When Kentucky eighth-grader Ian decided to skip school on Monday, Sept. 26, he had no idea he would have a killer story to tell his classmates. While playing hooky, the young hunter set his sights on a massive whitetail deer he’d nicknamed Tackle Box. He previously noticed the buck on trail cameras roaming around his family’s 400-acre property.
“He was coming into my stand just about every morning in daylight, and it was the first day that the wind was right,” Ian told outlets. “So I just had to hunt.”
However, his mom, Beth, had some issues with her son’s propensity to go out and hunt. But surprisingly, one of the youngster’s teachers encouraged him to go and hunt that particular day.
The school teacher who motivated Meredith was Adam French, an orchestra teacher at Grayson County Middle School. He had gotten to know his student through his music class. However, in 2020, his relationship with him changed when Meredith’s father died from pancreatic cancer. As a result, French became a type of mentor for him.
Young hunter’s teacher advises him on how to tag massive buck
That fall, French nudged him to explore the idea of hunting and even helped them set up a few trail cameras around their property. During that time, that’s when they first noticed a behemoth 10-point buck poking around.
Later, in 2021, they saw the deer on camera again, but he looked way different. This time, he had grown giant antlers, including several drop tines, and his distinctive rack made Ian think of a messy tackle box. As a result, the nickname stuck.
However, that fall, Ian harvested a different buck. By that point, the whole neighborhood knew about Tackle Box, and one of the neighbors tried to take down the deer but wasn’t successful. Then, when the season opened this year, several hunters tried their luck at the trophy buck. Still, no one had claimed the win.
However, things took a turn on Sept. 26. That day, Meredith’s mom allowed him to skip classes that morning. However, he hadn’t seen much activity around 9:30 a.m., so he climbed down from his tree stand and decided to head to school.
However, when walking home, he saw a buck around the property and immediately knew it was Tackle Box. Unsure of what to do, he called French for advice.
“I told him to take his boots off, take his time, and try a stalk,” French said.
Ian followed his teacher’s counseling and walked barefoot, closing the distance between him and the deer. When he got to about 12 yards away, he pulled back his bow to full draw and made a perfect double-lung shot. The deer dropped instantly.
Afterward, a certified Buckmasters scorer classified his buck with an official score of 238 6/8 inches. With those figures, Drury Outdoors reports that Tackle Box will likely be the biggest non-typical whitetail buck ever killed by a youth hunter in the state.