BASTROP, La. (KTVE/KARD) — Today was the 2022 Simmons’ Sporting Goods Big Buck Contest. This year they gave away $150,000 in prizes, but behind each prize is the story of a hunter and a deer they killed.
“My husband has been watching this deer with his camera for a while because he has a spy point. And the funny thing is he came up to me and showed me the deer and said, “That’s my deer, you’re not going to shoot it.” Well… I shot it and he started crying,” Chassidy Fuller said , Winner of the Women’s Rifle Division.
This year’s Big Buck contest featured 15 different categories… from archery to a junior division. For a 9-year-old he might not have gone home with a prize, but harvesting his first stag was a huge win for him.
“He was at 50 yards, my dad said to shoot, so he said within a second I shot. It was 310 pounds and none of the bullets went through him,” said Henry Barham, a 9-year-old hunter who shot his first buck
For others, they’ve beaten the odds against grown men, grown women, and of course, their father.
“Well my dad filmed one this year on the same lot that was pretty big. However, it took my dad 40 years and it took me 4 hours,” said Henslee Albritton, 3rd place Open Division.
For many of the Big Buck winners, the competition allows them to reflect back on their stories and appreciate their love of the hunt.
“It’s really gratifying when it all pays off and you exercise patience, respect the animal, try to make a clean, humane kill and it works out,” Peter Oliver, Primitive Weapons.
This year there were 60 winners in the competition. Everyone took home a prize package thanks to all the sponsors. These sponsors included Miller Lite, First South Farm Credit, House of Cycles and Realtree Outdoors.
“You know, I’m very grateful to Simmons for running this competition and having sponsors who give us such nice prizes. It’s really a great cause and I’m honored to be a part of it,” said Tara Allain, women’s archery winner.
Prizes included a 2021 Can-am Outlander ATV and a Pack the camp prize package that included 20 cases of Miller Light beer and all the hunting gear you could want.
“Oh, I’m going to put it up and hopefully I can get a deer with it,” said Stacey Lowe, winner of Stock the Camp.
The grand prize was a $10,000 shopping spree at Simmon’s Sporting Goods. The winner could call the check his own in disbelief.
“Very excited, I’ve never won anything in my life until now,” said Tommy Nichols, winner of the Shopping Spree.
Hunting has been in the blood of many since they were children and they are now passing it on to their families.
“I started hunting with my father as a young girl, and now I hunt a lot with my husband,” Allain said.
As you get older, intuition about when to hunt comes naturally.
“I had family over and we were in my outdoor kitchen just talking and this urge got the better of me. I knew I had to be in that state. I didn’t evict my company, I told them they could stay, they could cook, they could do whatever they wanted…but I had to go,” Oliver said.
Click here for a full list of Big Buck contest winners.