Pair of young Colorado Springs girls shoot like veterans

By Angelo Stambene Updated: December 19, 2013 at 8:21 pm • Published: December 19, 2013 | 6:50 pm 0
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Katy Cooley and Isabella LaGrassa sit next to each other and whisper quickly back and forth, as one would expect from young girls.

Katy, 12, and Isabella, 13, have a secret, though. While their contemporaries at Eagleview Middle School are at shopping malls or watching "Twilight" for the hundredth time, Katy and Isabella are shooting guns and learning to track animals for hunts.

Katy is the grizzled veteran of the two because she has been hunting turkey for the past two years. Her 50 percent success rate is high enough to make any hunter envious.

Her father, Steve, taught himself to hunt in high school, but he says his long experience had nothing to do with Katy's interest.

"I didn't really decide to get her into hunting. It was her decision" he said. "It was something that she always wanted to do."

Shooting turkey is one thing, but to truly test herself Katy was going to pit herself against a deer, and Steve wasn't worried one bit. "I think her interest in hunting, that's her biggest strength. She takes an interest and that spills into her shooting skills and ability to look out there and see game."

Steve also knew that if Katy could see a deer, she would be able to fill her tag because "she's a pretty amazing shot."

With all the practice that Katy put in, she wasn't about to be denied.

"I got my first buck this year on GMU 581," Katy said, referring to the Game Management Unit, a parcel of land designated for hunting. She dropped the buck from 54 yards with her .300 Winchester Short Mag and harvested the meat of the buck for making jerky.

Katy has enjoyed a career that takes some hunters years to achieve and summed up hunting in the most direct way possible: "It's fun to go out and see things, and then get meat" she said. Katy added that she wants to hunt a bear one day because "I want to have a bear rug like my dad has."

Cooley's friend Isabella has hunting experience with which more hunters can identify. Isabella practices with her Remington 30.06 and is very proficient, but hunting takes some luck, and Isabella hasn't been lucky yet. "I went elk hunting in Gunnison ... on (a) Saturday morning, and we didn't see anything so we didn't take any shots" she said.

Not being able to take a shot won't deter Isabella from hunting again though. "It was really fun, because I got to hang out with my dad for the weekend. I feel like it's an escape from everywhere else because no one else can reach you out there."

Even at Isabella's young age, she knows that she wants to hunt "for the rest of my life. I think it's fun and different from what other girls have done. Not a lot of people can say they've done what hunters can do."

If Isabella had her druther, she would pursue a massive animal outside of Colorado. "I want to hunt moose, probably in Alaska. I just want to hunt in different places. I think it would be fun."

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