Building arrows during after-school hours at his father's Pine Country Outfitters business, 12-year-old Bryan Darnell was able to save enough money to buy a $63 elk tag once game officials notified the youngster he'd been drawn.
With tag, bow and arrow in hand, an excited Bryan set out for the late hunt, Nov. 12, in Unit 22.
Accompanied by his dad, Scott, the pair located a nice-sized bull during the evening hours. The animal was meandering about 150 yards away along a trail which led to a water hole, Scott said.
Armed with a 47-pound Jennings compound bow, Bryan downed the animal with a dead-center shot after the elk approached to within 30 yards of the young hunter.
"I was only about eight yards away," Scott said.
Was the Payson Elementary School fifth grader elated with his first big game animal:
"Oh yes, very much so. It was a big thrill for him," said dad.
Success with a bow, however, is nothing new to the youngster who first began shooting when he was old enough to walk. Early this year in Mesa, the youngster won the Cub division (8-12-years-old) shooting championship at a national archery tournament.
Dad says the youngster plans to improve his shooting skills in hopes of reaping even more archery honors in the older age groups.
The practice will also serve another purpose. It'll keep him primed and ready for his next big game tag whenever it arrives.