To her family and others, 94-year-old Dorothea Praytor is one of the strongest people they know.
Praytor, a Weatherford resident, proved just that when she shot a 10-point deer last month. Despite her age, Praytor continues to be active outdoors.
When she was in her late 20s and early 30s, Praytor recalled hunting and fishing with her husband. She said they would spend all weekend fishing in the Brazos River.
Praytor said she likes to fish and hunt because it allows her to observe nature.
“When you’re out on the water or you’re out sitting, waiting for a deer to come along, you just think of all these things that God built, all this for us to enjoy,” Praytor said. “You just feel relaxed. If you’ve got any troubles, you can just kind of put them back.”
Praytor’s daughter Kathy O’Neal said the family tries to take Praytor fishing and hunting every year.
“It means some of us have to go with her,” O’Neal said. “That’s pretty cool because you get to spend time with your mom and enjoy the things that she likes to do, and see the look and the expressions and the enjoyment on her face, which is pretty cool.”
One of Praytor’s sons, grandson and great-grandson accompanied her to Electra, Texas, which is northwest of Wichita Falls, during their latest hunting trip. Praytor said the weather was cold, windy and raining, and during the trip, she was suffering from a hurt back and knee.
After two days, Praytor said she was about to give up, but then was able to come home with a deer.
“It was worth every bit of it,” Praytor said.
Hunting Guide and Outfitter JimmyLee Caldwell assisted Praytor on her hunt. Caldwell said he has “absolutely never” guided a 94-year-old lady before.
“Age is just a number,” Caldwell said. “I really feel like Ol’ Mamaw, she don’t know what the word ‘can’t’ means.”
Caldwell said it was a proud moment to help Praytor catch the deer while her family was with her. Despite the inclement weather, Caldwell said she never complained.
“There’s grown men who I would have taken up there, and they would have wanted to go back to camp,” Caldwell said. “In that situation, that weekend, there was nothing easy about it, and I’m not kidding you, [she] never complained one time. She’s an exceptional lady.”
Praytor has recovered from cancer and more than one falling accident and has persevered through it all, O’Neal said.
“She is the strongest woman I know, [or] person really,” O’Neal said. “The doctors tell her, ‘you can’t do that.’ Well, she proves them wrong every time. They’re amazed at her willpower that she’s got.”