It was Sept. 10, the day after North Carolina’s archery season opened, and Kristina Causey was in a rush to get to her treestand.

Causey, a property manager who lives in Oak Ridge, climbed into her stand around 6 p.m. She saw some deer, including a decent 8-pointer. Still, it wasn’t the big droptine buck she had on trail camera—the one that still hadn’t shed his velvet yet. So she passed, and at dark she slipped out of her stand.

A trail camera photo of the buck this year. Kristina Causey

The following day Causey got off work at 5:30 p.m. She rushed home, changed into camo, and her husband, Chris, dropped her off.

“Chris drove about 400 yards from my stand, then I walked in” Causey tells Outdoor Life. “I sat down in my stand at 6:05 p.m.”

A buck on trail camera in velvet with droptines.
Another trail cam shot of the big buck. Kristina Causey

She was on a field edge, 20 feet up, overlooking a friend’s 24-acre bean field, that was still green and visited regularly by deer. It’s fringe woodland country, dotted with small farms and scattered oaks and pines.

It wasn’t long before the 8-point she’d seen the previous evening stepped in the field edge. But he was 80 yards away from Causey, who was hunting with a TenPoint she’s had for seven years.

“He was feeding, kinda getting closer, and I was hoping he’d get within my bow range,” she says. “But suddenly four small bucks got into the bean field just 10 yards away. I was really nervous about them seeing me. I didn’t want to even blink hard, thinking that might scare them because they were so close.”

Kristina Causey smiling with a big buck.
The buck was just starting to shed its velvet. It had three droptines plus another sticker on its right mainbeam. Courtesy of Kristina Causey

The 8-point was working her way when she noticed some movement on the other side of the field.

“The big buck came into the bean field from a farm access lane, and I had to move slowly and quietly to check the yardage to him with my rangefinder,” she says. “He was 37 yards, broadside, and I rested my crossbow on my stand railing, got him in the sight, and squeezed the trigger.”

The arrow flew too fast for her to track it, Causey says, but the hit sounded good.

A husband and wife sit beside a big buck.
The Causeys with Kristina’s best buck to date. Courtesy of Kristina Causey

“I watched him dash out into the bean field, run about 60 yards, and go down,” she says. “The arrow passed completely through his chest and both lungs. I called Chris immediately and told him what happened. He couldn’t believe it, but got there fast.”

Chris and his brother, Brandon, and Brandon’s girlfriend, Allie Joseph, all drove up to celebrate with Causey and help her load her buck onto the trailer.

hunter in back of UTV with a buck.
Causey with her buck in the back of the side-by-side. Courtesy of Kristina Causey

They rough scored the buck at 158 inches.

“I know it’s the same buck from 2022 trail camera photos, because of the drop tine,” Causey says. “He was much bigger this year, though.”

After filling her tag so early in the year, Causey isn’t sure she’s done for the season.

“There’s still that nice 8-pointer I saw in the bean field,” she says. “But I’d really like to take him with a compound bow. That’s my next goal—getting a deer with a compound.”

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