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By Jaryd Cline
Sports Editor 

Middle schooler Henry Thompson honored for elk calling skills

 

Henry Thompson

THOMPSON'S TROPHY: Henry Thompson poses after downing his elk in Baker City, Oregon.

Goldendale Middle School eighth grader Henry Thompson knows how difficult it is to bow hunt elk without a call. It's also no simple feat to go after one of the largest mammals in North America with a call either.

But for Thompson, using calls to draw in an elk is almost second nature. Last elk season, he used his calling skills to take down an elk in Baker City, Oregon, but last month, he also used his expertise to capture first place in the youth division of the Oregon Bow Hunters elk calling contest in Bend, Oregon.

Thompson's uncle, Beau Brooks, owner of Brooks Custom Calls in La Center, also showed off his calling skills by finishing second in the pro division.

The three judges at the elk calling competition, held at the Bend Riverhouse, graded participants on their cow/calf calling skills as well as their bull calling abilities. Each judge graded the contestants on a scale of 1-20 for the two sets of calls, and Thompson finished with a total score of 90 out of a possible 120.

Thompson explained the differences in calling bulls and cows, and gave some examples of the "chuckle," "chirp" and "bark" noises that the elk make.

Cow elk sounds typically are lower in pitch than the bulls, which produce loud, multi-tone sounds that is held for several seconds.

It's almost vital to hunt elk with a call, but isn't impossible.

Jaryd Cline

THOMPSON'S OTHER TROPHY: Henry Thompson poses with his elk calling championship trophy in the GMS gym on March 1.

"It's really hard with elk," Thompson said. "The only other way you can do (without a call) it is stock up on it and sneak up on it. They're always constantly moving which is really hard."

He remembers downing his elk last season in Baker City with his aunt, Dawn Brooks. Up on a ridge, his calls attracted a bull and moments later he lined up his shot.

"He came up and we called him in. He came straight at me and I drew my bow," Thompson said.

Although he waited about a minute with his 60-pound bow drew while waiting for the elk to turn and face away from him so he could line up a shot near the lungs and heart.

"We waited 'till he turned broadside," he said. "So I had to hold my bow ... for like a minute and I'm just sitting there shaking. He finally turned broadside ... Got the shot on him and he ran down into the gully about 60 yards and just dropped."

 

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