With a crossbow in her hands and a 13-foot alligator wading 15 yards away in the Guadalupe River, Ella Hawk had ice water in her veins on Sunday. “I wasn’t nervous,” said Ella, 10.
Her dad? Not so much. “I was more nervous than her before the shot,” said Tony Hawk, Ella’s father. “She has nerves of steel before the shot. She’s just gifted like that, I guess.” Ella delivered a perfect shot just above the alligator’s eyes. “The first shot paralyzed and killed him,” Ella said.
Ella, Tony and Tony’s wife, Cindy, cheered along with hunting guide Ryan Longer after Ella took down the animal about a half mile from where U.S. Highway 77 crosses the Guadalupe.
Longer, who owns Longer’s Outdoors and lives on a ranch a few miles south of Victoria, said Ella’s alligator was big enough for him to consider it the “pinnacle for the year” as a hunting guide. Ella was surprised as well. “They said it was really big,” Ella said. “At first I thought it was 12 feet.”The official measurement was 13 feet, enough to rank No. 1 in the world in Trophy Game Records of the World’s database.TGR, based in Kerrville, has kept game records for about 30 years.
Ella’s noteworthy alligator wasn’t a lucky kill, either. The Huffman resident has been hunting for a few years, her father said said. She prepared for Sunday’s outing by taking practice crossbow shots from an elevated position to simulate the scenario. The situation played out perfectly, Longer said. To comply with Texas alligator hunting law, Longer baited the alligator and hooked it near the bank. Had Ella not made the kill from the opposite bank on the first shot, Longer would have had to wade through mud, grab the line with the 800-pound alligator and pull the line until the alligator was back above the water’s surface. “It could have been a rodeo,” Longer said. “It worked out in all aspects. It was like a crocodile hunt in Africa.”
To put Longer’s mind at ease, he had Ella take two more crossbow shots. The second of those two insurance shots hit the arrow that Ella originally landed in the gator. “She Robin Hooded it,” Longer said. Longer also had Ella shoot the alligator with a .243 pistol. Ella’s pistol shot, Longer said, also hit her original crossbow arrow. Ella admitted she became a little nervous on the insurance shots. Soon after, it was time to celebrate. “I was happy,” Ella said. “I was so excited.”
The shot also puts Ella in better standing to receive the Trophy Game Records of the World Huntress of the Year award, which she won last year. Girls up to age 17 are eligible for the award. The fearless 10-year-old made a kill that Victoria shouldn’t soon forget. “I’ve gone several years without even getting a 12-foot (alligator),” Longer said. “I don’t know how it happened or why it happened, and this is probably my pinnacle for the year.” Longer has the incredibly accurate Ella Hawk to thank for finishing the job. “I have more confidence in her than probably more than 90 percent of the grown men I take on hunts,” he said.
(c)2015 Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas)