Nelson’s Katherine Butt has shot to the top of her sport in just four years. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Young sharpshooter on target


Katherine Butt fell in love with shooting from the very first time she pulled the trigger.

After insisting her dad take her to the local range, some older college boys handed her a rifle with a healthy dose of condescension.

Their smirks soon turned to astonishment, however, as 13- year old Katherine hit a number of bullseyes – scoring 72 out of a possible 110.

As she left the range, Katherine excitedly asked her father if they could come back the next night, only to learn it was closed until next week.

“It was a long wait.”

Just four years later, Katherine has been selected in the New Zealand junior development squad.

The Nelson College for Girls student and .22 target rifle are now a constant fixture at the Richmond Range.

Katherine generally competes in a 10-shot bout with a bullseye worth 10.1 points, her personal best being 108.

The world of competitive shooting can be tense experience, but Katherine keeps herself calm by listening to a song that’s stuck in her head or thinking about what school projects are due.

Her routine: taking three slow, deep breaths, before firing.

“I just try not to overthink it.”

Katherine’s shooting career began after a serious knee injury forced her to stop playing football.

Needing a hobby to fuel her competitive fire, she says she decided she would put her efforts into shooting and hasn’t looked back.

She recently shot in the annual Andrew Faulkner Shield, the most prestigious trophy of the season for South Island smallbore shooters, as well as the annual North vs South Island grudge match.

Despite the South Island side going down, Katherine’s abilities were recognised and she was asked to join the New Zealand juniors.

The 17-year-old says she carries the lessons learnt from the likes of local shooting stalwart Graeme Vallance.

Katherine will tell herself: “Don’t let the emotions get the better of you, one shot doesn’t make it or break it.”

Katherine says her parents are incredibly supportive of her passion and have become accustomed to having her arsenal in the home.

“I don’t sleep with them under my pillow,” she jokes.