that turned out to be 9 years previous.

“He went two seasons without shooting a deer because he wanted to make sure his first buck was bigger than his brother’s buck,” says Greg of his son’s good-natured sibling rivalry.

Although he didn’t understand it, Conor would quickly present up his dad, too. The Kuehls had two good bucks on their household farm this fall and deliberate to reap solely mature deer. They’re each “meat hunters first,” however they do their greatest to handle the farm for older bucks. One of the 2 deer was a well-known one: A buck nicknamed Oscar for the trash on his left antler. Greg had watched the buck for a number of years, and initially wrote him off as a cull buck.

A trail camera photo of a buck with an unusual double left main beam.
The buck the Kuehls known as Oscar, after the garbage-can dwelling Sesame Street character, for his “trashy” left antler. Courtesy of Greg Kuehl

“I showed pictures of that deer to friends who wanted to try deer hunting, or distant cousins who wanted to hunt the farm. I told them ‘If you get a chance, shoot this deer because the left side of it is all messed up,’” Greg says. “When it was a 3-year-old, I had a chance to kill it, didn’t want to use my tag on it. Then as a 4-year-old, last year, I passed him because he started to look really cool. I was like, man, this thing could be something.

Research reveals that cull bucks are extra fantasy than actuality, and dozens of path digital camera pictures from this summer time and fall confirmed the 5-year-old had grown into a pleasant shooter.

A Fast and Furious Hunt

By the time the Kuehls reached their blind, it was already 6:15 p.m. “We were getting close to the food plot we had planted [when we saw] a little six-point buck there,” Conor says. “So we waited for like three minutes until he went into the corn, and we snuck into the cabin really quickly.”

The little buck reappeared, adopted by a pair of does and two extra younger bucks on their tails. They have been pushing the does round when an enormous buck emerged from the treeline at 80 yards.

“He followed the little bucks and he was [pushing] against them,” Conor explains. “He was trying to show the does who the alpha buck was.”

Despite their historical past with the buck, the Kuehls didn’t acknowledge the deer. Neither he nor his son had introduced binoculars.

“When I saw him, I was thinking, that’s a nice deer. Its [body] wasn’t as big as my last one, but it was big,” says Conor, who pays extra consideration to a buck’s physique than his antlers—a very good rule for growing old deer. “It looked like a good deer and it looked like something I’d hang on my wall. … I did look at the antlers a little bit. When I was first counting [points], I was like it looks to be around eight [points]. And for me eight is a normal sized deer—one that I’d shoot. … So I pointed it out to my dad.”

A young deer hunter in a football uniform kneels beside his buck.
Conor took this buck on the 102-acre Kuehl household farm. Courtesy of Greg Kuehl

Greg checked the buck in Conor’s riflescope—a fast look to verify it was a shooter—and balled his sweatshirt right into a makeshift capturing assist on the blind windowsill. As Conor settled behind the rifle, one of many little bucks walked in entrance of the larger deer. As quickly because it stepped apart, one other forkhorn stepped behind the buck. As quickly as that deer moved, Oscar shifted.

“Oscar turned a little bit so he wasn’t quite broadside,” Conor says. “So I waited for him to turn back just a tiny bit so I could get a better shot. And he did. And I shot him, and when I shot him, I dropped him.”

Greg texted his spouse instantly to let her know Conor had shot an enormous buck.

“She was like, ‘What? I just left, we’ve been gone 15 minutes!’ I said, ‘I know but you have to come back and get us. I don’t have my knife, I don’t have my pack, I don’t have anything.’”

After a fast journey again to their home, the father-son crew returned with Conor’s grandparents and Greg’s cousin, Jeff, to take a look at the buck for the primary time.

“My cousin picks up the rack and the left side … pops out of the clover, and I’m like, you shot my buck!’” says Greg, laughing.

Conor perked up at that.

“I didn’t really notice the antlers until cousin Jeff had pointed it out. I didn’t feel guilty, I don’t think,” says Conor, joking about giving his dad a tough time. “I felt like rubbing it into my dad’s face.”

After some good-natured trash discuss, Greg congratulated his son on a well-earned deer.

“I told him it was a great buck. I didn’t really care, obviously he’s my son,” Greg says. “This was such a cool deer and we had a long history with it, so I was glad somebody was able to take him when he had really sprouted.”

A young football player flexes next to a nice Indiana buck.
Conor together with his second ever buck, taken proper after his Saturday soccer recreation. Courtesy of Greg Kuehl

Although the Kuehl’s had initially deliberate on turning Conor’s subsequent buck right into a European mount to chop down on their taxidermy invoice, Greg made an exception for this deer.

“Conor’s a real good teammate,” says Greg. “He enjoys the moment. He doesn’t stress, he doesn’t panic, he just kind of lives it. He’s a good communicator and he’s super focused, and I think that’s what makes him a good hunter, too. There’s not a lot of kids—especially 12-year-old kids—who would sit there and watch three or four different bucks walk around that are all—for a 12-year-old, in my opinion—shooters. But he has the discipline to know what he wants and he’s willing to wait for it. And two years of doing that paid off for him, and he got that 9-year-old buck last year. This year he didn’t have to wait as long.”


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