Truck-Buck is not the kind of contest that someone pays an entry fee up front expecting to win a truck because they have the best land in the state. Rather, it has always been a contest more about recognizing and celebrating the fortunate, everyday GON subscribers who kill good bucks.
This year there is a big change to Truck-Buck that levels the playing field even more and greatly increases the average hunter’s chance to participate in the fun and excitement of the Truck-Buck Shoot-Out. This season there will be 42 hunters who make the Shoot-Out instead of 21. We will break down the scoring so that bucks compete only against bucks taken in the same week in the same hunting zone.
From the beginning 19 years ago when we first kicked around the idea of starting a big-buck contest for GON subscribers, Truck-Buck was designed to be unique and different. GON wanted a big-buck contest that didn’t simply reward the biggest rack. Instead, we sought a format that leveled the playing field as much as possible. The concept of weekly winners and a Shoot-Out did just that. Over the years the grand-prize truck winners have been a diverse bunch, ranging from a hunter with spina bifida to a senior who could barely see without his bifocals to a slew of kids and teenagers. Truck winners have come from Marietta, Conyers, LaGrange, Perry, Montezuma, Eastman, Leesburg and Thomasville to name just a few.
For each of the 17 weekly scoring periods of the contest and in the four wild cards, there will be a Northern Zone winner and a Southern Zone winner. Those winners will shoot in a sudden-death, heads-up elimination round — Week 1 North vs. Week 1 South, etc. The winner of the Week 1 heads-up Shoot-Out will earn win a bow (a gun if it was a firearms-season week) and advance to the grand-prize Shoot-Out against the other heads-up winners. The loser of the heads-up Shoot-Out goes home with a Bug Tamer package that includes a full bug-tamer plus suit, hood and mitts; a Tinks Scent Pack; and a one-of-a-kind, personalized Shoot-Out shirt from Realtree.
The hunter who wins their heads-up match and then wins the grand prize Shoot-Out will drive home in a new pick-up truck from John Megel Chevrolet. The second-best shot in the grand prize Shoot-Out will win a four-wheeler from Motions. But best of all, there will now be 42 deer hunters who after this season will join past Shoot-Out qualifiers in the unique fraternity in the Georgia hunting scene.
In addition, GON is sponsoring two bonus contests for GON subscribers who are also members of the GONetwork, the non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting hunting and fishing in Georgia. GONetwork’s primary contest, called the GONetwork to Win Big Buck Contest, also offers a sweet grand prize — an additional new truck. Yes, two trucks. GON subscribers who are also GONetwork members can enter both contests by filling out one entry form.
In addition, the GONetwork conducts a statewide contest just for SEEDS, the youth members of the GONetwork. Youngsters will compete only against other SEEDS members who live in their GONetwork district for a chance at a dream hunt at Little River Plantation, plus a prize package that includes a bow, a muzzleloader, hunting boots, and a camo set. This year, there are only FOUR youths in the drawing for the Grand Prize. In 53 districts, any buck entered and scored would have qualified for the drawing! (For more information on the GONetwork to Win contest and the special GONetwork statewide SEEDS Big Buck Contest, see page 128.)
The Truck-Buck contest is easy to enter. First, you must be a paid GON subscriber when you kill a buck. Entering is then as simple as filling out an entry form that you can tear out of the magazine or photocopy, then have someone take the required photos of you and your buck, and put them in the mail. If you have internet access and a digital camera, it is even more simple than that. You can fill out an online entry form and upload the required photos at <www.gon.com>.
The season is divided into 17 weekly contests. When we complete the official scoring of the racks at the end of the season, we’ll determine the best-scoring buck of each week for each hunting zone. Those 34 hunters will each win a weekly prize and a spot in the heads-up Shoot-Out for a “just-beat-one” chance to advance to the grand prize Shoot-Out.
There are also Wild-Card spots in the Shoot-Out, which are now also broken down by hunting zone. The best buck taken by a youth in the Northern Zone and the best buck taken by a youth in the Southern Zone will compete heads-up for a spot in the grand prize Shoot-Out. There are also wild cards for female hunters and for the highest-scoring buck from each zone that hasn’t already earned a spot in the Shoot-Out. Another change this year is to what used to be the WMA wild card. This wild card is now called the Public Land wild card and it goes to the best buck legally killed off any Georgia WMA, any National Forest land in Georgia, any Georgia State Park, or any National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia — from each zone, of course.
Here’s a look at the prizes in this year’s Truck-Buck Contest:
Grand Prize Shoot-Out Winner: The top shooter in next year’s Shoot-Out will take home a new pick-up truck from John Megel Chevrolet in Dawsonville. John Megel again offers up a fully-loaded Z-71 truck. The truck will also sport a spray-on bedliner provided by Line-X. This valuable prize for the Truck-Buck contest wouldn’t be possible without the continued support of John Megel and the folks at his dealership.
Second Grand Prize: The second-best shooter during the grand prize Shoot-Out will take home a top-notch four-wheeler from sponsor and long-time GON supporter Motions in Marietta. The second-best shooter will also get a trailer.
Heads-Up Winner Prizes: The hunter who kills the best buck during a week of the season for their zone and wins the heads-up Shoot-Out not only earns a spot in the grand prize Shoot-Out, those 17 hunters also win a great prize. During the five weeks of bow season, the heads-up winners each receive a Mathews Classic SoloCam bow. The heads-up winner of the sixth week, the primitive-weapons week, receives a CVA .45 caliber Optima in-line muzzleloader. During the 11 weeks of firearms season, the heads-up winner each week earn a Browning A-Bolt rifle.
Heads-Up Runner Up Prizes: The weekly winner from the north or south that loses the heads-up match will go home with some great prizes. Georgia-based Shannon Outdoors will provide a complete Bug Tamer Plus set, including pants, jacket, and mitts. Also, that person will win a package of products that includes their famous Tink’s 69 Doe-in-Heat scent.
Plus, all 42 Shoot-Out Contestants will receive a one-of-a-kind, personalized shirt from our friends at Realtree.
Truck-Buck has always been unique because each week was like a separate contest. Now, each week is like TWO separate contests. Your buck is only competing against other GON subscribers who enter a buck killed the same week, in the same hunting zone. Take a look at the chart below to see how the new Truck-Buck format would have changed the Shoot-Out lineup of last season’s contest… three kids, three ladies, four WMA bucks, and two Southern Zone weeks where any antlered buck would have earned a spot in the Shoot-Out!
There’s no entry fee to enter a buck in the Truck-Buck contest, you just have to be a GON subscriber.
Don’t forget that you can enter online, and whether you enter a buck or not, you can track every entry at <www.gon.com>.
21 Additional Hunters Will Make the Shoot-Out!
Just for fun, let’s see how the new format would have changed the line-up of last season’s Truck-Buck contest.
Morgan Co. Loy Banks 171 6/8*
Sumter Co. Tony Morris 131 6/8
Gwinnett Co. Jody Cofer 112 5/8
Ware Co. Douglas Carter 129 4/8
Jones Co. Harley Davis 124 1/8
Any Antlered Buck Would Have Won
Oconee Co. Jammy Strickland 115 7/8
Any Antlered Buck Would Have Won
Cobb Co. David Bailey 145 0/8
Burke Co. Kelvin Rhodes 144 6/8
Hancock Co. Debi Rogers 103 2/8
Baker Co. Glenn Paschal 154 0/8
Morgan Co. Joe Chandler 137 3/8
Lee Co. Shane Bethea 151 1/8
Rum Creek WMA Tracey Johnson 144 0/8
Riverbend WMA Ron Gooden 139 5/8
Franklin Co. Paul Vaughn 149 5/8
Dodge Co. Tony McCranie 169 1/8
Walton Co. Rex Grimes 142 6/8
Dodge Co. Marvin Hightower 146 7/8
Bartow Co. Albert Turner 133 3/8
Brooks/Lee Co. (tie) Myers/Shugart (tie) 146 2/8
Polk Co. Scott Holland 149 2/8
Taylor Co. Jeff Watson 146 4/8
Heard Co. Ashley Osterholt 143 0/8
Terrell Co. Trey Pate 135 2/8
Meriwether Co. Randy Cason 137 0/8
Taylor Co. Angie Schmeck 132 3/8
Heard Co. Ron Snider 136 6/8
Baker Co. Alan Bone 143 2/8
Oconee Co. Sam Cleghorne 123 3/8
Macon Co. Michael Carney 152 7/8
Jones Co. Travis Fulwood 128 6/8
Macon Co. Kenny Sears *168 6/8
Jasper Co. Danny Christian 142 7/8
Macon Co. Larry Underwood *176 1/8
Jones Co. Michael Carpenter Jr. 133 5/8
Marion Co. Tyler Pelfrey 140 1/8
Crawford Co. Brenda Hall 137 6/8
Calhoun Co. Jana Sizemore 141 4/8
Paulding Co. For. WMA Andy Baginski 122 5/8
River Creek WMA Ronnie Bradford 133 1/8