Hooksett teen, 17, is a crack shot and avid hunter
HOOKSETT — Seventeen-year-old Karissa Clement will not sleep in this Saturday morning. She will not put on any makeup or perfume and won't try to figure out where her girlfriends plan to be.
She will rise about 4:30 a.m. She will shower with scentless shampoo and soap. She will don camouflage, douse herself with deer urine and, in the chilly dark of the early morning, climb onto her 15-foot-high tree stand for her first morning of the muzzleloader deer hunting season, which began last Saturday.
"I like the thrill of the hunt," the Bow High School senior said. "I enjoy the process."
Clement, who has applied to the University of Maine, Orono, to study biomedical engineering, understands she is a bit of an anomaly.
"None of my girlfriends hunt," she said. "Nope. Not one."
She said her interest in the outdoors, shooting and hunting was inspired by her parents, Dale and Jeannie. Dale is an avid hunter — to the point where he reloads his own ammunition. She said hunting for the Clement family is about nature, not killing. It's about being able to provide the family's own meat so supermarket meat can be avoided. And it's about always respecting your surroundings and the firearm in your hands.
"He teaches us to be extremely safe and ethical," the teen said. "There's really no messing around."
Dale said he introduced — but didn't push — the sport on Karissa and her younger sister, Charlotte.
"I just asked her if this was something she wants to learn," he said.
She did, and took her first hunting trip with her father when she was 12. During that trip, on her first shot, she took an antelope from 312 yards using a .243-caliber rifle, he said.
"I was elated," he said. "It was probably one of the proudest moments of my life, seeing a 12-year-old girl handle a rifle better than most men. It was a great moment."
Karissa said she's been hooked since then.
And Charlotte seems to be on an identical track. At 12, also on her first hunt in Wyoming earlier this year, Charlotte harvested an antelope from 190 yards, "using the same gun," Dale said.
"Oh, I brag" about the girls, he said. "But it all comes from proper training."
Jeannie Clement, while not a hunter, said she enjoys target shooting. She said she's proud that her daughters want to join their father in the outdoor activity that she calls "their special father-daughter thing."
"I want them not to be afraid to do something just because other girls aren't doing it," she said. "I want them to be strong, independent women, and this is one way they can do that."
Karissa said she has upgraded to a .308-caliber rifle. And while she enjoys using a muzzleloader, she prefers her rifle.
"I feel like I have a better connection with rifles," she said.
Hunting isn't her only passion. She also plays soccer, is fascinated by the prospect of studying biomedical engineering and does enjoy the "usual" girl stuff, she said.
"She's very well-rounded," Jeannie Clement said of her daughter.
And Karissa said she enjoys the prestige of being a 17-year-old female crack shot.
"No, I don't feel like a loner at all," she said. "Besides, being a woman hunter, you tend to get a little more attention than a man because it's not as normal, I would say."