Frank Lemongelli is a bowhunter.
Bowhunters are generally pessimistic.
Therefore, Frank is a pessimist. Or at least he used to be.
When the 48-year-old health department inspector drew his bow to shoot an impossibly huge buck last fall, a tree branch obscured the deer’s side. In order to get a shot, he would have to wait – arm cocked and string taut – for the animal to take a few steps away from the scrape.
“I was sure it wasn’t going to happen. I thought, Yep, I’ve been here before,” said the hunter from Monroe City, Missouri. “I’ve been there too many times.
“As a bowhunter, you come to expect failure, I guess,” he added.
This one did not turn or run away, however. It took a couple of steps closer, and Frank, already drawn, launched his arrow after stopping the deer with a grunt.
The fateful day was a cool and drizzly Oct. 22. Frank was in his treestand on his father-in-law’s property by 3:30. When he stood about 6:00 to prepare for the remains of the day, he heard something behind him.
The impressive buck was approaching from 75 yards.
“I don’t remember pulling the release’s trigger, but I saw the Lumenok disappear in the crease behind the buck’s shoulder,” he said. “I will never forget the sound of the arrow hitting that deer.”
The blood trail was easy to follow, and it led Frank straight to the downed buck, which was lying in a dry and rocky creek bed.
Frank calls his deer King Swinkey.
“It’s from the name the locals use for where we live. We attend St. Stephens Church in Indian Creek, which has the oldest annual church picnic in Missouri. It’s called the Swinkey Picnic.
“When I saw my deer’s rack, the left side just looked like a crown. King Swinkey is the first thing that popped into my head when I saw him. He was definitely the king of our woods,” he added.
The antlers haven’t been taped for the BTR, but they were green-scored at 226 inches.
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