Kindal Tonn Is Already A Natural With All Aspects Of Deer Hunting
story by Trey Iles, LDWF Public Information
Kindal Tonn saw her older brother doing it and figured she could get the hang of this deer hunting game, too. Robert Tonn, her father, certainly wasn’t going to stop her, not that he could anyway.
Ever since Kindal could walk she loved the outdoors, and it’s easy to see why. Robert and his wife, Tammy, are avid outdoors people as is their son, Cutter. Kindal naturally joined their expeditions from a young age, and was catching fish with the family while still a toddler.
So Kindal started deer hunting when she was about 8 and harvested her first deer, a doe, at around 9 or 10, Robert said.
“She was too small to sit on the seat (in the deer stand) and shoot the gun out the window,’’ Robert said, recalling Kindal’s first deer. “So she sat on my lap. I don’t know who was shaking more, me or her. It really did get her excited about deer hunting. She was always interested but that really drove her. And she showed a lot of interest when we started cleaning the deer, which I thought was unusual for a person that young.’’
Kindal, 14 and a freshman at Lacassine High, has harvested about six deer now, Robert said. But a deer she took in a Texas youth management hunt in February of 2016 will be one she and her family won’t forget. She’ll have a plaque to remember it by as it earned her the honor of the 2016 Louisiana Female Youth Hunter of the Year.
The Youth Hunter of the Year Program is a joint effort with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Louisiana Wildlife Federation and the Louisiana Outdoors Writers Assocation. Kindal was honored at the LOWA convention in Natchitoches in August.
Kindal was the only girl among the 10 kids selected for the youth management hunt at Bamberger Ranch in Johnson City, Texas, near Austin.
“I was the only girl on the hunt (that) weekend,’’ Kindal said. “That made me nervous but I made the most of it.’’
Not only was she the only girl, she was also the only person to take a deer that weekend. She harvested a spike buck using a youth .243 rifle.
But, as most deer hunters know, it took a lot of patience. The first day of the two-day event was slow, Kindal said.
“My father, one of the guides and I sat in a box stand and noticed movement around the feeder at first light,’’ Kindal said. “But it turned out to be several large turkeys. They were off limits but neat to watch. No (white-tailed deer) came in that morning but we did have three sika deer walk within 20 yards of the stand. I have never seen this exotic animal in real life so I was very excited.’’
Kindal was out in the afternoon, too, but didn’t see anything except some fossilized dinosaur tracks on the property.
“That was kind of neat,’’ Kindal said.
The next morning would be the final chance for Kindal as they’d be heading back to Lacassine in the afternoon. She said they drew a stand known to have good deer traffic. Sure enough, they spotted 16 bucks at one time at daybreak.
“They were the biggest bucks my dad and I had ever seen,’’ Kindal said. “They were like the ones I see on television hunting shows.’’
The guide assigned to Kindal was able to pick out the lone spike. The bucks were off limits on this hunt, Kindal said.
“I was very nervous because when I looked through the scope all I could see were the antlers,’’ Kindal said. “It would cost a fortune if I made a mistake and killed one. But the spike finally offered a clear shot and I took it.’’
The shot was true. After about 15 minutes—“It seemed like an hour,’’ Kindal said—she began to track the deer.
No problem there. “Kindal helps track the deer that she or her brother or her mother harvest,’’ Robert said. “She’s an old hand at that. The guide and I just followed behind her.’’
“There was good blood at the feeder and a very good trail through the grass,’’ Kindal said. “After going over one hill, through a valley, across a small creek and up another hill, we finally found him.’’
One of the requirements of the hunt was that any animal harvested had to be cleaned by the participant. That was no trouble for Kindal, who had done this with her family many times before.
“It’s something you’ll never forget about,’’ Robert said. “She was treated like the queen as the only girl there. She got a little extra attention from the female guides because she was the only girl so they bonded a little more.’’
As much as she enjoys hunting, it’s not her only interest, Robert said. Kindal is part of Lacassine’s cross country, tennis and softball teams. She also is an honor student and is a member of the Beta Club and 4H Club.
“She is an honor student and part of that is because, in our house, you have to maintain your grades to go hunting,’’ Robert said. “That gives them more incentive to do well in the classroom.’’
Kindal said spending time in the outdoors is something she has always loved.
“I have come to realize that being a kid has many more advantages than disadvantages,’’ Kindal said. “One advantage is hunting. Not only do we get a break on the cost of licenses and fees but we also have the opportunity to qualify for really nice hunts with youth organizations.
“(The hunt in Texas) was a great weekend spent with my dad and the outdoors.’’
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