When your uniform color is fluorescent orange, you can head right into the field after a big game, and that’s exactly what 12-year-old Indiana buck hunter Conor Kuehl did with his father late last month.
On September 24, Conor and his dad, who also happened to be his team’s coach, geared up for a head-to-head against another undefeated team in the league. The sixth-grade quarterback from Valparaiso ended up leading the team to a huge win, 18-6, and the game ended early enough for the proud father-son duo to head out to a much different field. Still dressed in his jersey, knee pads and cleats, the Indiana buck hunter was itching to get to the blind on their family’s farm.
But after such an enthralling win, Conor had worked up an appetite and wanted to hit the drive-thru.
“I’m like, ‘Dude, you’re killing me,’” Greg Kuehl, Conor’s father, recalled with a laugh. “‘Literally every minute we spend at Burger King is one less minute to hunt.”
Racing against the clock, the Kuehls wolfed down their burgers and rushed out to their spot with only a Marlin .30-30 on hand.
“I threw the rifle in the truck with a couple orange hats even though our school colors are basically hunter orange anyway,” Greg told Outdoor Life. “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.”
Conor’s mom and sister were more than happy to drop the pair off at the farm but not before snapping an iconic photo of the football stars-turned-hunters first.
Sixth-Grade Indiana Hunter Takes Down
Even though they didn’t have any camo, it didn’t matter once they were tucked in the wooden structure. Long before the day of the game, the Indiana buck hunters transformed an old gravity wagon and shed into an elevated blind, complete with a makeshift urinal, insulation and a heater. And the best part is that the structure is completely portable once you hook it up to a four-wheeler. For most hunters, this is luxury at its finest.
For the past two seasons, Conor hadn’t been able to bag any deer, but it wasn’t because he didn’t see any. Rather, the competitive hunter just wanted his first game buck to be bigger than his brother’s.
The stars had aligned for the young Indiana hunter that Saturday, as a monster, nine-year-old buck waltzed right into view.
So, just 15 minutes after his mother and sister left, the 12-year-old pulled the trigger and dropped the buck where it stood. Without his knife or any other gear on him, Greg told his wife to turn around and head back to the farm.
Once the pair got closer to the buck, Greg realized that this was the deer he’d been watching for years, named “Oscar” for his “trash” left antler that sprouted a third brow tine.
“I told him it was a great buck. I didn’t really care, obviously he’s my son,” Greg said. “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.”