Eleven-year-old Andrew Currie's mid-October big game outing produced results that would swell the chests of the most seasoned of hunters.
In the course of less than 10 days, the Payson Elementary School fifth-grader downed a nice-sized mule deer in the Kaibab forest near the Grand Canyon. Days later and hundreds of miles away near Quamado, N.M., he bagged a 5x5 bull elk.
Rendering the feats even more astonishing was the fact the youngster -- in both hunts --was armed with a single-shot, front-loading muzzle rifle.
In taking the deer during an Arizona Game and Fish sanctioned youth hunt, Currie hunting with his father Richard --was successful with one shot from about 110 yards away.
The outing, Richard said, was intended to be a tune-up and practice round for a later adventure in New Mexico.
Hunting about 60 miles east of Springerville near the New Mexico-Arizona border, the father and son team had little luck locating herds the first three days of the season.
But while returning to their truck after a frustrating day in which Andrew hadn't had a shot, the pair spotted the bull about 40 yards away.
Before Andrew could right the rifle bipod and sight-in, the bull had moved away to a more difficult 70-yard attempt.
But one well-placed shot from the muzzle loader was all it took for Andrew to wrap up a first-ever hunting adventure that most youngsters his age can only dream about.
Now home in Payson, Andrew has returned to classes at PES where's he's able to relive his once-in-a-lifetime hunt experiences with classmates, friends and teachers.
Dad, admittedly a little spent from the two-state adventure, says there's no hunts planned for the future --he's ready set to settle down to a nice quiet fishing trip only a few miles away at Roosevelt Lake.