In the span of just 60 minutes, the buck had aged considerably.
Hunched over, it swayed on the edge of a small creek in Campbell County, Kentucky, oblivious to the two hunters pursuing it. Hoisting her Mathews Mission compound, Christy Allender was intent on ending the hunt. Her father Barry Allender stood next to her, incredulous that the buck paid no heed when his daughter accidentally stepped on a twig.
“Shoot him again,” implored Barry.
Quickly, Allender nocked an arrow, drew and fired, hitting the buck a little too high. Now the deer came to life, bolting off into a cedar thicket. The hunt was on again.
On October 28, 2016, Christy Allender of Newport, Ky., rushed from work to get to the Campbell County property she has permission to bow hunt. She’d stowed her hunting apparel and bow in her pickup, cutting down on the time it would take to get into her stand. It was a typical October afternoon in northern Kentucky, with bright sun and calm winds producing near-ideal deer hunting conditions. The rut was just getting heated up.
Allender settled into her stand around 4 p.m. and watched a couple squirrels playfully running amok below her. Her treestand was located on the edge of a small hayfield, overlooking a pond 50 yards to the east where deer would slake their thirst on hot days. The property was a mix hickories and oaks, giving deer hard mast to munch on before heading into the hay field at dusk.
Suddenly, the squirrel performance entertaining Allender was interrupted by a sound she’d never heard before.
“It kind of sounded like a long wheeze coming from a deer behind me,” said Allender. “I hit my grunt call to call whatever it was out. A moment later, I see movement to my left [west], and he comes walking out into the hay field.”
The irregularly antlered deer was distracted, trying to hone in on whatever made the snort-wheeze sound behind Allender. But the buck wasn’t naïve – it knew that more than animal hunters were out for its skin. It peered up at Allender, trying to discern what sat in the tree 20 yards away.
“Every time he’d look up I’d stop moving,” she said. “It took about 10 minutes for me to slowly stand up and draw, and I just kept thinking, ‘Don’t bust me, don’t bust me!’”
The buck jumped like a bucking bronco and took off.
Allender had to sit for a few minutes before descending, overcome by buck fever that had her shaking like a brittle leaf. She waited half an hour for her Dad to arrive to help her track the deer. They examined the broken arrow that had scant blood on it. There was no blood trail to follow.
The two started looking around and found a few spots of blood. Walking slowly toward a creek, they couldn’t believe the wounded buck was standing on the bank, focused on taking the next breath. Later inspection revealed Allender’s arrow had off a shoulder bone, pierced one lung and nicked the heart. Allender quickly readied herself for another shot.
“He was only about 10 yards away,” she explained. “I could have taken a rock and hit him in the head.”
Adrenaline rushed through the buck’s veins again, helping the deer once again escape. The hormone surge didn’t last long.
“My dad and I split up to look for him, and I found him dead in a cedar thicket.”
Although Allender never had the buck’s rack scored, the 11-pointer carries considerable Kentucky bone. It is Christy’s first buck taken with her bow. The Bluegrass Buck is a testament that many times the hunt isn’t over after the first arrow whizzes through the air – it’s just beginning.