Reconnecting At The Outdoor Blast

Daryl Kirby | August 1, 2021

The internet has been a fascinating experiment, with usefulness we couldn’t imagine 20 years ago.

Your clothes dryer stop working? Just type the make and model into an internet search engine, choose between several step-by-step videos that pop up—my go-to is some dude in Ohio—and you can actually become your own Maytag repairman.

Trust me, if I can fix a dryer, anyone can. And I have kept our battered old machine going with three self-repairs, much to my wife’s amazement.

Even a little ol’ hunting and fishing magazine from Georgia has tapped into the power of the internet. Every article and every picture, from every issue of GON magazine, now goes on our website That might not mean much to some people right now. But 10 years from now, how special will it be to revisit a picture of your kid’s first deer that appeared in GON magazine and now is preserved forever on a digital Scrapbook page?

Going fishing at a lake you’re not that familiar with? Imagine the information at your fingertips from decades of GON articles about fishing that lake.

And my favorite example of this little magazine tapping into the power of the internet is our Georgia Deer Records. Thirty years ago we started the seemingly impossible task of creating County-By-County buck records in Georgia. We spent weeks going through old buck-contest records, we traveled the state measuring dusty old mounts. For decades we published the Top-10 bucks for every Georgia county, and we still do. But we kept a database of all the officially scored bucks. After a few years, some popular hunting counties like Macon, Meriwether and Morgan had hundreds and hundreds of bucks in their database. Thank goodness we kept those records, even though we had no idea why at the time because no one knew what the internet was back then. But now, all those records are at anyone’s fingertips. Want to know what the No. 200 deer ever recorded from Macon County scored? You might even be able to see a picture of the hunter with that buck.

No other state has anything like this, and it makes me super proud of the hard work from past GON people who made it happen and current editors who work hard to keep compiling these records and keep it going.

So, that’s a lot of bragging on the internet, about how great instant access to information can be. Oh but it ain’t all good, not by a long shot. I’m not breaking any news by saying that. Much of the ugliness of the internet swirls around a toilet bowl of entities lumped together as “social media,” where people engage with other people. But isn’t social interaction an actual connection? An actual connection, an interaction, is not ‘liking’ a photo on social media or typing a three-word comment on someone’s post.

Interaction is meeting someone, looking them in the eye as they speak. How much of the ugliness of Facebook and Twitter would go away if people had to say face-to-face what they type to someone on the computer?

The Outdoor Blast is social interaction that I look forward to every year. Three days of meeting people who I might only know by name up until that point. Three days of a face appearing in the crowd, recognition as we remember a past connection, and a smile as we reconnect. An actual connection, not a virtual keystroke.

Come see us at the LakePoint Champions Center for this year’s Outdoor Blast. It’s at the Emerson exit off I-75, exit 283. If you’re heading north from Marietta, it’s the exit soon after you cross the Lake Allatoona bridge. I know… we hear from friends in south Georgia. It is north Georgia. Please know that we work hard to find the best possible location for the Blast. I can’t tell you how much time GON has spent visiting venues where we might could have the Outdoor Blast. I can count on one hand how many potential locations there are in the entire state.

We’re also hearing from people who liked being close to the Duluth venue where the Blast has been the past several years. That venue became a no-go with additional COVID-related costs and restrictions, not to mention construction and new parking fees.

We love LakePoint, and they are excited to welcome hunters and fishermen. That matters. Wear your camo. It’s a great weekend where we can be together, proud of what we stand for and who we are.

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