Tony Lewis’ Dooly County 180-Inch Booner
To make the Boone & Crockett Record Book, a typical buck must score at least 170 inches. Tony Lewis of Cordele hammered a Dooly County buck on a drizzly day in November that would eclipse the minimum by better than 10 inches.
Tony, who says he doesn’t hunt as much as he used to since he has children at home, took a Friday off work and headed to the woods with his father-in-law Robin McGlamory. The pair have been hunting together for the past seven years.
“We hunt together all the time,” Tony said. Sounding amused, he added, “We just make his daughter and his wife mad most of the year.”
Tony and his father-in-law visited a tract of land on their morning hunt, but when it was time to go, neither had seen a deer. The two tried another tract before getting a bite to eat. In the afternoon, they returned to the land they had visited first thing in the morning, debating over whether to hunt in a rain that had set in.
“We sat there and talked about it, and we figured we were off work to deer hunt, so we went hunting,” Tony said.
Tony picked his afternoon spot because he thought he would have daylight for a little while longer. The stand was along a fencerow on the edge of a picked peanut field. On the opposite side of the field was a mix of pines and hardwoods.
“I had seen a bunch of does and young bucks there before the season came in, so I felt like it was a good spot,” Tony said.
However, sitting in the rain all afternoon wasn’ t Tony’s idea of a great time. The rain, which had been coming for most of the afternoon, quit a little after 4 o’clock.
At about 4:45, two does came into the open from under an oak tree on the opposite side of the peanut field, about 300 yards away. The pair of deer began to feed in the field, and Tony watched through his scope for a few minutes. As the deer got farther into the field, Tony put his rifle back down and waited.
It wasn’t a long wait.
“About 5 o’clock, I saw another deer coming through the trees,” Tony said.
Tony picked his .270 up to get a look at the deer, and when he did, he was shocked at what he saw. The deer had been walking with its head down, and Tony didn’t notice the rack. But when Tony got the scope on the buck, he saw calcium, and lots of it.
“I couldn’t believe what I saw, so I picked my head up and looked over the scope, but I couldn’t see very good,” Tony said. “I have seen some big bucks, and shot a couple, but nothing anything like this.”
The buck started checking out the does in the field, and moved to Tony’s right about 40 or 50 yards. But the deer would not walk out in the open. Still, Tony had a broadside shot.
“I put the crosshairs on him and held it a couple of inches over his back and shot,” Tony said. “The deer bolted, put his tail down and stopped for a second.”
Tony was confident he had hit the deer, but he bolted another bullet home and fired at the deer a second time, watching as the huge animal loped out of the field.
Normally, Tony is a patient tracker, leaving a deer alone for a little while before he starts searching. But this monster buck had his curiosity running wild. Mostly, Tony wanted to know if he had hit the deer, and he immediately climbed out of his stand.
“I usually wait on a deer, but I had to go see if I had hit him,” Tony said.
As Tony walked across the field, the buck reappeared at the edge of the woods, walking. Tony shot twice more, but fearing the effects of nerves, said he didn’ t think either bullet touched the buck. In a split second, the buck was gone again.
Tony had already radioed his father-in-law, who showed up to help him search at about 6:15. Tony felt sure he had hit the buck on his first shot, but with more rain in the forecast, and the sky getting darker by the second, he didn’t want to run the risk of not finding the once-in-a-lifetime trophy.
Tony was walking along the edge of the field and having no luck finding any sign he had hit the deer, so he and Robin split up to search in the woods.
“I didn’t know if we could find blood, because everything was soaked,” Tony said. “In fact, I never did find any.”
Robin went to the right while Tony went to the left, and before long, Robin walked across a big scrape. Within a few more steps, he walked up on the deer.
“He said he found him, so I walked over there,” Tony said. “When he saw the antlers, he couldn’t believe it either.”
Tony was so pumped about his buck, he tried to drag it alone while Robin went to get the truck.
“I told him I could drag the buck. I couldn’t,” Tony laughed. “I thought I was going to bust my heart.”
Tony immediately called his wife to let her know about the deer, then he got the taxidermist on the phone and he and Robin went to drop the buck off.
“It was one of the highlights of my life,” Tony said.
Tony joked that the new Boone & Crockett entry dwarfed the perfect 8-point he has on his living room wall.
“That is a pretty 8-point, and now it just looks pathetic,” Tony said.
Tony’s Boone & Crockett buck had 12 points with five on the right side and seven on the left. The main beams went 25 7/8 inches and 24 4/8 inches. The right G2 was 12 3/8 inches, and the left one went 13 3/8. The buck’s G3s each went over 13 inches, and the G4s were 8 5/8 and 9 inches. The antlers had incredible mass as well. Of four circumference measurements on each antler, the smallest was 4 1/8 inches!
Word spread quickly about Tony’s Booner, and two local farmers told Tony they had seen the big buck. Another man told Tony he thought he shot at the same buck in the back of a field earlier in the season.
“I told him it really hurt my feelings that he missed,” Tony laughed.
Now Tony’s friends wonder why he should even deer hunt anymore, with a Booner on the wall. But Tony isn’t going to quit that easily.
“I just love to hunt,” Tony said. “I can just go out there with nothing to worry about and be me for a couple of hours.”
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