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Katie’s patience pays off after several years: Tom Shank's Woods and Waters

Posted 7/5/17

Having two older brothers that hunt along with her dad, Katie assumed she would hunt when the magical age of 12 came about. She took her hunter safety class and successfully completed it. She was …

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Katie’s patience pays off after several years: Tom Shank's Woods and Waters

Katie Mace shows off her deer she shot with a bow and arrow last October, after years of preparation.
Katie Mace shows off her deer she shot with a bow and arrow last October, after years of preparation.
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Having two older brothers that hunt along with her dad, Katie assumed she would hunt when the magical age of 12 came about. She took her hunter safety class and successfully completed it. She was officially a Pennsylvania hunter.

Katie had the credentials, but her physical abilities at her young age prevented her from pulling back her bow and arrow. The work and preparation began. She wanted to hunt exclusively with her bow and arrow, but couldn’t achieve the required poundage of her bow. The minimal requirement of 40 pounds was just outside her skill set.

Katie’s dad worked with her, and she practiced pulling back her bow. Small strives were achieved and finally after months of practice, she reached the goal of 40 pounds. Katie was given the green light to hunt for whitetails.

Katie’s first three years of hunting with her bow were fun and enjoyable being outdoors, but deer weren’t seen or they saw her in her stand, not offering a shot. Sitting with her dad in the tree stand created special times between father and daughter. She continued an extreme interest in hunting and was determined to be successful at it.

When Katie turned 15, things began to change. She became more independent and learned more about hunting and what it takes to be successful. Practicing with her bow and arrow was commonplace and she felt rather confident at 20 yards. She enjoyed the time in the woods and sacrificed extracurricular activities to sit in her tree stand on a Friday or Saturday night.

One evening in October 2016, as Katie was sitting in her tree stand with her father close by, she heard a noise below her. Deer were coming up toward a field. Her stand was at a perfect intercept. She pulled her bow back, anchored and left an arrow fly. A clean miss. Her chance was there and gone. Katie could have given up, but that wasn’t in her.

The very next evening, Katie was back in her stand by 3:30 p.m. The wait began in hopes of redemption. The clock ticked toward the magical last hour. Just as she unwrapped a candy bar and began to eat it, she heard something. Was it the candy paper making the noise? She went quiet and listened. The noise continued coming her way. It was two deer. The first one walked past her not offering a shot, but the second one did. Katie released her arrow and the deer immediately bolted from sight.

Katie’s dad examined the shot location and discovered blood. Katie made a hit and a blood trail began. They trailed her deer for a time until the blood trail became sparse. No need to push the deer into the darkness, so the next morning they commenced trailing.

It was a restless night for all, especially Katie. Finally the morning came. The moment Katie was waiting for since she was 12 years old was discovered only a short distance from her tree stand. The deer made a circle from the woods into a field and then back toward the stand. Katie had her first harvest with a bow and arrow. Her practice and determination paid off.

When I spoke to Katie about her experience hunting and her first deer her smile and enthusiasm struck me deeply. She and many like her are the future of our sport. Youngsters taking up gun, bow, and fishing rod will be the generation for the future of Woods & Waters.

Katie Mace is the daughter of Kevin and Karen Mace of northern Dauphin County. She will be a sophomore at Line Mountain High School.

Tom Shank has been writing Woods and Waters for the Press & Journal for nine years. His expertise has been gained through 50 years plus hunting, fishing, trapping and exploring the full gamut of nature. The Susquehanna River and his cabin in Lycoming County are his true loves. Woods and Waters is his playground in life, and to write about it for the Press & Journal is a dream come true.

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Pinkyblee

What a horrifying, disgusting story. What is wrong with this girl? She should be ashamed for what she did...that deer wandered around for 12 hours or more in pain, and she thought that was OK. What a sick sick sick person she is.

Wednesday, July 5