Not only is summer a good time to be out setting trail cameras, planting food plots and getting your hunting property ready for upcoming deer season, but it’s also time to look forward to the GON Outdoor Blast, which was held July 29-31 this year. The Outdoor Blast is an annual event, which is well-known for hosting the Truck-Buck Shoot-Out.
Each year, 42 contestants who won weeks or wildcards in the contest come from all across Georgia to the Outdoor Blast hoping to win the grand prize of a brand new Chevy pickup truck from John Megel Chevrolet, or the second grand prize, a Beast Ultimate hunting buggy.
On Saturday, there were heads-up, one-against-one matches between Northern Zone vs. Southern Zone winners from each week of last deer season and in the four wildcard categories. The winners of the Saturday heads-up matches moved on to Sunday’s finals for a chance at the Chevy truck and Beast. The heads-up winners for the 17 weeks of deer season also earned either a Mathews bow, a CVA muzzleloader or a Browning deer rifle.
Chad Coursey, of Concord, was the best shot on Sunday and took home the brand new Chevy pickup truck. Chad made it to the Shoot-Out by winning the Week 8 Northern Zone category with his Pike County buck that scored 148 7/8. Not only did Chad end up winning a new Truck, but there is an awesome story behind his buck that got him there.
It was Nov. 4 during the 2015-2016 deer season. Chad was hunting a small tract of family land he has hunted since he was a little boy. The wind was wrong to hunt one of his good stands he likes, so Chad set up in a stand on a clearcut that just had started to grow back up with brush.
“Right before dark, I saw a nice buck walking the fence line away from me,” said Chad. “I knew he was a good one, and I couldn’t believe he got by me. Very tore up about it… 15 minutes later, I saw the buck appear again at 100 yards. I put the crosshairs on him and shot. It was a angling to me shot, but I knew I was on him when I pulled the trigger. The buck stumbled in a patch of woods and never came out the other side, so I figured he went down.”
Chad went home to get his wife and kids to search for the buck. Chad walked up on the buck, and all of a sudden it jumped up and ran.
“We all backed out to wait,” said Chad. “I waited until the following morning to go back and find this buck. I didn’t sleep very good that night worrying about recovering him.”
Chad’s worries weren’t needed.
“The buck was laying 20 yards from where I bumped him. He was the biggest buck I have killed. This deer was very special because I have hunted hard all my life and have never been the luckiest person. After celebrating and taking pictures, I decided to enter my deer in the Truck-Buck contest. I have entered a few bucks in the Truck-Buck Contest in the past, but no luck with winning my week. I figured I wouldn’t win my week because it was in November, but it was worth a shot.”
Chad did end up winning the Week 8 North with his Pike County buck that netted 148 7/8. Tickled to death finding out he’d won, Chad borrowed a pellet rifle from a friend to start practicing for the Shoot-Out in July.
Saturday during the Outdoor Blast, 42 shooters went through practice, and the competition was looking tough. Saturday was the day when Northern Zone vs. Southern Zone from each week shot against each other to see who advanced to Sunday to get a chance at the grand prizes. Chad won his heads-up match and earned a Browning .30-06 rifle, which he said would go to his son when he’s older. Half the field, 21 shooters, proceeded to the Shoot-Out finals.
“I don’t do well when I get up on stages,” said Chad. “I shoot bow tournaments, so that really helped me to calm down and keep control of my nerves while shooting. In the end, I ended up doing way better than I thought.”
Round 1 of the Shoot-Out Sunday started at 45 feet shooting at a full-sized skeet. After five rounds of eliminations, five shooters made it all the way to Round 6 shooting at an egg from 45 feet. Chad Coursey was first among the five, and busted the egg. Then he watched as four straight shooters missed. Just like that, Chad was the winner of the brand new Chevy truck.
“I do believe God was with me that day and helped me through it,” said Chad. “I was just grateful to be there and have the opportunity to come. I was happy enough when I won the rifle Saturday, but winning the truck was a true excitement.”
The four shooters who missed came back up to see who would win the Beast. Jarrod Gray was first, and he hit the egg at 45 feet. The other three contestants then missed, giving Jarrod an awesome second grand prize.
This year’s Outdoor Blast was a great one—gun giveaways every hour, awesome deals and plenty of booths to look at. At this year’s Truck-Buck Shoot-Out, I sat back and filmed the entire Shoot-Out. This video can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s77JTU_IHpQ.
The 2017 Outdoor Blast will be held July 28-30. The 28th annual Truck-Buck Shoot-Out will again be held at the Blast.
Another year of Truck-Buck begins on opening day of archery season. GON and John Megel Chevrolet will again hand over the keys to a new truck for the 28th time. Turn to page 76 for more information on this year’s GON big-buck contest, or visit www.gon.com.