The Georgia Predator Hunting Association, a non-profit group devoted to education about and the promotion of the sport of coyote hunting, was proud to present the 4th Annual GPHA Coyote Classic sponsored by LETHAL Scent Control, on February 15-17, 2013. The event was headquartered at the Clean Control factory at 1040 Booth Rd. in Warner Robins, Ga, which is the parent company of LETHAL scent control. This event was a continuation of the first ever statewide coyote competition started by the GPHA in 2010.
In keeping with the GPHA’s commitment to provide the absolute best coyote calling competition in the state, some new and exciting changes were implemented in 2013 that proved to be another step forward. Last year’s addition of a team rep to travel with each team was continued this year, and had been adopted as a permanent part of the GPHA event. This provides a way to maintain the integrity of the contest, as well as the teams participating. In addition, it is a way to introduce new people to the sport, and allow them to learn from experienced hunters, or possibly even bring a new experience level to their team. This year, in response to feedback that some hunters felt like they were at a disadvantage to teams who utilize night vision aids, a separate category was offered that restricted hunting to the use of lights only in an attempt to invite more participants to the sport and offer a level playing field. The generous support of the title sponsor, LETHAL, allowed us to offer this new category with the same guaranteed payout of $1000.
The weather proved to be much more kind than last year, when heavy rains dominated and shortened the hunt for better than 12 hours. This year, skies were mostly clear, and temperatures were crisp and cool … ideal for coyote activity. Teams met at LETHAL’s factory at 6:00pm, and following a brief welcome of all participants and guests, were immediately paired with their reps by Ben Yelverton, Director of Member Relations. This was another change, made in the hopes of giving the teams and reps time to get acquainted and plan their strategies over dinner. Rick Ward, Director of Marketing for the GPHA, asked for a blessing over the food and the hunt, and a meal prepared by Wendy Offenberg, Ashley Offenberg and Amanda Yelverton was served. All the while, our photographer Jolene Rydell was busy recording the event in pictures, which can be seen on our Facebook page,and soon on our web site. At the conclusion of the meal, the rules were reviewed with all participants by Warren Offenberg and Joe Rydell, the President and Vice President respectively of the GPHA, and the floor opened up to questions and clarifications. Once all were addressed, the meeting was adjourned at 7:44pm, and official start time of the hunt announced at 9:44 pm to establish a consistent start time even for those who had to travel to their home hunting grounds across the state.
The deadline to check in was 2:00pm, and teams began to check in around 1:20. As Joe Rydell, Ben Yelverton and Gary Turley weighed in each team’s harvest, Rick and Warren were making final preparations to present the best prize table to date to the winners, thanks to the tremendous support of our sponsors. LETHAL, MMI Tactical/DEPSOC360, Ambush Firearms, All Predator Calls, Coyote Craze, Crossover Camo, Foxpro, Hog Predators, Hornady, K2 Coolers, Mark Zepp, McKenzie Scent Duffel, Mojo Outdoors, Mossy Oak Productions, Predator Extreme, Rhino Blind and the Well Armed Woman. Once everyone had weighed in, and the results were tallied, the prize presentation began with raffles for the ladies, children and the Rep drawing. Then it was time to announce the results. The Winners were:
3rd – Team Doggy Style (Brett Mitchell, Brandon Mitchell, and Rep Shane Groves)
2nd - Team Predator Poison (Jeff Hughes, Brian McKinnon, and Rep Howard Shannon)
1st - Team Armadillo (Scott Godman, Bobby McDaniel, and Rep Matt Barecky)
All winners received cash and trophies. The 3rd place team also received a call and DVD package. The 2nd place team received Wicked Lights from All Predator Calls. The 2nd Place team rep and all members of the 1st Place team received a ¼ zip jacket from MMI Tactical/DEPSOC360. The inaugural winner of this category is a testament to the Rep process, as they are a new team that came out of the Rep pool in 2012.
4th - Team Have Gun Will Travel (Jeff Hudgins, Greg Carden and Rep Shane Groves)
3rd - Team McQueen (Ryan McQueen, Shane Saxton, and Rep Justin Henderson)
2nd – Team Hog Predators (John Harvey, Lee Wilson and Rep Rick Ward)
1st - Team LBC (Mike Hattaway, Paul Smaha, and Rep Scott Radebaugh)
The 4th Place team received a cash award. The 3rd thru 1st place teams received cash and trophies, as well as prizes. The 3rd place team received a call and DVD package. The 2nd place team received ¼ zip jackets from MMI Tactical/DEPSOC360. And the 1st place team received Shell Jacket Systems from MMI Tactical/DEPSOC360. The 1st place team also had the highest turn-in of any team in GPHA Coyote Classic history.
The final event of the day was the drawing for the GPHA Fundraiser Raffle. First prize was an Ambush Firearms rifle in choice of caliber and finish, and second prize was a hunt with Hog Predators.com . The first drawing was for the Ambush rifle, and the winner was Gary Keown of Dawsonville, Ga. The winner of the drawing for the hunt was Greg Carden of LaGrange, Ga. The floor was opened to new business, and once all items were presented and discussed, the meeting was adjourned, thus marking the close of the 4th Annual GPHA Coyote Classic. The Georgia Predator Hunting Association would like to thank all of our participants, supporters and sponsors, especially LETHAL for being the Title Sponsor, and for the generous use of the facility. Without all of these, we could not bring you the best coyote contest in the state, and the entire Southeast.
Please stay tuned to our Facebook page, and our website for new and exciting events with the GPHA.