Keith Hardy of Winder had a knack for getting on good Barrow County bucks, typically late in the sea- son. During the 2002 season, a late- season non-typical that netted almost 140 put Keith in the Truck-Buck Shoot- Out, and he finished second to win a 4-wheeler.
Last season, Keith used summer scouting to get on a buck early in bow season, and it paid off with a huge 7- pointer — one of the better bucks ever taken with a bow in Barrow County.
It was that year-round dedication and love for getting outdoors that sent Keith to the woods the morning of Aug. 10. While using a climber to trim limbs, the bottom part of Keith’s climber somehow came loose from the tree. Keith fell an estimated 30 feet and was killed instantly.
“We don’t know exactly what happened, but the top part of the climber was still up in the tree,” said Keith’s father, Larry Hardy of Winder, who found Keith after family and friends became worried when he didn’t return from the woods.
Larry said Keith had a safety strap with him, but it was not attached.
Falls from treestands are far and away the most common hunting accidents and present the greatest danger in what is typically a very safe sport. Most injuries and deaths from treestand falls can be prevented with the use of a safety harness.
At Keith’s funeral service, his love of hunting and the outdoors was evident. His pallbearers all wore camo, and Keith’s GON Shoot-Out shirt from the 2003 Truck-Buck contest was pressed neatly in a frame that stood over his casket.
Keith was an electrician, working with his dad at Performance Electric.