Last week I wrote about a 10-year-old boy from Kingman who had a fantastic start to his hunting career.
I was pleasantly surprised to find he wasn’t the only young sportsman in Kingman who had gone on some great hunts last year, and this young man is continuing in 2017.
Shayne Zumwalt is a 10-year-old fifth-grader at Manzanita Elementary and the son of Clint and Katie Zumwalt of Kingman.
Shayne will be the first to tell you that he likes the great outdoors and that hunting is at the top of his list of things he likes to do.
In less than a year, he has been involved in some exciting hunts; hunts that produced a lot of fun, food and excitement for him and his family.
The first order of business, as it should be for any young sportsman, is to take and graduate from an Arizona Hunter Education course.
Last March as a 9-year-old, he took the resident two-weekend class at the 7 Mile Hill range under the tutelage of Chief Instructor Jim Rich and his staff of certified volunteer instructors.
Shayne did well, even though he was among the youngest in his class.
His hunting career started off when his mother drew one of the 25 bull tags for a multi-unit hunt east of Kingman.
His mom had been very lucky, having drawn the tag with zero bonus points. But knowing that her son was ready to go hunting, she signed the tag over to him.
Assisting the young elk hunter were his father, his Uncle Brad, and Grandfather Devin Zumwalt.
Brad had drawn one of the 25 archery bull tags in the same block of units, so they would be able to have relevant knowledge of where the elk were when his hunt started.
As it turned out, Brad got a 6x6 bull on his hunt.
The group also had another friend who had drawn the same tag. Charlie Grigg had drawn one of the early rifle tags too, and his son Chuggy was along to help.
The hunters agreed to help each other out on the hunt, something that would eventually make for success for both of them.
On Day 1 of the hunt the group saw a non-typical bull, one that they described as having deformed antlers.
They made a long hike but couldn’t get closer than 300 yards from the bull. Clint said he thought that was too far for the young hunter to shoot, so they passed.
The young man was using a Savage rifle in the venerable 308 cartridge. They had practiced with the rifle, which was topped with a 3x9 Leupold scope.
There was little bugling heard on opening day by either hunter.
On day two things got better and they spotted a couple of spike bulls that they passed on. Other hunters also got into the area they were hunting so they decided to move.
Clint glassed up another group of elk which contained a non-typical 6x5, a 4x4 and 10 cows.
They made a stalk and were able to get within 180 yards of the bull, who at times was raking his antlers in the trees.
Shayne got down on the shooting sticks and fired at the bull, which ran just a short distance, collapsed and expired.
His first big game animal was a 6x5 non-typical bull! Troy Smith of Authentic Taxidermy in Chino Valley got the call and will be mounting the trophy bull for the young hunter.
The next hunt that Shayne got to go on was the muzzleloader youth hunt in a block of units near Kingman.
There were just 20 tags issued for this hunt, but by taking the hunter education class he had earned a permanent bonus point for all of Arizona’s big game animals, including deer. Having that extra point no doubt contributed to his drawing the tag.
He would use a CVA Traditions muzzleloader in 50-caliber on this hunt.
Shayne had practiced a lot with the rifle. He became proficient with it and learned to use shooting sticks to steady his aim.
Shayne and his father and Uncle Brad hunted for the first three days of the season but just didn’t have any luck.
Then the day before Thanksgiving the young hunter and his father went out to try and locate a buck.
They got to the area they wanted to be before daylight and sat in the truck until it got light enough to see.
They hadn’t walked 20 yards from the truck when Clint glassed up a group of deer that they found had a very nice 3x3 buck with them.
They were over 250 yards away, so the father and son team started to stalk in.
They finally closed the distance to 203 yards when they stopped and got Shayne set up for a shot. These modern muzzleloaders are more than capable to delivering a lethal shot at ranges of 250 yards or more.
Shayne held high on the buck’s shoulder, took aim, and fired.
At the shot, the buck ran 10 yards and dropped. He had made a perfect heart shot.
The buck sported a 23-inch wide rack with three points on each side.
Amber Kirby at Down and Mount Taxidermy in Kingman will mount this deer for the young sportsman.
The last tag that Shayne had was for javelina and he had two tags in 2017.
Clint got Shayne a leftover archery pig tag. They saw a lot of javelina, but Shayne never connected.
Shayne also drew one of the 100 junior’s only javelina tags for a block of seven units where the young hunters could hunt for the “Gray ghosts of the desert.”
Clint chose for them to hunt in Unit 18A, which is one of the units that would be open.
On the opening day of the juniors hunt it was cold and windy.
They hadn’t seen any pigs and were driving to a spot to glass when they saw two pigs standing off of the side of the road. Lady Luck had intervened and now the young hunter would have a chance to fill his tag.
Shayne was using a 22-250 rifle on this hunt and like the other firearms he used, had practiced with this one, too.
They were able to get close to the unsuspecting pigs, who were just 60 yards away.
Shayne fired but missed, and then he fired again. Another miss and the pigs scurried off into a boulder pile.
Clint ran and jumped up onto a boulder to look for them. He looked below him and there, not 10 feet away, they stood.
Clint got Shayne to move up and get on the boulder.
They pigs didn’t see the hunters and were standing still. Shayne took aim and fired.
This time he didn’t miss and he had added an adult boar to the list of big game animals he had taken.
Shayne is another very lucky young man.
He comes from a family that likes to hunt and is committed to seeing that he gets plenty of opportunities to spend time with family in the great outdoors.
That is just one reason why we are sportsmen. Hunting gives us the opportunity to share quality time together, build bonds and make memories that will last forever!
And in the case of Shayne Zumwalt, he provided a lot of good eating meat for his family.