The 3rd Annual Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt is in the books, as a roaring success. I had the honor of attending this hunt, where 40 women set afield with guides, mentors and a tremendous support team back at the Ranch at Ucross, near Clearmont, Wy., to hunt pronghorn antelope. For some, it would be their first time behind a gun and aimed at game.
The Wyoming Women’s Foundation grants funding to Wyoming organizations that help women and girls attain economic self-sufficiency and supports system change to eliminate barriers.
From start to finish, we could not have been in better hands. Kate Smith, Sarah Kinsella, Rebekah Smith and the women who serve on the committee and hence, volunteer, for the event, had thought of everything — down to the Crazy Woman water on ice. And the setting? Couldn’t have been more perfect. The weather even cooperated, offering up warm temperatures with little wind.
The Wyoming Game & Fish Department arrived to mentor and guide at the sight-in event, held before the hunt. Tristiana Bickford, Hunter Education Coordinator for the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, even hunted with a team. Remington Arms donated 8 bolt-action rifles, in model 783, to use as loaners. British Petroleum stepped into the role of title sponsor, helped by The Warren Ranch, Merlin Ranch, Smith & Wesson, Sinclair, EKO Flood System, Jimm Nelson, RMEF, Rusty’s Taxidermy, Wy. Game & Fish Department, Outlaw Inn, Cynthia Chace Gray, Wyoming Business Report, Sheridan Media, Cloud Peak Energy, L&H Industrial, Modern Electric Col, RLG Internation, Big Horn Beverage, Groathouse Construction Inc. Several area businesses and national outdoor-related businesses donated valuable auction items, which benefit the Foudation.
The main benefits, though, could not be added up on a machine or piece of paper. Women found new friends, mentors and learned about the tradition of hunting. For those of us who already hunt, it’s always like the first time all over again, to see and hear the stories and witness a new hunter’s joy as she realizes she can now connect to nature, fill her freezer with healthy meat and share a story about her experience of bringing that meat to the table with guests and family.
Because a photo tells the true story, please enjoy this gallery that will take you behind the scenes at the Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt. It was so much more than tagging out.
You may see the official photos at the Foundation’s Facebook page.
Ranch at Ucross hosted the 3rd Annual Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt, and it served as the perfect setting for everything.
The ranch hosted the event and even provided a party tent!
Kate Smith, Event Coordinator at the Wyoming Women’s foundation, digs down deep to display the beads that will be worn at the event. Beads represent things from new hunters, to alumni, to Annie Oakley recipients.
Cool centerpieces graced the tables in the party tent.
The committee worked to put together an eclectic and interesting auction.
Micah Richardson, of the Wyoming Foundation, checks out the legs for the display.
Rebekah Smith, Program Coordinator Wyoming Women’s Foundation, assigns a Remington 783 loaner rifle to new hunter Katie Carroll. Katie and her mom, Cheryl Long, attended the hunt together as a girls’ weekend out.
Here’s another delish hot breakfast, courtesy of Ranch at Ucross, to sustain the hunters during their treks.
Check the name of the water company.
Catilin Youngquist sights in a vintage Remington 700, that her husband used as a boy on deer hunts, passed on from his uncle. She said she chose it because she felt it has good ju-ju. Obviously, it did as she tagged out the first day.
Danielle Sanville, brand manager for Thompson Center Arms, sights in her Venture rifle in prone position, at 100 and 200 yards.
And … here’s Katie Carroll sighting in the Remington gun, that brought her a first-ever tagged antelope on her first-ever hunt. Chambered in .243 WIN, this gun is designed for the new hunter. Affordable and accurate. Troy Tobiason, from the Game & Fish Dept., walks her through how to sight it in.
Hilary Stern practiced at the air gun station.
The Big Horn Mountain range.
Guide Eric on the hunt, with a Remington-type setting, reminiscent of old West artwork, in the background.
In Wyoming, it’s a regulation that you must wear one piece of orange clothing to hunt with a rifle.
Mira glasses, looking for a pronghorn to appear.
The letzebissen, or last bite, which is practiced as a sign of respect, with a sprig of vegetation placed carefully into the animal’s mouth. My newfound friend, Kathryn, showed us this lovely tradition, and my little “Mini-Me” guide, Cade, watched.
Time to check in.
My little buddy. He took off his orange jacket, and helped all he could — with loading up the ‘lope for the trip back to the ranch. Meet Cade Rodriguez, a mini-me guide for his dad, Jason.
Here’s Mike (ranch owner/guide), Mary, Mira and Eric (ranch owner/guide) after an 11-hour hunt.
In the bush and sage.
Mary, an accomplished hunter from Jackson, Wy., on the stalk.
Mary loads her rifle for the upcoming stalk.
Home on the Rodriguez Ranch range. “Bat Girl” gave us a big-eyed stare as we drove by on our way to another site.
Kathryn Paxton Boswell hadn’t shot a rifle for 20 years. A volunteer for the event, Kathryn stepped in to fill a slot left empty at the last minute, when a hunter couldn’t attend. She was my partner, and she took an ethical and sound shot at 191 yards. She enjoyed antelope salad upon her return home.
Paperwork finished! Tagged out!
I got a buck, but I also found this great antler, a hybrid — cross between a Muley and a Whitetail.
Ashlee Lundvall, Miss Wheelchair America 2013, from Wyoming, worked as the official checker-inner of the antelopes for processing purposes.
The crew of SKULL BOUND TV treated new hunter Hilary Stern (scholarship winner) to a wonderful day of hunting, where Hilary and the host of the show, Jana Waller, each took fine bucks.
Janna Waller and Kathryn Boswell check out the pronghorn with missing prongs.
Mother/daughter team Katie Carroll and Cheryl Johnson, from California, tagged out on the first day.
Women cheered for hunters upon return to camp, where they decided on options for taxidermy and meat processing, and participated in photo shoots!
Here’s Hilary Stern, reader of The WON, who saw the announcement for scholarship applications to this hunt in the summer of 2016. She WON!
Jana Waller, host of SKULL BOUND TV, and her fighter. He was missing his front prongs, probably due to fighting with other males.
Caitlin Youngquist, who won a scholarship, tagged a nice ‘lope and processed it herself, with the help of the camp guide.
The crew and winners of the Annie Oakley (1-shot) award! I’m wearing the orange shirt, and couldn’t be prouder than to be in with this group of fine women hunters.
Thompson Center Arms’ Brand Manager, Danielle Sanville, and I got our Annie Oakley Awards, and boy, we were proud of that in true Wyoming hunting spirit: 1 shot, 1 kill.
The awards’ night frenzy with women receiving awards for accomplishments while hunting,.
The Merlin Ranch team won the Founders’ Cup. This award goes to the team with the closets average shot distance and all team members must harvest.
Lauren Bell, a new hunter, discovered she’s genetically wired to hunt and plans on learning more about the tradition and enriching her life.
Here’s Nicole James with her hunting partner. Nicole (left) hails from Mississippi and found out about the hunt at The WON!
A gift for all hunters from the Wyoming Women’s Foundation. Lovely.
Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com.
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