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Bullwinkle and Bull-headed Bill

Chaplain Knox Herndon

Fayetteville, GA

I am the chaplain for North Country River Charters (NCRC), which is a wonderful Alaskan hunting and fishing outfitter group working out of Fairbanks, Alaska. As chaplain for the organization, I have hunted moose and black bear with Bill O'Halloran, the owner, for several years. I go up each year from Atlanta and try, as my God-given duty, to attempt to keep these crazy guys straight and minister to the clients that hunt each year.

This particular year Bill and I were hunting in a wonderful place we call the "Cow Pond" due to the many moose we see there each year. One season we counted 17 cows and calves in a 10-day period. I have hunted moose and bear now for seven years and feel that Bill and I have acquired a very unique way to call in a bull. We use a "double team" approach. I rake the trees with my moose bone shoulder blade and Bill does his special 4-mile deep-throated grunt. After a while we switch and I call and Bill does his special 'rake the trees and tear up the area' routine, just like a rutting angry charging bull would do.

We were just about to start our little double team calling approach when Bill looked at me with that '40 mission stare' and said, "Our bull will step out right there." Now, to my knowledge, Bill is neither prophet nor the son of a prophet, nor has he before or since ever said this to me. So we began our little 'double team serenade' for about 30 minutes when all of a sudden, from the exact spot Bill had predicted, out jumped Bullwinkle waving his 53-inch rack from side to side. As he broke out of the woodline, he let out a grunt that, translated in any language, said, "LET'S FIGHT NOW!" Bill turned to me and ordered, "Shoot him now!" I raised my .338 Ruger and fired a well-placed shot into the heart and lung area. Bullwinkle lowered his head and laid his ears back and headed right for the pond and us. Brother Bill jumped out in front of this charging, swaying bull with his arms waving in the air and hollered like mad to keep him out of the water. It was about at this time that I was trying to remember how many sets of clean underwear I had back in camp.

Bill got the bull turned around, and, as he reached the preferred high ground spot at the tree line, instructed me to, "Shoot him again." I shot again and he fell right where Bill wanted him.

I later questioned Bill as to how in the world he knew where Bullwinkle would break out of the woodline. He looked at me with that same '40 mission stare' and said, "Knox, if I told you I would have to kill you." I never asked him again. A true story.

I have spent many nights around our Alaskan moose campfires and have watched the Northern Lights dance through the Arctic sky. These have been some of the greatest moments of my life.


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