Have bow will hunt


By Katrina Goforth - kgoforth@civitasmedia.com



Ryan and Kaydence Decker sit in a tree on a cool evening waiting to see a buck come sauntering by.


Courtesy photo

For one Jackson County girl, October means bow season and that brings cool evenings spent spotting deer with her dad, wearing camouflage everything, neon orange and a family tradition.

Kaydence Decker is a seventh-grade student at Navajo Public School. She’s on the basketball team, the softball team and a Technology Student Association (TSA) member. As basketball and softball have their seasons, so does Kaydence’s favorite outdoor sport — deer hunting.

The fall deer and turkey archery seasons began in Oklahoma Oct. 1 and will run through Jan. 15, 2018, according to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, and Kaydence plans to be out every weekend of the season.

She began hunting at about age 3, helping her dad set up his stand and trying to pull back the tension bowstring. Though her little arms couldn’t quite handle the tension set for her father, her aspirations were strong.

Her father, Ryan Decker, helped her learn how to hunt, track and clean the deer, to respect their lives, to hunt in a way that is beneficial to the herd and to hunt for meat instead of sport.

Tuesday was her first solo hunt, and according to her mother, Cynthia, she handled it like a pro.

“She saw a coyote, waited until it passed and wasn’t afraid at all — that was me,” Cynthia said. “Her father and I weren’t ready for her to go alone last year, but this year we saw that she had matured enough to handle anything that comes her way.”

Kaydence and her dad are up by at least 5 a.m. on the weekends to get in a good morning of hunting. On weekdays, if it isn’t raining or there aren’t other activities that require Kaydence’s attention, they spend an evening together looking out for doe and bucks on a friend’s land.

“I stayed at a friend’s house one weekend instead of going with dad,” Kaydence said. “So he went alone. He saw two deer without me, so I won’t be missing another weekend.”

She’s looking for a specific buck with strange antlers she’s affectionately named Elliot after the goofy deer in the movie Open Season.

“I’ve seen opossums, bobcats, skunks, squirrels and coyotes while hunting,” Kaydence said. “It’s cool to see all the wildlife.”

Kaydence’s favorite part of hunting is watching out for the deer, knowing they are there and anticipating getting one home. She uses broadhead arrows because she knows how important it is to get a quick kill.

“The hardest part is tracking them,” Kaydence said. “And when you don’t find it, even though you’ve looked for hours, that’s the worst part.”

This year, she hopes to hunt turkey and learn to use a gun for youth deer gun season. She’s hunted dove, turkey and deer, and wants to hunt elk in Alaska one day.

For Kaydence, hunting is a given — a lifelong passion.

Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.

Ryan and Kaydence Decker sit in a tree on a cool evening waiting to see a buck come sauntering by.
http://www.altustimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/web1_Decker.jpegRyan and Kaydence Decker sit in a tree on a cool evening waiting to see a buck come sauntering by. Courtesy photo

By Katrina Goforth

kgoforth@civitasmedia.com

Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.

Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.

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