Payson High School senior Rand Hallman's outdoor accomplishments, community service and academic achievements have earned him Safari Club International's "Young Hunter Award."
He received the honor Jan. 18 at SCI's 34th Annual Hunters' Convention in Reno, Nev.
The 17-year-old was one of five teens from around the country to receive the prestigious award, given annually to youths who are achieving members of SCI youth hunter programs.
Hallman is a life member of SCI and has been hunting since he was eight years of age.
Since entering high school, he has volunteered on several SCI wildlife, fund-raising and conservation projects. He's also actively involved in Mogollon Sporting Association, U.S. Forest Service and Arizona Game and Fish conservation projects.
"All of those (who) wrote letters of recommendation (to SCI) for me -- I am very grateful to them for that," Hallman said.
At Payson High, he maintains a 3.4 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society and the Arizona Scholars program. Hallman was also a member of the region champion Longhorn football team and active in the squad's Ring of Honor program that provides Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to deserving families.
Hallman said receiving the Young Hunter award was doubly exciting, mostly because he was nominated for it a year ago but did not receive it.
"I think it's a real honor and something I am very proud of," he said.
By the time Hallman was 15, his big game accomplishments had already included downing both an American Bison and an African Cape buffalo.
He downed the Bison in the spring of 2001 while hunting on the Raymond Ranch between Winslow and Flagstaff.
The previous summer, he bagged the Cape Buffalo in Africa.
The Cape Buffalo, he said, is considered one of the most dangerous animals in Africa.
According to the Web site www.seaworld.org, "There are many tales by big game hunters of injured buffalo turning back and goring or killing the shooter."
Hallman said the knowledge the Cape Buffalo is a dangerous animal made the hunt even more challenging.
Last summer, Hallman traveled to New Zealand, where he downed both a Red Stag and a Tahr.
A Stag, Hallman said is an "elk-like animal" and a Tahr is similar to a mountain goat.
After graduation, Hallman plans to attend Arizona State University and major in pre-medicine.