After successfully passing a certified hunter safety course and being drawn for cow elk tags, brothers Jake and Clint Hatcher were about as excited as two young hunters can be.
The youngsters' jubilation reached a pinnacle Oct 3 and 4 in Unit 6A where both downed elks during an annual youth hunt. The hunt unit is near Mormon and Stoneman Lakes near Flagstaff.
Clint, a sixth-grader at Rim Country Middle School, dropped his animal early the first day. Firing a .243 caliber rifle, he bagged the 450-pound cow from about 40 yards.
The boys were hunting with their father, Carl.
"We were using a cow call and heard some bugling on a ridge a ways from us," Carl said. "Clint worked his way towards a herd of about 15 and picked out the biggest (elk). It was a free standing shot."
The following morning, while hunting in almost the exact location, Jake -- a fourth-grader at Julia Randall Elementary School -- filled his tag. Using the same rifle his older brother had used earlier, Jake downed the 275-pound yearling from about 60 yards.
The excitement of their first big game hunt has both boys eager for more.
"They are already planning their next hunt," Carl said. "This has been a good year for us. Our family has been drawn for six big game tags."