First And Foremost, GON Makes A Magazine

Daryl Kirby | June 29, 2023

First and foremost, GON makes a magazine. We’ve been at it for 37 years. Quite a bit has changed and we’ve weathered some storms since that first tabloid-newspaper style GON hit the store racks with a cover picture from a West Point crappie tournament.

The storm of the century began as barely a ripple in the distance. This crazy new thing called the internet popped up in the mid ’90s. We were just smart enough to secure the web address and start a website. Few were patient enough to wait on a modem to connect, hear those magic words, “You’ve Got Mail,” and then actually get a website to load, but we had one. Our “website development team” was Brad Gill and myself, using some cheap software program. It wasn’t pretty. But we had some website content, and we started a Forum—some of those original bulletin-board users remain as part of the community’s current iteration at

That new thing called the internet stuck around, and then the clouds began to build. And build. Like a Walmart gobbling up mom-and-pop stores in a small town, the internet started to chew up and spit out all sorts of traditional businesses, and particularly magazines and newspapers.

Yet here we are, closing in on four decades later. The little redneck rag that could survive even the internet. And we now have a website that’s pretty dang awesome. If you’re a subscriber and have an online account at, you have a treasure-trove of Georgia hunting and fishing content at your fingertips.

The internet wasn’t our only challenge. GON survived direct competition from another magazine that was part of an outdoor publishing juggernaut. They’re gone. We survived putting hunters and fishermen first rather than marching lock-step and always agreeing with the status quo, even when doing so rubbed some politicians, bureaucrats and organizations more than a little wrong. Some of those folks still give us the side-eye. Yes, there’s an “establishment” even in the outdoor world.

The world would be a better place if more people could nod along when they agree, shake their heads when they disagree—yet certainly debate when warranted—and then turn the page. It’s OK to agree to disagree from time to time. Too often, people have a one-and-done mentality when they read something they don’t like. If you’ve read GON for 37 years, I know you have seen more than one thing you didn’t like. And if you’re reading this, you’re still with us, so thank you. We give voice to lots of hunters and fishermen—we’re not always going to see exactly eye to eye on everything, and that’s OK.

First and foremost, GON makes a magazine, but we’ve dipped our toes in the waters of a few other streams. Anyone remember GON-TV? We made 82 episodes that aired on The Outdoor Channel and dozens of local stations across Georgia. This news will frighten some folks—thinking in particular of Steve Burch, Lindsay Thomas and Brad Bailey, who appeared in the shows—those segments have been digitized and eventually will be available on our website. We were about 10 years before our time with GON-TV. Making shows back then was expensive and took way more time—had we waited until little cameras and YouTube came along, we’d probably still be at it.

GON is also about to host the 17th Outdoor Blast, a weekend of events and vendor booths with hunting and fishing stuff. Having a weekend show for sportsmen was not on the GON to-do list, far from it. Related to a topic discussed above, we needed to find a home for the Truck-Buck Shoot-Out. After trying a few venues, we started our own event, simply to assure the Shoot-Out would always have a home.

So for the 34th straight year, we’re giving away a truck to a Georgia deer hunter. On July 30 at 3:30 p.m., 21 Georgia deer hunters will compete during the Ag-Pro Outdoor Blast in Emerson. One will drive away in a new truck thanks to John Megel Chevy & Ford, and the second-best shot will earn a new Firminator from Ranew’s Outdoor Equipment.

There’s no deer contest like Truck-Buck, and there’s nothing like our Shoot-Out that determines the grand prize winners.

There’s also nothing like the GON community. Come be a part of it in person at the Outdoor Blast.

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  1. gadog6018 on July 3, 2023 at 11:02 am

    I’ve been with ya’ll the whole time.

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