Julia Randall Elementary School fourth-grader Rhett Bishop has long played a role in the excitement that goes along with big game hunts.
But until Oct. 22, the 10-year-old had never personally felt the pride and accomplishment of a successful stalk.
On the opening day of a youth hunt in unit 24B, near Apache Lake, Bishop downed a whitetail buck with a single 52-yard shot from his .243 caliber rifle.
"He was tremendously excited," said his father, Vince, who was hunting with the youngster.
The father and son hunting team spotted the buck while glassing a ridge in the distance.
"He was walking along with two other bucks," Vince Bishop said.
Since Rhett was a toddler, he has gone along with his father, a local guide, on hunts.
But, he was always a spectator. Until last month's adventure, he had never been drawn for a tag or hunted big game.
"I think that's what's made it so exciting for him," Vince said. "He got to do what he's watched other (hunters) do since he was old enough to walk."
Now that he is 10-years-old, Rhett can apply for adult big game hunts.
According to game and fish rules, 10-year-olds are eligible to be in the field if they have completed a certified hunter safety course, which Rhett has done.
According to Vince, the thrill of the deer hunt has the youngster eager for more.
"He's already put in for the spring turkey and javelina (hunts)," Vince said. "He's just waiting for the results."