How The Truck-Buck Weeks Were Won: 2021-2022 Deer Season

Here’s a look at the stories behind the hunters and the Georgia bucks from the 2021-2022 deer season that got them to the 2022 Truck-Buck Shoot-Out.

GON Staff | May 29, 2022

Seventeen weekly winners and four hunters in our wildcard spots will soon shoot it out at the Ag-Pro Outdoor Blast on July 31. The second-best shot will win a Firminator G-3. 

And then, the last man, woman or child standing—there are three kids in the Shoot-Out this year—that last person on the Shoot-Out stage will win a new truck from John Megel Chevy.

All of GON’s Shoot-Out qualifiers are already winners. First, they’re part of the GON community, helping support the future of hunting and fishing in Georgia—that’s certainly worth something! They all killed a great buck last season to earn a spot in the Shoot-Out, and they’ve all won great prize packages. The four weekly winners during bow season have already earned Mathews V6 bows, the Week 5 winner gets one of the new CVA .45 caliber Paramount rifles, and the 12 weekly winners during gun season each get a Savage Arms 110 Storm deer rifle. All weekly winners also earned a prize package from Hunter Safety Systems, 4S Wildlife Solutions and Realtree.

Let’s meet the first half of this year’s Shoot-Out field. The remainder of the stories will appear next month in the July issue of GON.


Public-Land Wildcard: Stephen Holloway
Rich Mountain WMA, Gilmer County
Date: Nov. 25, Week 11
Net Score:
146 5/8

The Public-Land Wildcard is a spot in the Shoot-out each year for the best public-land buck of the season that doesn’t win a week outright. If it weren’t for a Week 11 monster killed by a teen-aged girl in Coweta County, this year’s Public-Land Wildcard winner would have been a Week 11 winner.

Public-Land Wildcard: Here’s Stephen Holloway, of Ellijay, with the best buck ever recorded from Rich Mountain WMA in Gilmer County. The 10-point scored 146 5/8.

Stephen Holloway earned his spot in the Shoot-Out with a Gilmer County mountain 10-pointer from Rich Mountain WMA.

“My son-in-law and I were hunting on Rich Mountain WMA on Thanksgiving morning,” Stephen said. “Once I got him set up, I moved up the mountain and got sat down right before daylight. The wind on top of the ridge was blowing and cold, so I decided to make a move to unfamiliar land lower down to escape the wind. I was looking for sign along the way down a logging road while trying to stay quiet in the dry leaves. 

“After walking about half a mile without seeing much sign, I decided to sit down for a little while to rest. After about five minutes, I started hearing something walking in the leaves. At first I thought someone was walking in on me—the sound was so loud. After glassing the area with my binoculars for a while, I finally spotted the source of the sound in the leaves—a 4-point was easing around the side of the ridge. I was too far back in to warrant shooting a 4-point, so he got a pass. The 4-point went on by, and I kept glassing the top on the ridge. I spotted an 8-point up the ridge and it got behind a blown-down tree and I wasn’t able to get a shot. I kept looking for him to reappear, and during my search for the 8-point, I spotted a doe on up the ridge. I assumed the 8-point would be following the doe, so I looked back down the ridge from her, and that’s when I spotted this Mountain Monarch.

“I knew it was going to be a tough shot with a 30-30 aiming uphill at roughly a 30-degree angle. Luckily, there was a steady, old grapevine in front of me that made for a good rest. He was in some thick stuff and going away from me. I picked an opening that I knew would be my only shot and had my gun cocked back ready to go. The massive 10-point stopped right in my opening and I fired. I knew that I had hit him when I saw him kick hard. As he ran off, he went downhill toward me, and I watched him stop at about 50 yards. Not taking any chances on this buck of a lifetime, I shot him again and he went down. After that, I called my son-in-law to come help with the long drag, mostly uphill. We managed to get him out and checked-out in time for Thanksgiving dinner.”

Stephen didn’t win his scoring period, Week 11, but as the highest-scoring public-land buck that didn’t win a week, he’s in the Shoot-Out for a chance at the truck and Firminator. Stephen also earned the Wildcard package that includes a $250 Agri Supply gift card, a Rugged Road Outdoor coolers, mineral and attractant from 4S Wildlife Solutions, an HSS harness and a Realtree Shoot-Out shirt. 


Week 1: Benny Overholt
County: Macon
Sept. 13
Net Score: 222 4/8 Non-typical

The 2021-22 Truck-Buck contest and Georgia deer season started out with a bang—and a freak of nature.   

Benny Overholt had seen this buck on his Macon County farm for several years, and the deer was normal until the 2020-21 deer season when it didn’t shed its velvet and didn’t drop its antlers after the season. This typically happens when a buck has an injury to its male parts, and this buck was later determined to have testicles that appeared “shriveled up.” 

Fast forward to the 2021 season, and that velvet rack just kept growing… and growing!

“Having seen this buck of a lifetime opening day evening and not getting a shot caused a very long and stressful weekend,” Benny said. “My next hunt on Monday evening I stayed on the edge of his bedding area. With 30 minutes of shooting light, I caught movement at 65 yards. With one glance through binoculars, I knew it was him. I then focused on remaining calm and getting a shot. I prayed if I was to get a shot that it would be a lethal one.”

Week 1: Benny Overholt’s velvet freak of a buck from Macon County had lots of points—and lots of “points” that weren’t scorable. But score it did—the 37-pointer netting a whopping 222 4/8 non-typical.

“I drew back as he approached the lane I was hunting. He steps on the lane and angles right to me at 33 yards. I remember thinking what angle is best—front, through or behind the shoulder. I chose the crease behind the shoulder,” Benny said.

“Instantly I regretted my shot. In my mind I hit back 3 1/2 inches which would be all gut. I watched him run 100 yards and on to a lane. I knew with this shot I needed to let him lay a number of hours. So we gave him six hours and took a dog to track. Long story short, the deer ran 20 yards from where I had last saw him. The shot placement was better than I had played through my mind a thousand times. He had died very quickly. It was truly humbling to harvest such a magnificent creature. Memories for a lifetime.”

To see a video interview with Scott Hodges, visit

The rack was officially scored by certified measurer and guru of Georgia deer scoring—Bill Cooper. Quite a few of the knobs on the buck’s antler bases and brow tines were not an inch long and didn’t count. The main-frame part of the rack was a 7-pointer that netted 133 4/8. Throw in 30 abnormal points that tallied 89 inches, and the non-typical score of 222 4/8 makes it the second-best bow-buck ever recorded in Georgia, behind only a similar velvet freak killed in Evans County in 2013 by Mikell Fries. 


Week 2: Cam Williams
County: Worth
Sept. 20
Net Score: 179 3/8 Non-typical

It’s zero surprise to most Georgia hunters that Worth County made headlines with a giant buck during the second week of bow season. A still-in-velvet 13-pointer taken by Cam Williams, of Cordele, was officially scored at 179 3/8 non-typical. The rack sets up as a main-frame 10-point with long tines and split G2s. 

The buck was known as “Splits.”

Cam said he loves it when a plan comes together. In February of 2021, he found a huge broke-off tine lying on the ground that was off Splits, a buck he had seen several times but just couldn’t get the right shot. The tine motivated him to hunt a little harder and smarter during the upcoming season.

During the summer, he got many trail-cam photos of the buck as its antlers grew and matured, and he was hoping he would get a crack at him during bow season.

Week 2: Cam Williams with his Worth County 13-pointer that netted 179 3/8 non-typical. The buck’s rack was starting to shed its velvet when Cam shot it on Sept. 20.

Cam was hunting an 800-acre tract of private land that his father, Ronnie Williams, had hunted for many years. Unfortunately, Ronnie passed away in 2011. Cam’s dad had helped him kill his first deer, a doe, at age 8. When Cam was 13, he took his first buck.

Cam was able to continue the family tradition and still hunts the same land with his uncle Roger Williams. He has fond memories of hunting the land while growing up. His bow, a Mathews Switchback XT, was his dad’s bow, and every time he hunts with it, he feels like a little bit of his dad is on the hunt.

When Cam is not hunting, he is a certified public accountant in Cordele and lives at Lake Blackshear. He drops fishing lines in the lake, too, whenever he gets the chance.

The hunting tract is mostly planted pines with little fingers of hardwoods running in lines along the drainage areas. From monitoring his trail cams, Cam determined the buck was primarily running a hardwood bottom that was maybe 30 to 50 acres in size. He placed several stands in the area so he could adjust his hunting position to the direction the wind was blowing. He knew that if this old, wise buck smelled him, the hunt would be over, possibly for good.

On Monday afternoon, Sept. 20, Cam was in his treestand watching an old logging road that ran through a hardwood bottom when six does and two fawns came down the trail on high alert. The wind was light but blowing from the deer to Cam’s location, so the setup was good.

Right behind the does was Splits, the huge buck that Cam had dreamed of hanging on his wall. He was very excited that the moment of truth was quickly approaching. The time was 7:30 p.m., and the light was still good.

When Splits got to 33 yards, Cam drew back the Victory Archery carbon arrow, tipped with a Slick Trick 100-grain broadhead. Finding the buck’s chest in his sights, he let the arrow fly and hit it perfectly, just behind the right front shoulder. It bolted quickly, but Cam soon heard the buck crashing down in the woods. He gave it a few minutes to bleed out and expire before he took up a good blood trail.

In less than three minutes, he was holding the magnificent buck’s antler in his hands. Surprisingly, Splits was still in velvet, but it was starting to fall off.

Cam is no stranger to big bucks. During the 2020 season he arrowed a buck they called Mr. Stickers that was in the Truck-Buck contest and scored 147 1/8 inches.


Week 3: Adam Lomax
County: DeKalb
Sept. 29
Net Score: 165 2/8 Typical

Adam Lomax, of Cumming, was thrilled to kill what he thought was a contender for Week 3 in GON’s Truck-Buck contest. His DeKalb County 7×6 13-pointer was more than a contender, it was a winner with a net typical score of 165 2/8.

Last season Adam received permission to hunt a new piece of land in DeKalb County. He immediately put out trail cameras over corn in a hardwood bottom near a small creek, but unfortunately was only seeing small bucks. He kept his hopes up and continued checking his cameras for any sign of a mature buck. The deer showed up on his trail camera the second week of bow season, but he was only making appearances in the dark. 

“Regardless, I hunted him a few afternoons in hopes he would change his timing,” Adam said. “On Monday afternoon (Sept. 27) I was unable to go to the blind, but I got pictures of him right at dark. The following day I was unable to hunt, but the buck didn’t show up either. 

Week 3: A metro-Atlanta monster that netted 165 2/8 typical put Adam Lomax in the Shoot-Out. The 13-point buck had a main-frame 7×6 rack and a 22-inch inside spread.

“On Wednesday, I was able to go and was just hoping to get a glimpse of this monster. I had one doe come by around 6:15 and all was quiet until 7:00. At 7:05 I could hear a deer walking through the woods and stop. I pulled out my binoculars and immediately started to shake with adrenaline. He stood eating acorns at 45 yards for the longest five minutes of my life. Without a clear shot, I waited for him to proceed down the trail. 

“He finally made his way to a scrape 15 yards from my ground blind. With my bow already drawn back, I waited until he turned quartering away broadside and let the arrow fly. The deer immediately tripped forward, turned around, and ran down a hill. Listening as he ran, I could hear him crash roughly 40 yards from my location. Even though I was confident with my shot and what I had heard, I waited another 30 minutes to be sure. At the spot of my shot, the blood trail was easy to find and walked me right to him. I quickly realized the tracking was going to be much easier than dragging this behemoth 150 yards out of the woods! This is by far my largest deer to date.”

The buck had a live weight of 250 pounds, and its rack was a very unusual 7×6 typical frame with no abnormals. It is the No. 3 buck of all time from DeKalb County.  


Week 4: George Law
County: Houston
Oct. 5
Net Score: 131 6/8 Typical

Week 4: George Law (left) and his son Chad with George’s Houston County crossbow buck that netted 131 6/8.

Deer hunting is a family affair for George Law and his son Chad. During the 2020 deer season, Chad killed an opening day Pulaski County buck that won Week 1 on the Truck-Buck Contest. It netted 153 inches.

During the 2021 season, it was dad’s turn.

“We had this deer on camera all summer patterning him going from bedding to a large cotton field,” George said. “We planted a small strip of Buckmaker Summer Blend—the deer love the variety of this little plot in the cotton field and near the bedding area. He felt safe in the cotton with it being as tall as it was. 

“I waited for a right wind, which didn’t happen until the third and fourth week of bow season. I hunted him twice with a well-planned entry and exit route, knowing where he was coming and going,” George said.

“Killed him at 18 yards with a new crossbow… first buck ever with a crossbow. The compound is rough on the shoulders. I hated to make the switch, but I’m grateful to kill this deer either way. Thanks to the good Lord for being able to hunt as long as I have and being able to witness his beautiful creation.”

George’s Houston County buck was a main-frame 6×6 with two stickers. It grossed 148 2/8 and netted 131 6/8 to win Week 4


Week 5: Holden Hines
County: Macon
Oct. 11
Net Score: 145 2/8 Typical

Fifteen-year-old Holden Hines, of Macon, hopes that the good feeling he’s been having is being caused by all the planets lining up just right.

“I’m turning 16 in a few months,” the high school freshman said. “Winning that truck would be perfect timing. I’ve ordered the gun we will be using in the Truck-Buck Shoot-Out. I plan to start practicing as soon as it gets here.”  

Holden already won the 2021 GON Youth Shoot-Out where he collected a $3,000 shopping spree at Adventure Outdoors and a deer and hog hunting trip with Woods-N-Water outfitters in Wilkinson County. Now he’s won Week 5 of the 2021-2022 Truck-Buck Contest, earning a CVA Paramount muzzleloader.

Holden Hines Wins Youth Shoot-Out!

Winning the John Megel truck in this year’s Truck-Buck Shoot-Out would be the first time anyone has won both GON Shoot-Outs. The buck that got him qualified for this year’s Truck-Buck Shoot-Out is a 9-point, 5 1/2-year-old deer that netted 145 2/8 inches and weighed a whopping 260 pounds.

It didn’t come easy.

Week 5: After winning the Youth Big-Buck Contest Shoot-Out last year, 15-year-old Holden Hines looks to make history by winning the Truck-Buck Shoot-Out on July 31.

“I was hunting on our family land in Montezuma,” Holden said. “We started getting pictures of him for the first time in the middle of the summer. I finally saw him in person the first time a few weeks before I got him. I was trying to get him with a crossbow, but he would never get close enough.

“We were getting pictures of him every day in the daylight on the days I couldn’t hunt.”

Finally, on Oct. 11, with the rut just beginning in Macon County, Holden and the buck crossed paths again. This time, the teenager was carrying a .300 Winchester Magnum. It was the special Youth/Primitive Weapons week, when kids 15 and younger can deer hunt with a rifle.

“I was in my stand with planted pines on one side and thicker pines where deer were bedding in front of me,” Holden said. “He came out and chased a few does for a while, but he finally gave up and went to a feeder we had out.

“I shot, and he dropped in his tracks.”

Holden said the buck was the result of an intensive management program on the family’s 900-plus-acre farm.

“We feed year-round,” he said. “We put out high-protein feed like Buck Muscle.

“We do some clearcutting. We shoot 20 or so does each year, but we only take two or three bucks a year. They must be at least 5 years old before we can shoot them.”

Holden, who killed his first deer when he was 6 years old, says he only had one regret.

“I had a friend who was going to video my hunt that day,” he said. “He slept in that morning.”


Week 6: Andy Croft
County: Colquitt
Oct. 22
Net Score: 190 5/8 Non-typical

Last year was the season of big non-typical bucks in Georgia. It continued the first week of firearms season when Andy Croft, of Moultrie, killed a 19-pointer that netted 190 5/8 non-typical.

“My stand is located where planted pines meet a swamp bottom,” Andy said. “I have a free-choice feeder with ear corn on the ground placed 85 yards in front of the stand. I arrived at the stand around 6 p.m. Soon after arriving, a doe came to the feeder and began to feed. After having fed for a few minutes, movement caught my eye. A 4-point buck came in with his head down as though he was chasing a doe in heat. They ran out of sight. 

Week 6: Andy Croft with his Colquitt County 19-point buck that netted 190 5/8 non-typical.

“In a few minutes the doe came back to the feeder. Movement caught my eye once more. The 4-point was now accompanied by an 8-point buck. The 4-point and the 8-point began to spar with each other. They eventually got out of my line of sight. A few minutes later the 4-point came back to the feeder and began chasing the doe once again. This continued for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Eventually both the doe and 4-point left the area. 

“After some time had passed, I observed another deer emerge from the swamp bottom about halfway between me and the feeder. The deer then turned and began to walk toward me. I looked through my scope and could see that it was a buck with large antlers. As he was making his way toward me, he turned just slightly to his right giving me a partial broadside shot. I fired my rifle and the deer ran. I listened for the deer to fall. I heard what I believed was the deer falling and kicking on the ground. I waited just a few minutes and got out of my stand and went to my truck to get a flashlight. I then went to the spot where I believed the deer was standing when I fired. I did not find blood at the spot. I began to walk in the direction the deer ran, and soon found him lying dead.”

The buck’s rack had an impressive 6×5 main-frame that tallied 166 inches before 10 inches of side-to-side deductions. Throw in 34 inches on nine abnormal points, and Andy’s non-typical score of 190 5/8 was a Week 6 winner.


Week 7: Donald Peppers
County: Morgan
Oct. 29
Net Score: 147 4/8 Typical

Putting others first when deer hunting on the same piece of land doesn’t happen as often as it should. There’s something about a big buck… 

So when you hear a feel-good story about a deer hunter taking the last available stand on an afternoon, and then dropping a buck that scores in the 160s, there’s hope for generosity amongst hunters in this day and age.

This story played out for Donald Peppers, of Bostwick, on Oct. 29. Donald is a longtime friend and supporter of GON. Donald was hunting a small tract of land in Morgan County when he played the role of a helpful club member and then counted on a little luck to kill his best-ever buck.

Week 7: Morgan County has long been one of the best big-buck counties in the Piedmont Region of Georgia. Here’s Donald Peppers, of Bostwick, with his Morgan County 14-pointer that netted 147 4/8.

“The other guys that are in the club sent me a text that they were going to hunt the back of the property where I wanted to go,” said Donald. “I thought I would just take my climber and make the best of it up front and may get lucky.” 

Donald arrived at the club and his buddies pulled up. 

“Hey said, ‘Hey Donald why don’t you take my Polaris and drive us to the back and drop us off and then you can drive back out?’ So I drove them to the back and dropped them off.”

Of course this second act of kindness would mean Donald would be even later trying to find a spot to hunt. After getting his buddies situated, he was off to locate a brand-new spot toward the front of the club where he would spend the last two hours of the day. Luckily, Donald’s son, Dylan, had sent him a pin on his cell phone of a spot he had seen some deer recently. Donald headed toward that direction. After doing some poking around, Donald ended up close to that area before he decided to climb.

“When I walked in there, there really wasn’t a good tree to get in. So I took my saw and went to hacking and cut down about 10 trees around the white oak I wanted to get in, and then I had to cut some limbs off the white oak.”

Donald finally got settled down at 4:30. A little while later Donald was looking at four does that had come in to feed under a red oak tree that he didn’t even know was there.

“I got lucky crawling up the right tree,” said Donald. “One of the big does threw her head up and looked right at me—or so it appeared. And then I heard a very slight grunt.”

It had rained the day before, so Donald couldn’t hear a deer approaching from behind.

“I looked off my left shoulder and all I could see was rack five steps from my tree, he was standing in some of the trees and limbs I had cut down to hunt.”

As smoothly as he could, Donald got his gun off the rest and made a great shot down through the back and into the heart area.

“He ran about 50 yards and piled up,” said Donald. “I did let out a ‘WOOO!’ A deer this size, if you don’t get excited, you need to stay at the house and watch football.”

Neat to think that if Donald had put up a fuss and claimed his spot to hunt the back of the property, he wouldn’t have seen that deer at all. What a great lesson in generosity and a reminder that sometimes luck falls your way.

Donald’s 14-point buck had a main-frame 6×6 rack and two abnormals. Even after getting creamed by deductions, its net score of 147 4/8 handily won Week 7. It made the cover of the January 2022 issue of GON.


Week 8: Patrick Mitchell
County: Turner
Nov. 5
Net Score: 156 1/8 Typical

Life is full of tough decisions, and that certainly applies to deer hunting. There is almost always a reason not to go hunting. Such was the case for Marietta’s Patrick Mitchell.

“I was faced with two options for Friday, November 5th—No. 1, post up outside my office on Cobb Parkway and await the Braves World Series parade to come by, or No. 2, make the drive down to south Georgia and hunt the Big Ten,” Patrick said.

Guess which choice he made—since you’re reading his story in How The Week Were Won—it’s not a difficult question. Patrick to his Turner County hunting property.

Week 8: Patrick Mitchell decided to head to the hunting land instead of watching the Braves parade, and it paid off with this Turner County 10-pointer that scored 156 1/8.

“It was a slow afternoon sit,” he said. “The first few does stepped out a little later than normal. Then a smaller 2-year-old buck showed up, followed by six more does and yearlings. Shortly before dark, with live decoys in the field and the wind in my favor, the Big Ten appeared at the far end of the food plot. A quick glance through my binoculars proved it was him, and the shot was made. I knew it was a good hit, and that was confirmed when blood was discovered. He was found in a swamp bottom about 100 yards from where he stood when he got shot.”

The 10-point buck’s 5×5 rack was highlighted super tine length, including 11 3/8- and 11 2/8-inch G3s. It tallied a net typical score of 156 1/8.  


Week 9: Cory Croft
County: Turner
Nov. 12
Net Score: 192 1/8 Non-typical

Like many who take a once-in-a-lifetime buck, Pine Mountain’s Cory Croft played a years-long chess game with a monstrous buck that freely roamed on and off his property. On Nov. 12, Cory finally got to proclaim checkmate. Cory used a rifle to take an 18-point Harris County buck that netted 192 1/8, just shy of the Boone & Crockett all-time record book. 

Cory was ecstatic at taking his biggest buck ever, but a little disappointed that he didn’t take it with his bow in September when he had the chance.

“I first saw this buck two years ago when it was a 3-year-old,” the wildlife manager explained about the buck that appeared on camera on the 7,200-acre tract he manages in Harris County. “He showed up for several days and just disappeared. He then started showing up on my neighbor’s property.

“I never saw him last year (during 2020) My neighbor didn’t see him for a long time. My neighbor and I communicate really well. He finally sent me a picture and said, ‘Look who showed back up.’

“The buck spent this past summer on my neighbor’s property. I never saw him.”

Cory’s luck would change when bow season came around. 

“I got him back on my cameras in September,” he said. “It was bow season, and I decided to go in and hunt him. He was a no-show on the first two hunts, but he came in on my third sit about 6:30 in the afternoon. He got within about 20 yards, but a limb was blocking his vitals.”

Week 9: Cory Croft with his Harris County 18-point buck that netted 192 1/8 non-typical.

“I needed him to take about two steps when a coyote spooked him. He ran about 80 yards and just stood there for about five minutes. Finally, the coyote started moving in his direction and he ran off.”

Cory assumed the day’s hunt was over, but he was shocked when the big buck returned to his location.

“About 7:40, he came back to where I was,” he said. “I had bought a new release for my bow that day and I didn’t know that the trigger tension was a lot lighter. He was just 22 yards away. I was wearing a glove. I drew back and was settling the pin on him when I touched the trigger and the sucker went off. The arrow hit him right on the shoulder blade. He ran off. There wasn’t much blood.”

Cory’s consolation came when his neighbor contacted him and told him that the buck had returned to his property and was still alive. In November, he showed back up on Cory’s property, and Cory decided to hunt with his rifle. 

“Two times in the afternoon I saw him bedded in a thicket and he just lay there until dark. On the third afternoon, I hunted him again. A buck chased a doe in behind me. Another buck came in and the two bucks started bowing up at each other. The doe ran off. The 3-year-old buck finally started looking for the doe. I got my binoculars and started looking for the doe, too. That’s when I saw the big buck bedded down about 80 yards away. I could see his antlers, but not his body. The 3-year-old buck walked over to him, and I got ready. The big buck stood up. I shot and he ran only 16 yards.”

Cory has seen some huge bucks over the years, and he has killed some great deer. This buck, however, is in another category—a true Georgia giant. It set up as a 164-inch main-frame 10-point with almost 30 inches on the eight abnormal points. The minimum net score for a non-typical rack to make the all-time Boone & Crockett record book is 195, and Cory’s buck netted 192 1/8. It’s No. 6 on Harris County’s all-time rankings. 


Ladies Wildcard: Debra Durden Sloan
County: Early        
Net Score:
145 4/8
Date: Oct. 16, Week 6

Since July of 2021, Debra Durden Sloan, of Americus, had been watching a certain 12-point buck on her Sumter County lease, photos from the single camera on the place sending messages to her phone. The buck was stepping out in the same place, same time—50 yards from the one and only ladder stand she has set up. Oct. 16, opening day of gun season, the deer stuck to his routine—for the last time.

Ladies Wildcard: Debra Durden Sloan with her Sumter County 12-pointer that scored 145 4/8 to win the Ladies Wildcard spot in the Shoot-Out.

“I got into the stand about 4:30 that afternoon, after hunting that morning and seeing only one tiny buck wandering around by himself,” said Debra. “There was not much action for a couple hours, then I happened to see a shadow in the planted pines about 50 yards away, a little before seven. The buck came out at the same spot he has been coming out of since July.

“He had to turn his head both ways, brushing limbs, as he stepped out. There was another deer behind him, but I never saw what that deer was, and I didn’t really care. This is the one I wanted.”

Debra, who has been hunting deer for more than 40 years, slammed a 100-grain bullet from her Browning Lightweight .243 lever action into the buck’s shoulder—something she doesn’t like to do.

“I usually like to neck shoot my deer so I can load them up by myself from where they fall. He walked out, just kind of looked around, then put his head down, not concerned at all. I took a long minute to get my composure before I pulled the trigger. He went down, then jumped back up, walked about 10 feet, fell again and never got back up. I waited a full five minutes before I got down and walked up on him. Then I started going through my phone to see who could help me get this thing out of here…”

In addition to being in the Shoot-Out for a chance at the truck and Firminator, Debra earned the Wildcard package that includes a $250 Agri Supply gift card, a Rugged Road Outdoor coolers, mineral and attractant from 4S Wildlife Solutions, an HSS harness and a Realtree Shoot-Out shirt.

Editor’s Note: Next month in the July issue we will feature the remaining stories of Truck-Buck winners from the 2021-2022 season.

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