The Wayne County Hog and Coon Jam the weekend of Feb. 21-23 saw hunters from some 50 communities and at least a half-dozen states gather at the Jaycee fairgrounds in Jesup for the annual competition.
The event is sponsored by the Wayne County Board of Tourism and continues to grow each year.
More than 200 hog hunters signed up for this year’s hunt. Some of those hunters included 10 Wounded Warriors and a dozen young trophy hunters who entered a special youth category.
Coon hunters from as far away as Ohio, Illinois and Tennessee joined this year’s event with 59 dogs participating Friday night and another 54 Saturday night.
In all, the payout for cooners and hoggers totaled more than $14,000 for the three-day event.
The top prize of $2,500 went to the first-place dog team of Charles Standfield, of Glennville, with a total of 578.5 pounds of porkers. The second-place dog team was that of Greg Boatwight, of Patterson, with a total take of 567.5 pounds. Third place went to Chris Manning’s team with 514 pounds.
First place in the gun division went to Dustin Smith, of Eastman, with a 229-pounder, which paid $1,250. Brian Schaeffer, of Macon, took the second spot with a 194.5 pig, and Tyler Garrett, of Zebulon, took a 188.5-pounder to place in the money at third.
In the bow division, Ronald Milbrandt, of Guyton, took home $1,250 for a 218-lb. entry. Ren Batchelor, of Eastman, took second with a 198-lb. entry. Jesup’s Doug Sharp placed third with a 118-lb. hog.
The bow and gun stringer division was won by Dustin Smith with a total of 12 hogs heavier than 40 pounds. The dog-stringer division was won by Hard Core Hunting team from Ridell, La., with a total of 13 hogs. The team captain, Ryan Paquette, returned the $1,000 purse for the win to the Tourism Board and said to use it for next year’s event.
“We’ll be back,” he promised.
Other winners included Jesse Sullivan with a 32.5-lb. coyote; Genys Altman was the winner in the female hunter division with a 64-lb. pig; and 10-year-old Carter Spradley took first place in the kids’ division with a 213.5-lb. entry.
Most of the hunters donated the hogs, which were cleaned at no charge by Jerry Sloan of Sloan’s Processing and a group of volunteers. The meat will be donated to local food kitchens. Last year the total donated to Tabatha’s Place was more than 800 pounds and at least that much was expected to be presented this year.
In the Coon Jam, the first ever for such an event in Jesup, Friday night’s first place went to Indian River Cream, owned and handled by Oliver Winn, of Ormond Beach, Fla.
Saturday night, first place was won by John Henry, owned and handled by Andrew Bryan, of Tifton.
The overall youth winner went to Dawson Burgamy, of Milledgeville, and dog Bam Bam, owned by Joe Wilbanks—winners of two casts in two nights.
The final four opted to hunt for the $2,000 purse. The eventual winner was John Henry, owned and handled by Andrew Bryan. Second went to Mojo’s Top Dollar, owned by Kerry Rooks and handled by Junior Rogers.
Stylish Bankers Big Easy took third for owner Bill Rector and handler Brett Denney. And Parley’s Wipeout Jakes placed fourth for Jonathan Parsley.
Cast winners listed by dog, owner and handler for the two nights were Ocmulgee’s Wipeout Jeff, Graham Marchant, Chase Ragland; Bawl’s Spud Lite, Alan Coffey, Justin Hunter Barber; Mo Phrisky, Marchant/Horne, Jarvis Marchant; Sun’s Whitey Gal, Cochran/Jordan, Johnny Pate; Bear Creek Lady, Willard Bush, Zach Bowersock; Beaver Dam Sam, Tony Wright, Kevin Nelson; Full Throttle Captain Hook, Jarrett Corley, Justin Stokes; Wipedout Blaze, Chad Warren, Chad Warren.