February 08, 2023
Sept. 26, 2022, was no ordinary day for Ian Meredith of Kentucky. It was a Monday, and the 8th grader begged his mother to let him skip the first few hours of class to go hunting. Little did she know, her son would re-write the Kentucky whitetail record books with his compound bow.
The passing of Ian’s grandfather some years ago left a huge void in Ian’s life. His grandpa was the family’s hunting mentor. Tragedy continued while Ian was a young boy, as his father passed from pancreatic cancer in 2020 at the young age of 43. Hoping to fill the mentor void in Ian’s life, teacher and family friend, Adam French, helped Ian and his brother set up trail cameras to build excitement for the 2020 season.
In 2020, Ian had pictures of a great mainframe 10-pointer on the family farm. Unfortunately, they had no encounters with the deer. Fast forward to the summer of 2021, and the first card pull of the summer yielded pictures of a monster buck they recognized as the mainframe typical from the 2020 deer season. However, the buck had now exploded into a non-typical giant. Ian dubbed the deer “Tackle Box” because of all the points coming off the deer’s rack.
Like the 2020 season, there were no in-person sightings of the giant buck in 2021. A close call occurred in 2021 when a neighboring hunter grazed the deer during firearms season.
Despite a grazing bullet hitting the buck in 2021, Tackle Box had blown up even more for the 2022 season. On one late September day, Ian decided the wind and temperature were just right for a quick morning hunt.
After sitting a few hours before school, Ian climbed out of his tree. Just minutes into his walk back, Ian spotted a giant in the distance milling around a pond that sits on the family property. It was Tackle Box!
Stunned by what he had just seen, the young hunter ducked into the grassy cover and phoned his mentor Adam for advice. Adam recalls: “With the wind in his face, I told him to take his boots off, take his time and try a stalk.” What did Ian have to lose? After slithering through native grasses, Ian stopped when he arrived at a rise in the field 15 minutes later. Ian knew if the buck hadn’t moved far from where he had first spotted him, the monster would be within range just past the rise.
Unbelievably, Ian slowly stood at full draw above the grassy cover, and the buck was within range, slightly quartering away. Ian sent an arrow through both lungs and the giant dropped within sight! After the mandatory drying period, Ian’s giant officially scores 232 5/8 net.