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Wed, Dec. 11

The Great Outdoors

Kaylee Moore and her elk. (Courtesy)

Kaylee Moore and her elk. (Courtesy)

Many times when I interview parents or kids who have been on big game hunts, I learn they haven’t always harvested the animals they were pursuing the first time out. Sometimes the young hunters have to go on hunts for several years before they wrap a tag around their quarry.

And that is exactly what happened to Kingman resident Kaylee Moore, who recently went on her third elk hunt in northern Arizona.

Kaylee and her brother Caden drew a pair of the 300 early antlerless tags that had been issued for Unit 9, south of Grand Canyon National Park. Kaylee had hunted this unit before, having drawn the same tag in 2018. However, her hunt did not produce an elk.

Kaylee was hoping this year the result would be different.

The plan was for the Moore family to go up before the hunt, and get ready for opening day. Kaylee’s father, Fred, went up on Wednesday, while his wife Amber would bring the two hunters to camp on Thursday. Another member of the Moore family, 13-year-old Carsen, would also come up for the hunt even though he didn’t have a tag. This was going to be a family outdoor experience.

The hunt started and the family soon learned that locating elk wasn’t going to be a problem, but getting the young hunters into position to take one was going to be another matter.

Another issue that the Moore family would face was that Caden could only hunt the first three days of the seven-day season. Kaylee, who attends Mohave Community College, would be able to hunt six days if need be.

The first action for the two young hunters was on Sunday, the third day of the hunt. They found some elk, and Caden got a shot, but missed. He had to leave later that day to be back in school on Monday. Caden attends Lee Williams High School where he is a freshman. It was the only opportunity he would have on this hunt.

Fred noted that not much happened on Monday or Tuesday morning, but the afternoon would see Lady Luck smile on the young lady hunter.

Tuesday afternoon it was decided that Kaylee and her dad would sit and watch a water hole they knew from past experience was used by a lot of elk.

As they waited, every once in a while Fred would get up and walk around a tree to see if any elk were coming in through a secluded trail that couldn’t be viewed from where they were at.

“I got up and walked around the tree we were sitting by and saw a single cow and calf coming down the trail,” Fred said. “I went back and got Kaylee and was going to get her ready to shoot, when the elk just disappeared.”

So with the sun going down the father and daughter moved up a hillside to look for elk.

To their surprise, at a gate they had just walked through, stood a herd of seven elk. There were five cows, one calf and one bull in the group.

They were 525 yards away but heading toward the water. Kaylee sat down and got the bi-pod set up on her .308 rifle and waited.

When the elk were 228 yards away the young hunter found a mature cow standing broadside, so she took a breath and squeezed off a shot. The shot was lethal, but a second shot was taken that anchored the cow for good.

Kaylee’s third elk tag was filled. This was her first Arizona big game animal and the Moore family will now have a freezer full of good eating meat this winter.

These kinds of hunts are what bond families together. Hunting is a time-honored tradition that continues today and hopefully will continue for time eternal.

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