Few archers can count a state target championship and trophy buck as lifetime accomplishments.
Seventh-grader Katie Dody did both within a few weeks, and sandwiched a milestone birthday in between.
“I liked getting the deer (Oct. 11) the best. It was really exciting,” said Katie, who turned 13 on Oct. 9.
Katie said she’s been an avid archer and hunter for about half of her young life.
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“I remember watching my dad shooting a bow when I was about 6 or 7 and thinking, ‘Hey, I want to do that,’ ” Katie said.
Brad Dody, her father, said he’s created archery ranges at his home and business so they could shoot together.
She’s a member of Wichita’s Junior Olympic Archery Development program, which teaches target archery skills. Katie placed second at a local shoot in late summer, then scored the gold medal at the state JOAD championship in Topeka.
Yet her following bowhunt was much more anticipated.
Katie vividly recalls when she would tag along on her dad’s bowhunts when she was about 6.
“We’d get up in a two-man stand, and I remember getting to watch all the deer walking around under us,” she said.
This was her third season to try get a deer with a bow, an accomplishment that held some unique challenges.
Brad Dody didn’t want her to have a bad experience by becoming too cold or too bored, so they went sparingly. Deer also had to be close because of her low-poundage bow. Getting the deer close was especially difficult.
According to her father, Katie was born with a severe hearing disability. The teen is fitted with three hearing aids, including an implant. Katie struggles to hear soft sounds.
“For two years we hunted out of a ground blind, but Katie would fidget and make little noises she couldn’t hear but the deer were hearing it,” said Dody. “They weren’t really spooking, but they knew something was up and just wouldn’t come close enough.”
A summer growth spurt gave Katie enough strength to draw a bow with 42 pounds of pull, which gave her dad confidence they didn’t have to be quite as close to the deer. This year they took their hunting to new heights — literally.
Dody placed two treestands near a feeder that a trail camera showed was being used by two bucks. Katie had the green light on either the tall nine-pointer or the non-typical-looking buck that was his running mate. Hours spent shooting at a 3-D deer target from a raised storage area at her dad’s business had her ready to go.
She said the treestand helped her cure one problem.
“Treestands are a lot smaller, so I can’t really move around as much and make noise,” she said.
Katie was the first to see deer coming the mid-week evening they hunted during her fall break.
“I saw a dark spot in the field and thought, ‘there’s a deer,’ when he lifted his head and I saw antlers, I thought, ‘and it’s a buck,’ ” Katie recalled.
The buck eventually closed the distance and offered a good opportunity.
She made the 18-yard shot. Dody recognized the buck as the non-typical from the trail camera photos. The buck didn’t go far, and carried 14 scorable points on a rack that grossed about 148 inches of antler.
The buck is at a meat processer and Katie’s already picked the spot in her room where the mounted buck will hang when it’s back from a taxidermist. She’s leaving room for the two wild turkeys she’s planning on shooting next spring.
“I’d hate to think how much I’ve spent buying her arrows and other things for archery,” her father said. “That’s OK; it’s been a lot of fun.”