Forgotten Lock Key Leads To New Hunting Spot And Coweta Winner For John Lewis

Roy Kellett | July 1, 2005

John Lewis, of Hogansville, had been so busy with his work as a criminal investigator for Coweta County, he  scarcely had time to hunt during archery season. And though John had been able to take a doe, he wanted to harvest something with antlers.

On September 28, John took off from work at his normal time and went to his 550-acre lease for a short hunt. Things didn’t start off well, because John had locked his stand to a tree in a hardwood bottom, but he left his keys at his truck.

“I walked all the way in to the stand before I realized it, and I wasn’t going to get the key and go back, so I sat in a lock-on stand we have on the edge of small food plot,” John said. “I was soaked in sweat by the time I got there.”

John Lewis forgot the key to unlock his stand, so he sat somewhere else on his Coweta County property and ended up killing the Week 3 winner that fateful day.

The plot, planted in oats and peas, was just a narrow strip between some thick planted pines and a hardwood drain. The small strip of oats and peas is a little less than 100-yards long, with a slight curve about 30 yards from one end. The lock-on was in the curve, so deer could come in to the plot from either direction.

“There was about 30 yards of the field behind me, and about 60 yards in front,” John said.

John, who was trying to take a break from work, ended up getting a cell phone call from a co-worker after he had been in the stand for close to an hour. Fortunately, John’s phone had been on vibrate, because as soon as he hung up, a buck stepped into the field.

“I couldn’t believe it,” John said. “Literally about the time I hung the phone on my belt, he stepped out.”

The buck, which was coming from John’s right side, was feeding at the edge of the strip, but John knew from shooting several locations in the field with his rangefinder that the buck was more than 50 yards away.

The deer didn’t stay out of John’s bow range for long. As it fed, the buck moved up the edge of the field a few more yards before turning broadside.

“I had been practicing 40-yard shots with my bow, so I felt confident about shooting that far,” John said. “The deer was between 40 and 50 yards, so I held on top of his back, just behind the shoulder, and let it go.”

When John shot, the deer ran a few yards, like he might continue on the way he had been going. But then he wheeled, and headed back from where he came.

John, too excited to wait, immediately climbed from his stand and headed toward where the buck had stood when he shot. The rangefinder told John he was 47 yards from his stand.

“I couldn’t find the arrow right away, but I knew where the buck had been, and when I went to the edge of the woods, there was a lot of bright red blood on the bushes,” John said.

Excited to have made such a long shot and find an easy-to-follow blood trail, John started looking for his buck. But he didn’t look long. The deer was laying just a few yards into the woods.

John had shot so far, he actually shot over an oak limb that was between him and the deer.

“I couldn’t believe it,” John said. “The distance he ran was actually shorter than the distance I had to shoot to get him.”

The 160-lb. buck had main beams over 20-inches long on each side and a spread wider than 15 inches. The deer only had a couple of inches in deductions.

Everyone John tried to call to help drag the deer was busy, so John drove his truck as close to the deer as he could get.

“I still had to drag him over several blowdowns and across the food plot, and I managed to tear the passenger-side mirror off the truck going through a mud hole,” John laughed. “My wife bought me a cart to use, and I doubt I’ll go to the woods without it or an ATV again.”

Fate smiled on John when he forgot the key to unlock his climbing stand. It might smile on him in the Shoot-Out.

“My preacher, Paul Dennis, was in the Shoot-Out a couple of years ago,” John said. “He’s going to let me practice with his gun.”


2004-05 Truck-Contest Weekly Winner Hunt Stories
Week 1: Gary King’s Worth County Record-Class Bow Buck
Week 1: Marshall Compton’s Rockdale County Non-typical Earns Shoot-Out Spot
Week 2: Taylor McCann’s DeKalb County Bow-Buck Nets 174 7/8 Inches!
Week 4: DeKalb County Pope & Young Puts Brian Mitchell In Shoot-Out
Week 5: Phillip Harper’s 145-Inch Muzzleloader Buck From Meriwether County
Ladies Wildcard: 15-year-old Samantha Linhart’s 150-Inch Worth County Buck

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