Blane Haygood knew better than to try sneaking a look at the buck his daughter was about to shoot. He and she were sitting side by side in separate office-type chairs, looking out of opposite windows, when the enormous whitetail stepped into the lane 15-year-old Kendall was facing.
It was bad enough that the girl had accidentally bumped the box blind’s window ledge while poking the barrel of her .243 out the slot. Miraculously, maybe because the rain dampened the thud, the deer had not run back into the woods.
Yet if Blane’s broken chair squeaked mid-turn, he knew the blame would fall squarely on his shoulders. And he had no intention of interfering with her success.
Kendall, meanwhile, remained remarkably calm.
“I wasn’t as nervous as I normally get,” said the sophomore trumpet and soccer player at West Monroe High School. “That’s probably because I saw the buck first, and Daddy couldn’t say, ‘Oh, my god, that’s a HUGE buck,’ while I’m trying to get it in my sights.”
Acquiring this one in her cross-hairs took about three seconds. There was no need to count points.
While Kendall, an only child, has never hunted by herself, rarely a weekend passes when she isn’t sharing a stand with her dad. They also hunt the entire Christmas break. In four seasons, she’s shot a dozen bucks and many more does.
“I usually max out,” she said.
“I like going out with my dad,” she continued. “I love the rush after I’ve shot a deer, and the shaking that follows.”
The Haygoods hunt 1,000 acres in Catahoula Parish, well south of their home in West Monroe. The place is home to a lot of whitetails, some great, but none previously that can compare to the one she nailed on New Year’s Day.
“We knew we had good bucks on our property, but we had no idea there was one like this,” she said.
On this day, Jan. 1, 2013, Kendall and her father arrived at their 10-foot-high, 4x6-foot box blind about 3 p.m. after a mile-long hike. It would’ve been possible and much easier to drive to the shooting house, but they prefer not to put any extra pressure on the deer.
It wasn’t the best of days, and it got off to a rocky start.
“I was sick,” Kendall said. “It was rainy and cold. The temperature was probably in the high 30s, or maybe 40 degrees.”
To combat the chill, her daddy decided to light their portable propane heater. When he set it in his lap and tried lighting it, however, flames whooshed out, causing him to drop the heater.
“There was a leak or something, and it blew up in his lap,” Kendall said. “It was kind of funny, sort of, but he wasn’t laughing. He said, ‘Well, I guess we won’t see anything now!’”
But that wasn’t the case. Before long, Blane saw a few does halfway down one of the three long lanes the box blind overlooks. He was sitting in an old office chair with busted wheels, looking in one direction, while Kendall stared out the opposite window.
About 4:30, Kendall saw a couple of yearlings on her side. Five minutes later, she saw this buck.
Kendall eased the barrel of her .243 out the window, but bumped the ledge. She just knew the deer was going to run off, but it paid the noise no mind.
Two or three seconds later, she squeezed the trigger.
Only then did Blane turn fully around, binoculars at the ready. He’d been afraid to try earlier because he thought the broken chair might squeak.
When he saw the deer lying in the lane, he could see only the curve of one side of its rack.
“He asked me, ‘Why’d you shoot a little one?’” Kendall said. “Before I could really answer, the buck lifted its head, as if it were trying to get up, and Daddy saw the whole thing.
“Of course, he said, ‘OH, MY GOD. That’s the biggest deer I’ve ever seen!’”
“I already knew that,” she grinned.
Hunter: Kendall Haygood – Photos by Pam Swayze
BTR Score: 205 2/8”
This article was published in the November 2013 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home. Read Recent RACK Articles:
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