No stranger to taking well-crowned bucks in Louisiana’s Red River delta country, Thomas Lewis was on a months-long quest for another.
“During the archery season, this huge buck started showing up on our field cameras,” the 48-year-old Montgomery hunter said.“My brother, a friend and I had over 1,000 images of this buck, including over 200 captured in a five-day period on my brother’s camera alone.”
The hunters have stands on a private tract of hardwoods bordering the Red River in Grant Parish. Deer would venture into the area to munch on mast as well as the corn and rice bran placed by the hunters, with several bruiser bucks having been taken on the property over the years.
But the 14-point Lewis was after wizened up to bowhunting pressure early in the season, and eventually became a no-show when the archers of the group were on stands.
Remarkably, images continued to show up on cameras placed near other locations where the hunters were not set up – indicating that the buck had patterned their hunting habits.
But when gun season commenced, Lewis relished his chances at the buck.
And on Monday, Dec. 12 — when no images of the buck had been captured in 58 long days — Lewis decided to head out for a hunt.
“We figured the buck may have been taken on another lease,” he said. “We were all having a fit over that possibility because we knew how big he was.”
A cold front had passed the day before, and winds were calm with a partly cloudy sky.
“In the morning, I saw nothing and I decided to break at 11 a.m.,” he said.
After lunch, Lewis returned to his ground blind at 3 p.m.
“For a good while, all I saw were a few squirrels,” he said.
But at almost 5:30, Lewis happened to look to his right and saw a heavy-horned buck standing with its head down munching on kernels of corn.
“He was 50 yards away and I looked at him through my binoculars to see if it was the same buck,” he said. “I still wasn’t certain it was the same animal, but it was a good buck and I decided to take him.”
Lewis sited the buck through the scope on his Browning BAR .300 mag, pulled the trigger and the big deer went down instantly.
“Once I walked over and saw it was the buck from all the camera images, I immediately texted my brother and wife that I got him,” he said. “They both knew which buck I was texting about.”
Measurements indicated the buck sported circumferences of 6 ⅛ inches on the left base and 5 6/8 on the right. The right main beam measured 26 ⅜ inches, and the left was measured at 24 ⅞ inches, with an inside spread of 18 ⅞ inches.
The buck, which weighed 175 pounds and was estimated at 6 ½ years old, sported G2s about 13 inches long.
Three scorers measured the big buck, with it coming in at 171 4/8, 167 ⅞ and 169 ⅜ inches gross. Lewis is waiting for the 60-day period before having the antlers officially scored.
Don't forget to enter photos of your bucks in the Nikon Big Buck Photo Contest to be eligible for monthly giveaways and the rand drawing for Nikon optics at the end of the contest.
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.