Kyle Culbreth’s Lucky Bluegrass Buck

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Kentucky bowhunter thanks generous neighbor and an early cold front for the opportunity

Rack Report Details
Buck: 170 inches (green, gross)
Time of Year: September 7, 2019
Place: Edmonson County, Kentucky
Weapon: Obsession Hemorrhage

Kyle Culbreth poses with his Edmonson County, Kentucky buck, taken on September 7, 2019. (Kyle Culbreth photo)

Kentucky bowhunter Kyle Culbreth looks at his big deer and says he was, well, lucky.

“I owe this deer to luck, a bunch of luck,” he said. But he hunted smart, too.

Culbreth’s luck started with a conversation with a land-owning friend who wasn’t a serious deer hunter. The friend mentioned he’d seen a nice buck on his property the year before, and he told Culbreth that he was welcome to hunt the buck in exchange for keeping an eye on the land. Culbreth took him up on the offer and immediately hung cameras. It didn’t take long to get photos of a great deer.

Culbreth watched the buck grow all summer. It was a regular in front of his Spartan cellular camera, which was positioned over a mineral lick and bait pile along the edge of a soybean field. There was only one problem — the buck was completely nocturnal, never showing up before the end of shooting light.

The day before Kentucky’s opener, the temperature dropped several degrees. Sure enough, Culbreth’s cell cam sent photos of the buck in the beans just before dark. It was the first daylight movement in nearly a month. And the forecast wind for the next evening was perfect.

Culbreth knew he needed to be in the stand. But that part of the property was small, and the only way to it led by the buck’s bedding area. Because the deer were used to farm traffic, he made the decision to not walk in. Instead, his wife drove him to the stand.  

The plan worked. As darkness neared, deer filtered into the beans. Five bucks and four does stood below him. Culbreth credits his Ozonics unit for keeping the deer from catching his scent and blowing out of the field.

Then, he saw another deer making its way along the field edge. It was the buck he was looking for. Trouble was, the buck entered the field directly downwind.

His Spartan trail camera played a big role in harvesting this buck. (Kyle Culbreth photo)

“I credit two things for keeping the buck from busting me,” Culbreth said. “One, the other deer in the field were calm. And two, even though I had had my doubts, the Ozonics unit made a believer out of me.

“I didn’t think there would be any way for me to get drawn on the deer with that many eyes in the field,” Culbreth continued. “But the buck stepped out into the beans just 21 yards from the stand. Every deer in the field instantly turned its attention to the big deer. The other bucks moved away as soon as he walked out.”

Taking advantage of their momentary lapse in attention, he slowly drew his bow. The buck turned slightly, giving him a perfect 20-yard, quartering-away shot. Culbreth released the arrow, watched it hit, and saw the buck kick and bolt off back through the beans. Seconds later, he heard the buck crash to the ground, and everything grew quiet.

Confident the buck was down, Culbreth quietly climbed down and began the long wait. After 2 hours, he went to the spot of the shot and found blood. A good blood trail led him 70 yards to where he’d heard the buck crash.

The buck sported a wide 10-point main frame with several scorable kickers. Once the buck was caped and in the cooler, Culbreth and his buddies stretched a tape over the rack. They came up with a green gross score of approximately 170 inches.

Word quickly spread in the area, and several local hunters stopping by to see the rack. To his surprise, Culbreth looked up to see Bone Collector’s Travis “T-Bone” Turner walk through the door to check out the deer. Turner was hunting property nearby and heard about the buck through a mutual friend.

“I still can’t believe everything worked out the way it did,” Culbreth said. “It really was a bunch of luck.”

Luck or not, it’s a great deer.

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