Steve Lewis of Haynesville took some time off during Thanksgiving week with an eye on spending some hours in his duck blind on Corney Lake in Claiborne Parish.

When he awoke the morning of Nov. 24, he walked outside to check conditions. It was a bit on the warm side, breezy with some showers, and from the reports he'd been getting, the ducks were late in arriving to North Louisiana.

So he changed his plans.

Lewis, 53, decided instead of spending the morning sitting in a duck blind with little hope of success, he would pack his Weatherby .270 short-mag and sit in his deer stand. His son, Tyler, had some trail cameras out in the area, and they had revealed a couple of 8-point bucks plus a really nice 9-point. Lewis was focused on the larger buck, hoping this would be the day the 9-point would make its move.

"I crawled into my stand before daylight, and was having second thoughts about not going to the duck blind when I saw a deer walking along the edge of a hill out in front of me," he said. "The deer had its tail up like a yearling will sometimes do, so I had no reason to get excited until I put my scope on it. Man, I thought, that's a big deer!

"I watched the deer stop and make a scrape under a holly tree, and knew then it was a buck, but thought maybe it was the 9-point the camera had captured.

"I couldn't tell anything about the rack because the deer was in a pretty heavy thicket, and when I looked through my scope, I could see just the back part of his rack, and only his shoulder was in a small space between two trees. I put the crosshairs on the shoulder, squeezed the trigger and the deer bolted. I was ready for him if he crossed my shooting lane, but he didn't, so I was hoping he had fallen before he got to the lane.

"He didn't run far, and I had no trouble tracking from where I shot to where he lay dead. When I walked up on him, I saw real quick that it wasn't the 9-point but was a much bigger and more impressive buck. The more I looked at him, the bigger he got, and I remember saying, 'Thank you, Lord. Where in the world did a buck like this come from?' I've seen deer from Kansas, and this buck was in that class.

"What amazes me is that we've hunted this land several years and have had cameras out, and this buck never showed up on any camera nor had anybody reported ever seeing him. It was just unbelievable."

The buck's body size was no comparison to his rack. The deer weighed only 170 pounds, and it was obvious he was in full rut.

"I called my son and told him he wasn't going to believe what I had just shot," Lewis said. "I'm sure he figured it was the 9-point, but when I told him it had 18 points, he didn't believe me at first. He headed my way, and I had to call him back after examining the rack more carefully and said to him 'Tyler, I was wrong. I didn't see the drop-tine; it has 19 points.'"

By the time father and son got the deer home, some phone calls had been made and word spread like wildfire.

"People I'd never seen nor heard of began showing up taking pictures and asking questions. It's something I'd have never expected," Lewis said.

The buck was taken to Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop for scoring, and the results were truly eye-popping.

"When they told me what the score was, I'm sure I just stood there with my mouth open; I couldn't believe it," Lewis said.

The buck greenscored as a non-typical a whopping 216 7/8 points. The antlers featured a 17-inch inside spread, heavy mass and long G-2s and G-3s. As a special feature, the rack was accessorized with a 7½-inch drop tine.

Lewis' assessment of his accomplishment on a day he thought he'd be duck hunting?

"You just never know what is walking around in these North Louisiana woods."