Thanks to our guest author, Audrey, 1 of 4 teen girls selected to attend the 3rd annual The Sisterhood of the Outdoors’ youth antelope hunt. We think you’ll be impressed by her tale and her takeaways from her first antelope hunt. ~BB
My hunt started in December of 2018 when one of my friends nominated me for a youth antelope hunt with The Sisterhood of the Outdoors. I was very honored that I was nominated because the purpose of this hunt was to represent the future of women in the outdoors.
I wrote an essay and explained what hunting meant to me, how I got started in hunting, and what I wanted to be when I was older. I submitted the story, and thought to myself, “What are the chances that someone from little Grantville, Pennsylvania, will get selected?” Even though I knew the chances were slim, I asked my dad every week if he had heard anything. Four months went by and I was starting to lose hope. Finally, I got the call and I was heading to Wyoming!
I knew 3 other girls were going but I never met them; I didn’t know what to expect, I just knew we all had the same interest. I’m from Pennsylvania so I’m used to climbing a tree stand deep in the woods and waiting for a whitetail to come crunching through the woods in the cold air. I had never hunted in the West, so I was very excited to experience hunting in another part of the country.
Finally, we made it to Wright, Wyoming, and the hunt was about to start. The first thing I saw when we were driving into Wright was a herd of antelope – my excitement level went through the roof! This was the first time I had saw a pronghorn in person and I thought they were beautiful. I was just ready to get out there and start hunting.
That evening we got to meet Amy Ray, President of The Sisterhood of the Outdoors; Shantane, owner of Crazy Horn Outfitters BG189; Kinlee, who is a guide with Table Mountain Outfitters; and Courtney, Brittany, and Ashlee – all members of The Sisterhood of the Outdoors. They were there as mentors and to help guide us on our hunt. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was with some of the best women in the outdoor business. I also met the other 3 youth girls who would be hunting with me: Lily, Dakota, and Savannih. We spent the rest of the first evening talking about gun safety and Ashlee gave an inspiring speech._ _Ashlee is an amazing person. She taught me not to “settle,” and that I can do anything I set my mind to and pushing myself to get where I want to be. We got a copy of Ashlee’s book called A Redefined Life :Lessons from a Pitchfork. I highly recommend reading this book. Shantane gave us a plan for our hunt on Friday and we all headed back to our hotel for the night.
After a sleepless night full of anticipation, we all loaded up in the truck and headed out to stalk some pronghorn. Not long into the hunt we spotted some pronghorn and began to put on a short stalk. We selected a buck out of the herd and set up on him. My time was finally here, months of preparation and anticipation started to catch up to me. I couldn’t stop shaking! As I settled my sights on the bedded buck and waited for doe to clear from behind him, I tried to control my shaking and remember my shooting fundamentals. I took a deep breath and slowly began to pull the trigger. Boom! The shot rang out. Much to my disbelief, the pronghorn ran away. I watched him walk over the hill and Kinlee told me I had a clean miss which made me feel better. I thought that was it, all the time I put in practicing and I missed, I blew it! We spent the rest of the day spotting pronghorn and the other girls performed quite a few stalks but had no luck. Just about an hour before dark, when I thought we were out of luck for the day, Shantane took me, Dakota, Haley (Dakota’s mom), Courtney and Glen out to a field right as the sun was starting to set. There was a buck grazing all alone in front of a hill.
Shantane said, “Audrey, it’s your turn.” I couldn’t believe it; I was getting another chance today. We jumped out of the truck and began our stalk. Glen told me the buck was at 195 yards. I settled the Camilla Weatherby .308 into the shooting sticks, found the buck in my scope and watched the buck turn sideways. Boom! I took my shot, he dropped in his tracks.
“You have shot your first pronghorn,” said Shantane, as I began to cry. I was so excited! Dakota was patting me on the back, tell me, “Good job!” He was a beautiful pronghorn with a long mane and the black on his forehead came down as little points almost touching his eyes. In no time, my dad, grandparents and Ashlee arrived; they had been watching from a distance and we took lots of pictures. We field dressed him and Dakota helped me to put him into the back of the truck.
We got word that there was some pronghorn in a nearby field, so we drove to that location, racing against the sun. It was Dakota’s turn, so we all waited and watched as Glen, Amy and Dakota set up. A few minutes later we heard a “boom” and Dakota dropped her pronghorn right in his tracks, too. I was so proud of her. We all ran over and told her what a great job she did – tears of joy all around again. We were so grateful to get ours on the first day because they were expecting colder temperatures and snow for the next 2 days. By the end of the first day, we all shared a bond that I hope will last a lifetime.
On day 2 we all went out together as we watched Savannih get her pronghorn. We were so excited for her and hoping that Lily would have luck on day 3. As the third morning came around, Dakota had to leave. We said goodbye to her at a little store and had one last coffee break together before heading out into a very cold, snowy blustery day. In the afternoon, as Lily and I were sitting on the truck bed eating lunch, I looked over and saw a doe and buck and didn’t even have time to say anything before Lily was in action. After several minutes go by, we got the word that Lily got him. We all jumped up and down with excitement. How great it was that all 4 of us had gotten a pronghorn buck. Shantane was so amazing – she not only is an amazing guide, but also she works so hard at making sure everybody had a safe, successful hunt.
That was one of the best hunts I’ve ever experienced … not just because we all got a pronghorn, but because of the experience of hunting in the West and making friendships I hope will last a lifetime.
Thank you to Weatherby for providing our Camilla .308 rifles. I fell in love with the gun (I put one on my Christmas list) and thank you to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for sponsoring the hunt. Thank you to Amy Ray and The Sisterhood of the Outdoors, for choosing me for such a life changing event. Finally, thank you to Courtney, Brittany, Ashlee and Kinlee for taking the time to mentor us girls. I learned something important from every one of you.
Most of all, I have learned hunting is more than the hunt, it’s about the friendships that are made and the bond of the sisterhood. I admire what all of you had done and promise that as I get older, I will give my time and knowledge to young girls to keep the outdoor traditions strong.
Find more information on the Sisterhood of the Outdoors here.