From deer to ducks, Katelynn Schmidt hunts them all.
A third grade teacher during the week at Destin Elementary School, Schmidt spends her time on the weekend in the woods or on the water hunting whitetail deer or ducks.
Schmidt got into hunting about five years ago when she started dating her now boyfriend Corey Hurst.
“It was something I had always wanted to do … and he said let’s do it,” Schmidt said.
On their third date, Hurst took her deer hunting up around Gaskin, north of DeFuniak Springs. And by date No. 4, she shot her first doe.
“It was pretty cool,” said the 28-year-old Schmidt.
The doe weighed about 100 pounds and she shot it with a rifle.
Since then she has progressed from a rifle to a bow. Last season, she harvested her first deer with a bow on the last day of the season.
“It was just a little buck,” she said. “But it was a big deal for my first bow kill.”
This year, Schmidt actually got a new bow, an Elite Impression, a new female model with a draw weight of 40 to 50 pounds.
“I’m probably pulling about 43 pounds right now. My goal is to get it cranked all the way to 50 pounds, that’s my ultimate goal,” Schmidt said.
And the sweet spot on a deer is right behind the shoulder blade.
“That’s where all the vitals are,” she said.
Although she loves to hunt for the white-tail deer, she also loves to duck hunt.
“We kind of back off in December on the white tail … that way we’re not putting a lot of pressure on them,” she said.
In December they primarily duck hunt, but come January it’s back to the woods for deer.
As for duck hunting, she said they hunt in the bay or in the sound in Fort Walton Beach.
“But I really love going to the river and going wood duck hunting … that’s probably my favorite right now,” she said.
For duck hunting she uses a 12 gauge semi-automatic.
“It looks funny because it has a youth stock on it … so I can better shoulder my gun. It works so much better,” she said.
Her boyfriend got her the gun for her birthday last year.
Schmidt doesn’t shy away from cleaning up the kill.
“I’ll help with the pulling the feathers back … he’ll cut the breast out,” she said.
And the two of them eat everything they harvest. They have a grinder and process their own deer meat.
“By processing it ourselves, there’s no middle man. I love knowing where my food comes from,” she said.
In addition to loving the whole knowing where their food comes from, she loves the camaraderie of the hunting scene.
“The best part is like when you are with all your good buddies at the hunting camp and you make a harvest and everyone is just so excited and happy for you,” she said.
Plus there are the cookouts and celebrations that follow a harvest.
“My favorite part is all the stuff that goes with (hunting),” Schmidt said.
Not only does she get to share it with her buddies but with her students.
“Sometimes it’s the only way you can connect to some kids,” she said.
She explained that sometimes she has children that are “all boys, through and through” and she tells them she hunts and fishes.
“They are like, 'cool … she does something I do,'” she said. “It’s just another way to connect to them.”
So far, Schmidt has only dabbled in deer and duck hunting. Turkey is a possibility. However, she said cobia fishing interferes with that.