Golden Valley youngster scores a hat trick

Courtesy<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Drew Hendricks, 14, shows the jake he recently bagged.

Courtesy<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Drew Hendricks, 14, shows the jake he recently bagged.

Drew Hendricks is a bubbly 14-year-old young man who says he has been going along on hunting trips as long as he can remember.

The Golden Valley resident who attends the Kingman Academy of Learning has had a fall that a lot of local sportsmen and women would be envious of.

In a span of just over a month, Hendricks has bagged a pair of pronghorn antelope, taken a turkey and then bagged his first-ever antlerless elk.

The young hunter comes from a family of outdoor enthusiasts. His father Chris and mother Bonnie have both been hunting for many, many years.

This family uses hunting to not only put food on the table but to share life and develop strong family bonds.

Chris is also a certified Arizona Hunter Education instructor who helps others learn to be responsible, safe and ethical hunters.

Hendricks started off his fall hunting adventures by going to Wyoming to try for his first antelope.

Chris noted that anyone can buy doe antelope tags over the counter in many places in Wyoming, so the family planned a mini-vacation to the Cowboy State.

"We were able to buy Drew two doe tags over the counter," Chris said. "They cost just $19 each for the kids."

He and Bonnie also bought doe antelope tags that were $43 each.

The Hendricks family lived in Wyoming for many years and they have a number of friends who own ranches there, so finding an area for the youngster to hunt in was no problem.

The family reached Wyoming late Thursday night, and on Friday morning the hunt was on.

Using his .243 rifle, Drew bagged his first doe with one shot at 100 yards on Friday. On Saturday afternoon, he got his second doe. This one he took at 150 yards.

Both Chris and Bonnie also got does.

Next Drew was set to go on a juniors-only fall turkey hunt in Unit 10.

This tag was available over the counter for young hunters. This was the second turkey tag that Drew has had. Last year, he got an over-the-counter tag in Unit 10, and on opening day, he bagged his first turkey, a young male turkey that are called jakes.

This year the family went back to the same area in Unit 10, and at daylight, Chris and Bonnie heard a flock of birds in a nearby canyon.

They went back to camp and got Drew, who immediately started a stalk using his trusty double-barrel 410 shotgun.

It didn't take long for the young hunter to find the birds, and like the year before, one shot was all it took to bag his second turkey, which again was a young jake.

Now the next adventure he was going on would be his first-ever elk hunt. Drew had drawn one of the 765 antlerless elk tags for juniors in Unit 6A, which is located south of Flagstaff.

The plan called for the family to go to the Mormon Lake area on Thursday evening to attend a seminar for the junior elk hunters by members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

On opening day, the young hunter was in the Mormon Lake area, and while they saw a number of elk and even heard a couple of bulls bugling, no shots were taken.

The second day of the hunt turned out to be a bust, as the family neither heard nor saw any elk.

On Sunday morning, the young hunter and his family headed back toward Mormon Lake where they had seen the elk on opening day.

To their surprise, they saw a large group of cows and calves out in the meadow.

Drew and Bonnie headed for the elk while Chris drove to the lodge.

By the time he got back, Drew's elk hunt was over.

Drew was able to bag the lead cow in the herd and he had his first elk.

For this young man, he almost single-handedly is going to provide his family with a freezer full of good eating game meat this fall.

It is important to remember that this is just one of the many families in Mohave County that hunt to not only put food on the table but to also to solidify family bonds.

These hunts make memories that will last them for a lifetime.