How The Truck-Buck Weeks Were Won – 2022 Deer Season
Here’s a look at the stories behind the hunters and the Georgia bucks that got them in the upcoming Truck-Buck Shoot-Out.
Another group of Georgia deer hunters will soon take the stage at the Ag-Pro Outdoor Blast on July 30 to compete in the 34th annual Truck-Buck Shoot-Out. The second-best shot will win a Firminator G-3, and the man, woman or youngster who makes that last shot will win a new truck from John Megel Chevy.
This amazing big-buck contest—no other state has anything like this—wouldn’t be possible without two vital elements—subscribers to GON magazine, and the sponsors who provide the loot year after year. In addition to the grand prizes made possible by John Megel Chevy and Firminator, the weekly winners have already earned great prize packages. The five weekly winners during bow season won Mathews V3X bows, the Week 6 winner gets a new CVA .45 caliber Paramount rifle, and the 11 winners during gun season each get a Savage 110 Storm deer rifle. All weekly winners also earned a prize package from Hunter Safety Systems, 4S Wildlife Solutions and Realtree. Wildcard winners get a prize package from AgriSupply, 4S and HSS.
Let’s meet the first half of this year’s Shoot-Out field. Next month we’ll meet the rest of the qualifiers.
Ladies Wildcard: Lindsay Paul, Jasper County, Net Score: 168 4/8 Non-typical, Date: Nov. 13, Week 10
Lindsay Paul didn’t grow up in a hunting household. “In fact, my Dad didn’t even own a gun,” she said.
Soon after taking a job with Sporting Classics magazine, Lindsay’s journey as a hunter began with quite the mentor—Kenny Jarrett, the godfather of long-range shooting and Jarrett rifles, who guided Lindsay on the hunt that produced her first deer in 2017. She also used a very special rifle. “The gun you are holding is my favorite,” Kenny told her. “That is the first Jarrett rifle ever built. It’s my personal rifle, and no one, including my children, has shot it. You will be the first.”
As Lindsay worked for Sporting Classics, hunting turned into a passion. She met her husband, Tommy Paul, at a Dallas Safari Club event. “I’m enthralled with learning a new skill set as a middle-aged woman and sharing it with our two children,” she said. Last season in mid November, the bucks were active in Jasper County as Lindsay’s husband was on a hunting trip to Illinois. “I decided to travel to hunting camp anyway to roll the dice because I knew the rut was in full swing. I decided to sneak in to the blind about 4:30 p.m. and get set up for the evening. Around 5:25 p.m. the first buck appeared from the edge of the wood-line, and I sent a .270 round straight to his left shoulder and successfully harvested him. He dropped without taking a step. The second buck entered the field about 3 to 5 minutes later, and I decided to send another round. To say that was a memorable hunt, personal accomplishment, and bucket-list evening would be an understatement.”
In addition to being in the Shoot-Out for a chance at the John Megel truck and Firminator, Lindsay earned a Wildcard package that includes a $250 Agri Supply gift card, mineral and attractant from 4S Wildlife Solutions, an HSS safety harness and a Realtree Shoot-Out shirt.
Week 1: Jason White, County: DeKalb, Date: Sept. 10, Net Score: 155 4/8 Typical
Weather predictions were calling for lots of rain opening day, so Jason White decided he probably wouldn’t hunt. But the Braselton bowhunter had good reason to be in the woods.
“After watching my little girl cheer, the light rain stopped and the weather showed no rain till after 9 p.m. Temperature was lower due to a front, and I decided to go hunt,” Jason said. “That afternoon about an hour and a half before dark, a total of five bucks came out. They were spaced a few minutes from each other. The fifth buck walked out from behind a tree, and it was the buck I was after. He was about 15 yards away. A small racked buck walked up to him to lock horns. That was my time to draw back. The big buck was slightly turning and about to lock up—I release the arrow, and it hit the spot I was aiming for. The buck stumbled sideways and ran off with my arrow in him.
“I called someone with a dog and the dog was able to take us to very close to where the deer was. We weren’t sure if we were pushing the deer or not, so we decided to back out and give the deer more time. Went back the next day and recovered the deer quickly.”
Jason’s 10-pointer netted 155 4/8, the second-best typical bow-buck of the Georgia season.
Week 2: Matthew Moxley, County: Montgomery, Date: Sept. 23, Net Score: 167 2/8 Non-typical
It takes a perfect storm of genetics, nutrition, age and luck for a buck to grow a massive set of antlers. Most any big-racked, high-scoring buck is almost a freak of a nature. Then there are the for-sure freaks of nature…
“I have known about this deer since 2018,” said Matthew Moxley, of Ailey, about his Montgomery County buck. “He has never shed his velvet and has grown more non-typical points with each year.”
It came together for Matthew during an evening hunt on Friday, Sept. 23, the final day of Week 2 of Truck-Buck.
“I was hunting between a thick bedding area and a cut corn field. Three 1.5-year-old bucks were feeding at 20 yards when this deer walked out of the bedding area. He watched the three young bucks feed for a while and finally presented me with a 20-yard shot.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity at such a unique deer,” Matthew said.
Week 3: Colby Bryant. County: Dodge, Date: Sept. 27, Net Score: 132 5/8 Typical
Two years of cat and mouse with a Dodge County buck came to a close for Eastman’s Colby Bryant at 7:38 p.m. on Sept. 27.
“It made it that much better that most of the crew was able to make it for the track and recovery, and that my main deer hunting partner Mickey Jarrard was there hunting about 250 yards from me when it all went down,” Colby said. “Mickey and I have had this deer on cam since 2020, and we decided to kill him during the 2021 season. But between cutting timber where he was staying, and a good run of bad luck, the deer left the week before bow season 2021 and never came back.
“Fast forward to Aug. 18, 2022. JC White and I go over there to move a stand, and we accidentally jump him at 2 p.m. in the middle of the now-thick clearcut. I’d been running ragged since trying to locate him and see what he was doing, and it wasn’t going very good, until randomly me and Mickey both got a daylight picture of him on the morning of the 27th in two spots 250 yards apart, where we have never seen him. We came up with a game plan for us both to try him that evening and the next morning. And for once he read the script almost perfectly.
“I felt pretty good about the shot and blood looked good, but we decided to give him a little tim, so we went and got a bite to eat and waited on JC, Gabe Wahl and Trey Goodroe to get there. We came back about two hours later and trailed him about 100 to 130 yards and found him piled up.”
Week 4: Rob Rozar, County: Worth, Date: Oct. 6, Net Score: 153 1/8 Typical
“I’m from Gray (Jones County), where I grew up hunting with my dad, who taught me everything I know,” said our Week 4 winner, Rob Rozar, who now lives in Tifton. “I remember growing up and seeing pictures of the Truck-Buck weekly winners and thinking, ‘Maybe one day I can be on that list.’ And now here I am.
“I hunt in Worth County now and was able to harvest this amazing buck. I was hunting in a lock-on stand on the edge of a cypress swamp and was hoping to see this buck. He walked in from the swamp about 20 minutes before dark, and I was able to get a good pass-through shot with my bow at 20 yards.
“He ran about 50 yards and went down. Thankfully my friend Lance helped me load him up, because he weighed in at a whopping 281 pounds. I’m thankful for a dad who introduced me to hunting, for my amazing wife who understands why I spend so many hours in the woods enjoying God’s creation, and for the landowners who allow me to hunt on their property (Mr. George, Mrs. Jennifer and Mr. Gary). I’m thankful most of all for John 3:16.”
Week 5: Steve McLain, County: Sumter, Date: Oct. 9, Net Score: 157 6/8 Non-typical
The quirks of the official scoring system for bucks can leave you scratching your head. Take our Week 5 winner, a 12-point with tall, straight tines and a rack that for all the world looks like a typical. But the 5×5 main-frame has split G2s—long splits that measure 9 inches and 7 2/8 inches. Those abnormals put Steve McLain’s Sumter County buck just barely into the “scores better as a non-typical” category. It just comes down to math.
“I had seen this buck on the trail camera for the last several years and had been waiting for it to mature enough for my age and size requirements,” said Steve, who lives in Americus.
The buck showed back up on the trail camera the second or third week of archery season, and Steve decided the buck was ready. And so was he.
“Well, technically, I sent the picture to my wife who doesn’t bowhunt and told her to keep an eye out for him when firearms season opens,” Steve said. “Then I decided to go out to hunt that Sunday evening because one of my friends had stayed to hunt that evening. The buck and several does came out 100 yards away from me, and I immediately knew it was him. I got my Raven crossbow up and ready and waited until he got within 40 yards and took the shot. My wife, who I love dearly, came and helped me load up the buck that I had earmarked for her! My granddaughter was waiting in her camo overalls to see her first real deer when we got up to the house.”
Week 6: Carly Jane Jordan, County: Carroll, Date: Oct. 22, Net Score: 164 1/8 Typical
Youth rifle season could not have come at a better time for one Carroll County teenager. Carly Jane Jordan, 13 at the time, had just finished softball season and had exactly one week before basketball season began. If she wanted to kill a deer that season, youth rifle season was her best option.
Her father, Dustin Jordan, said a cold front was coming in Oct. 17, and he knew they needed to be in the woods with a good chance for deer movement. Doing what any great father would do, he signed Carly Jane out of school early. But as the evening progressed, only small spikes and does were seen.
“I thought we timed it right, but maybe it just wasn’t quite cold enough. I was thinking ‘Maybe it’s tomorrow,’ and just then he came out by himself,” said Dustin.
It wasn’t the first interaction with this deer for Carly Jane. She’d seen the same buck two years prior on Thanksgiving morning. Dustin said the buck passed through the woods and she had several opportunities for shots, but she was shaking so bad that she just couldn’t get settled in for a shot. A similar scenario occurred this time, but the outcome was much different.
Carly and Dustin were hunting in a Redneck Blind watching over a food plot. The food plot had several shooting lanes cut into it and the buck passed through two before almost getting out of sight.
“I could feel the entire Redneck Blind shaking when we saw the deer. I was shaking, and she was shaking. I tried to calm my breathing to calm Carly Jane, but she was taking a long time to take the shot. The buck had already passed through one shooting lane, and was toward the end of another. He had about two more steps before she would no longer have a shot. Then she pulled the trigger and dropped him a 150 yards with her .243 rifle,” said Dustin.
Carly was wearing Walker’s ear protection with volume control and later told Dustin she’d turned the volume all the way down during the shot because he kept saying, “Shoot him, you need to go ahead and shoot him,” and he was stressing her out.
“She takes a lot longer to shoot than I do, which is probably why she’s a much better shot. I kept telling her to shoot, but it turned out that she knew what she was doing,” said Dustin.
Dustin, a father of 4, said he’d been hunting this same Carroll County family farm since he was a kid, and it’s the biggest deer they’ve ever seen on the place. The buck netted 164 1/8 and is No. 3 all-time for Carroll County. The buck was Carly Jane’s third deer she’d ever killed and she began hunting when she was 9.
The challenge now will be for Dustin to find big bucks for his other children. Dustin said his 11-year-old son is already eager to put a buck on the wall next to Carly’s. It is larger than any buck Dustin has ever killed.
Week 7: Billy Murray, County: Candler, Date: Oct. 22, Net Score: 152 3/8 Typical
Billy Murray, of Glennville, manages Coastal Packing and Storage, a Vidalia Onion packing facility. He’s also a volunteer for the Glennville Fire Department and the Glennville Police Department.
“I grew up hunting and fishing with my dad, Allen Murray, who instilled in me quality sportsmanship,” said Billy.
“I hunt a small tract of land in Candler County. I have been trying to trophy manage this land for about 10 years. I began watching this buck three years ago as a tall-tine 8-point, knowing he could one day turn into a trophy buck. With the 2022 season approaching, I placed my Spypoint trail camera out where I felt I had the best chance of catching a glimpse of something worth watching. It took about two weeks, and then it began—like clockwork he started making appearances during daylight hours. On opening day of rifle season, I was in the tree about an hour before daylight with my trusty Savage 110FP 308 in hopes of setting my sights on him. After seeing several doe and small bucks walk out after daylight, the woods got very still, not even a bird making a sound. Then at 9:15 a.m. I watched the buck walking down the embankment, hitting a few rubs. I knew I only had a small shot window. My heart was racing as I took aim knowing I only had one chance to make the shot. Then it happened. I pulled the trigger, the deer ran about 45 yards and dropped. I sat in the tree for another 15 to 20 minutes to calm my nerves enough to climb down the tree. Then, I texted my fiancé Denine Bland, ‘Buck of a lifetime down.’ After finally dragging the deer out the woods and getting it loaded up, I was off to Tattnall County High School. I had entered the Tattnall Young Farmers Big Buck contest, winning with a green gross score of 177 3/8”!
Billy buck is the new Candler County all-time record with a net score of 152 1/8 typical.
Week 8: Terry Hollis, County: Gwinnett, Date: Nov. 1, Net Score: 180 1/8 Non-typical
Terry Hollis, a 69-year-old hunter from Loganville, said he was prepared to make a 250-yard shot on a giant buck that was hanging out on his 25-acre Gwinnett County tract. However, when the 16-pointer showed up at 7:32 a.m. on Nov. 1., Terry essentially took a point-blank shot 7 yards.
“I’ve been watching this deer for four years,” said Terry. “Back in the summer, I knew it was going to be a deer I wanted to shoot. I went and bought a nice crossbow, I used to hunt with a compound.”
Terry said he takes turns hunting the tract with his two grown sons and his two grandsons.
“They were at work and school this morning, so it was my turn,” said Terry.
When bow season opened, Terry didn’t know if he’d ever get a chance to hunt the deer.
“The last picture I got of him was on Aug. 29,” he said. “Then he stayed gone for seven weeks.”
Right on cue, the mature buck made a daylight appearance the Friday before gun season.
“That got everybody fired back up,” said Terry.
At daylight on Nov. 1, Terry was brushed into a little area along a fence and overlooking a 10-acre field. He was in the process of getting a tripod set up, prepared for that long-distance shot he had practiced. However, he never got the tripod positioned.
“I look up, and he’s walking straight to me along that fence,” said Terry. “I use cover scent, and I was hid good. There was no wind. He got so close coming to me that I couldn’t even see him in my scope. When he turned broadside, I shot him at 7 yards. He bucked and ran off. It all happened so quick.”
Terry’s from-the-hip shot sent the buck barreling toward a powerline.
“He was piled up about 90 yards from where I shot,” said Terry.
To say Terry was thrilled is an obvious statement, but to him, the deer alone isn’t what has him so excited.
“I’ve always wanted to get in that Truck-Buck,” he said.
Terry’s buck ranks No. 6 overall in the Gwinnett County rankings, and it’s the No. 2 non-typical ever recorded from Gwinnett.
Week 9: Jody Swearingen, County: Crisp, Date: Nov. 11, Net Score: 158 6/8 Typical
Jody Swearingen now lives and hunts in Crisp County, but grew up in Dodge County, where they did a lot of small game hunting growing up.
“Doves rabbit and squirrels were what grew up hunting,” Jody said. “I didn’t start deer hunting very much until I was older.
It was still pre-rut in Crisp County on Friday, Nov. 11, when Jody killed his big buck.
“I felt there was a good buck using the area because there were numerous big rubs covering one side of the property. I had planned to hunt all day because the wind was finally out of the southwest, which is the perfect wind for that spot, but I didn’t make it until 10 a.m. It rained off and on all day, but I like to hunt when there’s a light rain. I didn’t see anything but an old tom turkey until the does started to come out.
“Two does came out and fed around for 30 minutes. The buck came from the same area as the does. He came out and started to feed.”
Jody’s buck was even better than its 158 1/8 net score. It had four tines more than 10 inches long, including G3s that measured 13 3/8 and 13 1/8 inches. And had it matched an 11 7/8-inch G2, it would have netted over 170—Booner status!
Runner-Up Wildcard: Jeremy Doss, Tift Co., Date: Nov. 13 Week 10, Net Score: 151 0/8
The Runner-Up Wildcard is a spot in the Shoot-Out each year for the best buck of the season that doesn’t win a week outright. If it weren’t for another Week 10 monster killed in the same county, Jeremy Doss would have won his week outright. Jeremy earned his spot in the Shoot-Out with a Tift County 10-pointer that netted 151 even.
“My history with this deer goes back to 2018 when I began to recognize a small-bodied buck with a 10-point frame on the trail cameras,” Jeremy said. “I felt like he was 2 years old then based on his body; we watched him since then and he eventually got the name Slick 10 since each year he was pretty much a perfect 10-point with no abnormals or asymmetries. During the 2021 season we felt like he was surely 5 years old, and he was a great buck—his name went from being Slick 10 to Big Slick. As luck would have it, he made it through the 2021 season, and his 2022 rack as a 6-year-old grew back with about 20 additional inches on it, which I was sure elated to see.
“I had one other encounter with him this season but could not get a shot and thought I may had missed my opportunity; so I’m thankful I got another chance. It was an incredible final hunt for him, and again, I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to pursue this caliber of animal in our local area. If it weren’t for my like-minded neighbors and fellow hunters who surely let this deer walk numerous times over his six years and allowed him to reach maturity, I would not have had this experience and surely want to thank them for that.”
Jeremy didn’t win his scoring period, but as the highest-scoring buck that didn’t win a week, he’s in the Shoot-Out for a chance at the John Megel truck and Firminator. Jeremy also earned the Wildcard package that includes a $250 Agri Supply gift card, mineral and attractant from 4S Wildlife Solutions, an HSS harness and a Realtree Shoot-Out shirt.
Editor’s Note: Next month we will have the remaining stories of the Truck-Buck winners from the 2022-2023 season.
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