Youngster Bags Trophy Game

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It takes enormous luck and superior skill to be drawn for two big game tags in a prime hunt unit and then successfully bag both animals.

As difficult as pulling off the two feats might be, Payson Community Christian School seventh-grader Austin Brazeau was able to accomplish both during 20 days in December.

"It was a month to remember," his father and hunting escort Pete said. "I'm not sure he can fully appreciate what he has done.

"Just being lucky enough to draw the tags is one thing, but to harvest two trophy size animals at the ripe old age of 12 is something else."

Austin's outdoor adventure began last fall when he received both whitetail deer and bull elk permits in the Arizona Game and Fish Department's annual hunting tag draw. Both were for Unit 22 near Payson.

On Dec. 10 while hunting with his father and Tige Godac, a family friend and guide, Austin downed a 3x3 buck with one shot from his .340 caliber Weatherly rifle. The shot, his father said, was from about 180 yards away.

During the hunt, the trio were using a strategy of "spot and stalk" the animals.

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Austin Brazeau proudly displays the trophy 6x7 bull elk he downed while hunting near Flowing Springs.

"We'd try to find them, then stalk," Pete Brazeau said.

With the buck tag successfully filled, the trio turned their attention to elk.

On Dec. 30, as the season was wearing down, Austin and his father were concerned they might not find the trophy bull they were scouring the countryside for.

But while hunting near Flowing Springs, Austin -- again using his .340 caliber rifle -- bagged a 6x7 bull elk. The shot that downed the huge animal was from 408 yards.

As much luck and skill as the successful harvest required, they weren't accomplished without days of hard work.

"He was up a 4 a.m. every morning and out hiking all day," Pete Brazeau said. "It was awesome for him, but he worked for it."

The youngster's hunting adventure wasn't the only one in which he's participated.

"Two years ago he hunted white tail in Michigan," Pete Brazeau said. "But, it was from a blind and totally different."

With the thrill of the hunt now behind them, both father and son are eagerly looking forward to their next outing should either be lucky enough to be drawn for another tag.

The anticipation of another hunt, however, hasn't diminished the pride Pete has for his son.

"He has given us both life long memories," Pete said.

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