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Night Hawk Stories... Entry 30

Getting In To Predator Mode

click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Tim Hooey, the host of "North American Fish and Game Outdoor Magazine," has hunted avidly since childhood. One of the lucky ones, he's turned his love for hunting into a 10-year career. His show runs in syndication in several cities and the Outdoor Channel runs his show on cable on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST.

In September 2000, Tim Hooey took a monster elk with his bow in New Mexico. Viewers will have the opportunity to see the hunt on the next season of Hooey's show. This week, he gives visitors to Mossy Oak's website the inside scoop on how he took this elk.

click to enlargeQUESTION: Can you set the scene of the take-down for us?
ANSWER: I was in my tree stand watching the wallow, when I heard this huge bugle that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I heard big steps coming my way, and then about seven or eight cows ran into the wallows. They'd heard my bugle calls before, and therefore, considered the area to be safe. Then, out of the brush came a huge bull. Because he wasn't happy with the cows for just leaving him, he was bugling loudly behind them. The cows were just wailing, splashing and raising cain in the wallow, and the bull stood only about 55 yards away from me.

My cameraman and I were shaking we were so excited. I think Tim even took some shots of me where all you could see was my bow going up and down because I was shaking so hard. What hit me first off was how wide the bull was. And even then, I didn't realize just how wide he really was until I climbed out of the tree.

click to enlargeQUESTION: What happened next?
ANSWER: I waited for what seemed like forever but what was probably only about 12 to 13 minutes. I assessed the situation and thought about how I could take down this bull. The elk raised his neck and sniffed the air, but he didn't catch a whiff of me. He leaned down and took a drink from the wallow. He was to the right of a big pine tree, which was right in front of the aspen tree where I was -- only about 35 yards away. Once the bull finished drinking, he seemed to stand there forever. I closed my eyes to calm myself down and kept repeating in my head "keep it together, Hooey. Keep it together."

click to enlargeWhen the bull shifted a bit to the right, I shifted with him. I anticipated a shot to my left, but the bull did a 180. Suddenly he was directly to my right only about 28 yards away. I anchored my pin and waited. I had to wait a few minutes for him to drop his head to lower his rack so that it would be out of the way of my shot. When he finally dropped his head, I hit him in the upper part of the shoulder. My arrow punctured both of his lungs. The bull reacted to it like a bee sting. That arrow seemed to hurt him a bit, but he didn't know what had hit him. He started looking around trying to determine what happened. The motto of most guides is to keep shooting till the animal's down, so I guess I went into predator mode. I reloaded my bow at lightning speed and hit him again, quartering into his vitals behind his left shoulder, right through his heart. He went about 80 yards before he fell over dead.

Tomorrow: After the Hunt


Entry 27-Taking a Monster Elk
Entry 28-Setting Up the Campsite
Entry 29-Setting Up the Hunt
Entry 30-Getting In To Predator Mode
Entry 31-After the Hunt

Night Hawk Stories