Hoeft excels in bow-and-arrow exploits
Special to the Miner
Johnnie Hoeft Sr., right, receives a trophy for winning the 2014 Silver Senior Bow Hunter class at nationals of the National Field Archery Association from NFFA President Bruce Cull.
6/24/2014 6:00:00 AM
KINGMAN - Johnnie Hoeft Sr., 68, of Golden Valley, is an archery legend: 31 state archery championships in four states, 22-year owner and manager of Ohio's largest indoor and outdoor archery range (home of the state's largest junior archery program), and an archer who shoots a bow with no sights, no release, nor or any other modern device.
Hoeft started shooting a bow in 1968 after he returned from Vietnam.
He was living in Ohio at the time. Always a hunter, he had been sitting in a freezing cold duck blind and all day and had just a pair of ducks for his efforts.
When he got home, he received a call from his high school wrestling coach, Al Mayfield.
"He told me to come over to his house, that he wanted to show me something," Hoeft said. "When I got there, I saw he had a huge whitetail buck, one that weighed well over 200 pounds, hanging in a tree.
"He told me he had got that buck with a bow and arrow. That was all it took."
Hoeft ended up purchasing his first bow, a recurve Grove bow with an overdraw, from Mayfield. He used that bow for 10 years before he upgraded to a Jennings T-Star bow.
Finally, in 2005, he ended with a Bow Tech Constitution, a compound bow that is set at 60 pounds draw weight.
At a recent taping of my television show, "Back in Camp," which is now on cable channel 11, I asked Hoeft, "So what have you done so far this year?"
His answer shocked me.
It went like this.
In January, he entered the National Field Archery Association Nevada State Indoors Shoot in the silver senior bow hunter class - and won.
In February, he participated in the NFAA southwest sectionals, shooting against others in his class from seven western states - and won again.
In late February, he participated in the NFAA World Shoot in Las Vegas.
There were 2,835 shooters from 32 countries. In his event, he was up against shooters ages 18 and older.
Despite the disadvantage of shooting against younger and stronger shooters from all over the world, Hoeft finished a very respectable 22nd place.
In 2013, he finished 17th. "My goal is to finish in the top 10 in the world," Hoeft said.
In March, Hoeft went to Louisville, Ky., for the NFAA Indoor Nationals. There were 1,570 participants at this shoot.
Hoeft participated in the silver senior bow hunter class, and won!
Not content with all those accomplishments, in May Hoeft went to the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix for the NFAA Outdoor Southwest Regionals.
Shooting on the two hottest days of the summer so far, Hoeft won that title.
He is taking a few days off before his next competition, but Hoeft noted that he shoots every day.
"I have my own archery range at the house," Hoeft said. "Every day I'll shoot about 200 arrows. When I am getting ready for a tournament, I'll shoot up to 400 arrows a day."
Besides being a competitive archery shooter, Hoeft is also a bow hunter.
For the second straight year, Hoeft and his son, Johnnie, have beaten the odds and have drawn archery elk tags in game management unit 7W.
He pursued a giant bull last year and passed on a number of smaller bulls throughout the hunt.
"I am going to get him this year," Hoeft said with a smile.