A hunter since she was 10 years old, Payson High School junior Sarah Christensen has enjoyed a wealth of outdoor adventures. Her big game quarry have included both deer and javelina.
But none of the quests have been as exciting as her downing a 5x5 bull elk while hunting last month with her father, Steve Christensen.
In the spring, she applied for the elk tag that had eluded her since she first turned old enough to apply for one. Her father is amazed she was selected for a permit that only a few ever receive.
"At 16, she was one of the lucky few to draw and then harvest the magnificent animal," he said.
Sarah downed the bull while hunting in Unit 4A north of Woods Canyon.
During the hunt, the Christensens spotted other elk but opted to wait.
"We saw a total of 13 different bulls," Steve said. "After passing up several small and young bulls, she set her sights on this five-point."
After dropping the animal with a single shot from what Sarah estimates was about 100 yards, the two noticed the elk had a portion of his left antler broken completely off.
"He had been in some intense fights with other bulls," Steve said. "Sarah had a great time and will always remember this hunt with fond memories."
Next up for the teenager is a javelina hunt in February. This time, however, the adventure will feature a new twist -- Sarah is going to hunt with a muzzle-loading rifle.
After practicing with a muzzle loader, she says the toughest task "will be to hold the rifle steady through the entire (firing) process." Sarah says she knows the hunt will be a unique challenge, but taking an animal with a muzzle loader is a test she welcomes.
"I'm looking forward to it. It should be fun," she said.