Ryder Crabb, of Duran, is an 8-year-old boy who, although young, has been very passionate about hunting, fishing, and conservation in the short time he’s been active in the community.

Ryder’s mom, Taleisha Crabb, said Ryder has always had an interest in all things outdoors.

“He loves guns,” she said. “He loves reloading his own shells, from the time he was very little, just to improve accuracy. … He practices all summer long and he went to Hunter Education when he was only 7 and he got the highest score out of his class because he was so just like, gung-ho on everything, hunting, and outdoors, and conservation and fishing and all of that.”

Ryder said he loves hunting because it’s fun to go hike places and be outdoors. He said he also loves watching the animals and learning about them.

Taleisha Crabb said while the rest of the family does hunt and fish, Ryder is definitely more passionate than everyone else. She said it was his idea for Hunter Ed and all the other things he’s signed up for.

Ryder said he was inspired to try hunting from his family, though. “My dad had been trapping and stuff,” he said, “so I wanted to try to do that. Then before I wanted to because there was a ton of deer around the ranch and my brother had got some too and so I wanted to try. It was pretty fun.”

Taleisha Crabb said young people who become interested in hunting are usually in their late teens.

“There’s not very many that are that young that do it, but there’s no reason that they shouldn’t,” she said, adding, “Kids can get involved and really, the future of hunting and fishing and conservation is in their hands.”

She said Ryder has successfully hunted a mule deer, a 10-point buck, a big bull oryx, trapped some bobcats, and most recently a large bull elk.

“Elk are tough animals to hunt and we had to go scouting for miles and miles just to find elk first,” she said.

For the hunt itself, Ryder had to get up at 3:30 in the morning and be out the door by 4 a.m., she said. “He was carrying his own pack, his own gun, and it just took a lot of effort to get him up there. He got all the way up there, and It wasn’t until about 3 in the afternoon, he had seen some smaller bulls that he had passed up, because he was trying to get a bigger bull.”

She said he didn’t given in when he got tired, but stuck with it. “Then when he saw it, we did a nice stalk for a while, he made an awesome shot at quite a good distance for a muzzle loader. He was the first one to come up on his animal, he wanted to be a part of packing it out and skinning it and he had built a fire that night and roasted his own tenderloin and ate it for dinner.”

Ryder said he was “ecstatic and happy” when he went on the hunt and got the elk.

When he gets older, Ryder said he wants to continue working outdoors, “maybe try to be a United States trapper and stuff. Or an outfitter.”

He said that for any kids that might be interested in the outdoors and hunting, “I would tell them to probably take Hunter Ed and get involved in it. Maybe ask their dad stuff and ask him about what it takes and stuff.”