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Lee Ellis Wins The Shoot-Out Truck

The third time was a charm for Lee Ellis as he won the Truck-Buck Shoot-Out and John Megel Chevy's grand prize truck in the annual GON big-buck contest.

Daryl Kirby | July 31, 2019

Lee Ellis is a name most Georgia hunters recognize. He’s killed some of the best Georgia bucks ever while bowhunting Atlanta’s tiny woodlots and pockets of habitat surrounded by neighborhoods and busy streets. Some of these Atlanta bucks grow stupid huge. This year was the third time Lee won a week of GON’s Truck-Buck Contest with a giant bow-buck and made the Shoot-Out, and he and his friends also produce high-quality videos of their suburban and urban hunts through their company Seek 1 Productions. Lee and his bucks get tons of attention.

In the age of social media, killing giant bucks doesn’t come without drama. Kill as many as Lee has, and a hunter earns a bull’s-eye from the haters. The most glaring example was after Lee killed a 200-plus-inch buck during the 2017 season, a Fulton County giant he named “Zeus.”

The Truck-Buck Shoot-Out is a pellet rifle competition among the weekly winners from last season’s big-buck contest. It takes place at the Ag-Pro GON Outdoor Blast each year.

Quickly, a Facebook post spread that claimed the buck was tame, that it was raised inside a home and bottle fed, and that it wore a collar with bells on it. The claims were untrue. I was the editor for the article on Zeus that Duncan Dobie spent more than a month researching. Lee patiently let us get to the truth while the social media firestorm continued. I didn’t want to publish the article until GON got an interview with the man who made the Facebook post and the person the Facebook poster had claimed raised the buck. Duncan spoke with both, and we finally put the false claims to bed for good.

Lee has weathered the controversies and social media attacks with a calmness, and with a demeanor of super coolness and dignity that quite frankly few folks could muster under such attacks. And it was that mental fortitude that  I believe won Lee Ellis a brand new pickup truck in GON’s 30th annual Truck-Buck Shoot-Out.

Before the Shoot-Out, Lee said, “I haven’t picked up a pellet rifle since last year’s Shoot-Out. I’m just going to keep my mind right.”

He would need to do just that. This year’s Shoot-Out saw the most shooters ever make it to the late rounds. We had a record 10 shooters make it to Round 5, which is the 30-foot shot at an egg. Incredibly, nine of those contestants made that shot to move to the 45-foot shot at the egg. The staff putting on the Shoot-Out was literally behind the curtain counting eggs to decide whether someone needed to make a mad dash to the grocery store. That’s how dialed in the shooters were this year.

Five shooters hit the egg at 45 feet. Moving to the 60-foot stage to try and hit an egg with a pellet rifle—the farthest distance we use in the Shoot-Out—were Rusty Robbins, Jeff Everett, Jay Thompson, Lee Ellis and Ronny Vaughan. (Click the links to see their bucks and hunt stories). They were shooting in that order, based on what week of deer season they had won in GON’s big-buck contest.

Rusty Robbins was first, and he busted the egg. Then Jeff and Jay missed. Only two more shooters remained, and Rusty was sitting there with a hit already. The grand prize truck from John Megel Chevy and the second grand prize, a hunting cart from Beast 48, were right there in front of the three hunters. Lee was next, and he busted the egg.

Quint Hartley, a 14-year-old hunter from Gray, shot great in the Shoot-Out and went home with a new CVA as the Week 6 winner in the big-buck contest.

The final shooter remaining was Ronny Vaughan, a 72-year-old hunter from Rochelle who’s been a part of our GON community and family for decades. Ronny was in the Shoot-Out in 2007 and went deep in that competition. If Ronny hit the egg at 60 feet, all three shooters would shoot again for the two grand prizes. But Ronny’s shot just barely missed. That meant Rusty Robbins and Lee Ellis were winners, but we still had to decide who would win the truck from John Megel Chevrolet.

Both hit the egg again from 60 feet, so we went to Round 9. This time Rusty missed, and Lee had his first chance to win the truck. But his shot missed, and we went to Round 10. Rusty missed, and this time Lee busted the egg.

Lee won a truck, and Rusty won a Beast hunting cart, but all of the deer hunters in the Truck-Buck Shoot-Out were already big winners. The five bow season weekly winners earned Mathews Triax bows, and the 12 winners during gun season earned Browning X-Bolt Stalker rifles. That is 17 weekly prizes valued at more than $1,100 each! Plus, the Week 6 winner during the primitive-weapons/youth season won a CVA Accura MR SS muzzleloader with a scope and case.

The five bow season weekly winners earned Mathews Triax bows. Pictured (left to right) are John Lester, Andy Johnson, Brooks Young, Rusty Robbins and Dale Henson.

Weekly winners also earned Shoot-Out shirts from Realtree, plus Tink’s packages and safety harnesses from HSS, Hunter Safety Systems.

The four wildcard qualifiers all won knives from Havalon, Tink’s packages and safety harnesses from HSS to go along with their Realtree shirts.

Another year of Truck-Buck begins on opening day of Georgia’s bow season on Sept. 14. Make sure you have a GON subscription. Then, when you kill a Georgia buck this season, simply enter through our simple online entry form. You could be on the Shoot-Out stage next year.

Visit the GON Truck-Buck page for info on GON‘s 31st annual Truck-Buck contest. We have some new sponsors this year, please thank Agri Supply and 4S Wildlife for supporting Georgia hunting.

Lee Ellis receives the keys to his new Trail Boss Package Chevy truck from Jonathan Megel, of John Megel Chevrolet.

Sponsor Ted Moore of Beast Electric Hunting Carts hands the keys to second-place finisher Rusty Robbins.

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