GON Youth Shoot-Out Winner Collects Big
Ten-year-old gets $3K to spend at Adventure Outdoors and three days of hunting at Woods-N-Water — that's a dream come true!
When Easton Withrow walked into Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna on Nov. 11, he went straight to the guns and ammo. He knew what he wanted, and a few hours later, he was back at his Cleveland home shooting a brand-new .308 Kimber Mountian Ascent rifle topped with a Vortex scope. The new piece of artillery for the Withrow house didn’t cost him but $19.95, a yearly subscription to GON. Not a bad deal for a 10-year-old kid who happened to kill a public-land Habersham County buck last year and enter it into GON’s Youth Big-Buck contest. Easton went on to win the Youth Shoot-Out in September, which earned him the $3,000 shopping spree at Adventure Outdoors, plus a three-day deer and hog hunt with our friend Blaine Burley at Woods-N-Water outfitters in Wilkinson County.
After winning the Shoot-Out, Easton checked his social calendar and decided the week of the state’s youth rifle season would fit the schedule for his trip to Woods-N-Water. His first hunt took place on the afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 14. I rode down to spend some time with him while he and his dad Kyle hunted with Blaine. When Blaine and I picked them up after dark on that first afternoon sit, the 10-year-old’s eyes were as big as saucers.
“We saw a spike, a bear and a coyote,” said Easton.
Yep, a bear. Not legal game in Wilkinson, but Blaine says he’s covered up with bears of late. Despite warm temperatures, game seemed to be on the move, and the pre-rut was gaining momentum. After Easton’s first hunt, we sat around Blaine’s cabin and watched hunting shows, told stories and visited with neighbors who joined us for some top-notch low country boil provided by Woods-N-Water chef Bland Williams.
The next morning I rode with Blaine to drop off Easton and Kyle. After that, it was time to get to work. Blaine manages 7,000 private acres of properties in middle Georgia that he uses to guide deer, hog and turkey hunters. Blaine and I spent parts of the morning repairing a deer stand, swapping out trail-camera cards and filling feeders. Our big finale on the work list was dumping out some hog bait for a group of hunters coming a few days later. Blaine’s special hog bait is like nothing I have ever seen—or smelled. It’s a 55-gallon drum with a mixture of peanut butter powder, corn, molasses, water and sodium hydroxide (lye). A lid is placed on the bait, and it sits in the sun for 6 months before being dumped on the ground in front of a stand. I promise you if this little recipe doesn’t attract hogs, you don’t have any hogs.
“It actually helps keep the hogs away from areas where I’m trying to concentrate deer for my hunters,” said Blaine.
It wasn’t long after we soured the Wilkinson County soil with hog bait that Blaine received a text message that another hunter had shot a hog. After a pretty good ride on the UTV, Blaine loaded up a shotgun with buckshot and began to follow the blood trail with the aid of his German shorthaired pointer tracking dog Gunner. In short order the hog was recovered and dragged back out to the road. A few photos later and it was back at the lodge with skinning knives and a cooler. Once the ice hit the pork, it was time to pick up the Withrow boys. Life is busy as a hunting guide and land manager on 7,000 acres.
Without firing a shot, Easton’s morning and afternoon hunts on day two were fantastic.
“We saw a spike, a 4-point, a 6-point and an 8-point,” said Easton. “I tried to get a shot on the 8-point but couldn’t. I did get to see the 6-point and 8-point fight. That was so cool!”
Easton was patient, and it paid off on the last morning of his hunt.
“I saw the same 8-point again. This time I had a shot on it. I took the shot and made a clean hit! It ran about 35 years, then dropped,” said Easton. “It was a very good hunt and experience for me and my dad. I’m thankful to God, my dad, the people at Wood-N- Water and the GON for making it all possible.”
Through GON’s Youth Big-Buck contest and several hunt giveaways, Blaine has been partnered with GON for about two decades. Blaine loves kids and simply enjoys being around people.
“It was a real pleasure for me to host this hunt for such a fine, well-deserving young man like Easton,” said Blaine. “I love to meet and spend quality time with people like Kyle and Easton who have a passion for hunting and the outdoors. I support and encourage everyone to spend as much quality time in the woods and on the water with their kids. That is one of the main reasons my company and I have been a proud sponsor of the GON Kids Shoot-Out for a number of years.”
Eric Wallace at Adventure Outdoors and Blaine Burley with Woods-N-Water are the guys who make a youth-specific deer contest possible. Take Eric and Blaine out of the equation, and we have no contest. On behalf of GON, we ask that you support these guys. Whether you are buying a gun or looking for a hunting trip getaway, we assure you these guys will take care of your needs.
The 2020-21 GON Youth Big-Buck Contest rolls on. There’s still time to make sure your GON subscription is current and kill a deer. One youth 15 years of age or younger will be back at Adventure Outdoors next year to spend $3,000 and get outfitted for a hunt at Woods-N-Water.
Other Articles You Might Enjoy