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For show-and-tell, T.A. Lewis’s teacher put a photo of him and the deer he killed on the classroom smartboard, then she had him talk about it.
“I was really confused. I didn’t know what to say,” Lewis said. “I had to explain what a point is.”
He said all his friends were rather impressed to hear his story.
“They said, ‘Wow.’ And they clapped,” Lewis said.
And this was only his first deer, a 4-point buck he killed with a crossbow on Sept. 28. With his muzzleloader doe on Oct. 21, then his 8-point buck killed on Nov. 1 with a rifle, Lewis completed the triple trophy – deer killed in the same season by the three methods.
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Pretty impressive for a 6-year-old, a tall kindergartener who at 4-foot-3 is only a couple inches taller than his rifle. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission began recognizing the triple trophy in 1998-99, when 772 accomplished the feat. In the 16 years since, there have been 8,768 triple trophies awarded in the state.
“We believe he is one of the youngest hunters, if not the youngest, to receive the award,” said Trey Reid of the GFC.
While it may not have totally sunk in with T.A., his parents are both proud and impressed.
“The people, like everybody around us who hunts, know it’s a pretty big deal,” Blake said. “I’ve only done it twice in 21 years of hunting.
“It’s a pretty big accomplishment because Game and Fish recognizes it and gives a certificate. For a 6-year-old to do it, in his first year of hunting, we’re pretty proud of him.”
Mom Amanda is still trying for hers, although she has taken an elk when she was pregnant with T.A.
“I’ve lost count of my deer,” she said. “I’ve been hunting since I was 10 and killed my first one at 14.
“I’m tickled to death. I’m very excited about it. He’s done something that I’ve never done. At 6 years old, he’s beat momma at something. He likes that.”
T.A. used a crossbow on a monpod to take his first small buck during bow season. He was in the same permanent ground blind on the family’s property when a doe fell from his muzzleloader shot of 60 yards.
Blake said he was a bit nervous, but calmed himself down and made a good shot.
“Smoke goes everywhere,” Blake said. “He looks at me, ‘Dad, I can’t see nothing. All I can see is smoke.’ I said, ‘Buddy, I don’t know. We have to go find it.’
“He made a really good shot. She ran just a little ways. Found her, no problems.”
Then they went to Blake’s dad’s property for the gun season opener and were hunting over a big food plot.
“We get in there and he falls asleep first thing,” Blake said. “Nothing was going on so that was Ok. A doe and a little one come out right next to us. We try to get him awake.”
Blake said he could take the small buck but T.A. had other ideas. He wanted to kill something he could put on the wall. So they waited, and a bit later a deer that Blake would mount came out on the far side of the field. The 8-pointer was chasing a doe and working a scrape.
Despite already putting down two deer, T.A. was more nervous, especially staring down a long shot of 245 yards.
“He was shaking so bad. He has got buck fever really bad,” Blake said. “The buck is working a scrape. He can see everything taking place, and he is shook.
“My dad tells him, ‘T.A., you cannot move. On that far of a shot, if you move at all, you’re going to miss.’
T.A. said he thought he could do it, and grandpa helped calm him down.
“The doe runs out and the buck runs right up behind her and stops,” Blake said. “T.A. squeezes it and the deer hits the ground right there. He tried to get up and we go, T.A. finishes it off, and he got his triple trophy.”
Amanda was home and got the call at 8:30 a.m., T.A. telling her he shot an 8-point. She quickly went to see.
“I had to wait as they drove it around and had to show grandma and everybody else,” Amanda said. “We did a big celebration thing for him. I think we even cooked (venison) steaks for him that night.”
And at school, T.A. told all his friends, only this time having to explain what a triple trophy was, which is something he can show and tell forever.