Move over, Annie Oakley; make way for 16-year-old Savannah Flores.
The Payson High School sophomore might be as accurate a marksman as the noted sharpshooter who rose to fame in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.
For proof, ask longtime Tonto Rim Sports Club member and firearms authority Charlie Thompson.
In early October, Thompson chaperoned Savannah and her father, Tony, to the TRSC Jim Jones shooting range to give the teen an opportunity to sight in her Winchester .300 Short Mag for the upcoming deer and elk seasons.
What Thompson saw left him in awe.
“At 100 yards, all her shots were within a 1-inch group,” he said. “At 200 yards, they were in a 2-inch group — she blew me away with her shooting.”
Savannah has been shooting for about six years, mostly with her brothers, Justin and Noah, and the accuracy seems to come naturally.
“I don’t do anything special, just shoot,” she said.
Her shooting skills paid huge dividends Oct. 9 and 10, only about a week after she had sighted her big game rifle at the TRSC range.
Over the course of those two days, the teen bagged both a deer and elk — a feat almost unheard of even among the most seasoned of veteran hunters.
Not only is finding the two animals to harvest a tough task, drawing a hunt tag for both is an extremely lucky occurrence.
“She was very, very fortunate,” said her father.
On opening day of deer season — hunting with a junior tag in Unit 23 near Young — she downed a buck from an astonishing distance of 467 yards.
Thompson said he’s sure the distance, as amazing as it is, was accurate because her father has the latest in high magnification spotting optics that measure precisely and accurately.
The following day, Savannah, her two brothers and father returned to the field for a youth cow elk hunt in Unit 22 North near Beaver Valley.
She was almost equally adept on that hunt, downing an elk with a shot from 250 yards away.
While Savannah remains modest about the hunting feats, her father is obviously proud.
“She is a pretty good hunter,” he said.
Thompson agrees, “I’m certainly impressed.”
Tagging the elk and deer was a thrill for the teenager, but not her first hunting success.
“Last year I got a mule deer and before that a bull elk,” she said.
The bull was tagged in 2006, when she was only 13, with one shot from 350 yards.
On the Boone and Crockett rankings, it scored a 330.
As good a hunter as the teen has grown to be, that isn’t her only interest. After school hours, she volunteers as a student athletic trainer at Payson High School, looking after the welfare of Longhorn athletes. She also is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and last spring was a contest winner at a leadership conference in Tucson.
Thompson said Savannah’s unpretentious attitude was remarkable for a teen. “She’s just a really neat kid — I thoroughly enjoyed being around her.”