First Time Antelope Hunt – Our Wyoming

First Time Antelope Hunt – Our Wyoming


– [Announcer] Your
support helps us bring you programs you love. Go to wyomingpbs.org,
click on support, and become a sustaining
member or an annual member. It’s easy and secure. Thank you. – [Narrator] The Wyoming
Women’s Antelope Hunt was founded in 2013 by the
Wyoming Women’s Foundation as an opportunity for mentoring and developing
camaraderie between women. (light music) Producer Margaret
Benson travels to Ucross and learns about
the hunt that honors our state’s cultural roots. (light music) Next on Wyoming Chronicle. (dramatic music) – [Announcer] Funding
for Wyoming Chronicle is provided in part by the
Dragicevich Foundation, supporting the work
of the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum. (light music) – I love the
challenge of hunting. That’s about matching skills, matching wits and
challenging an animal. And if you’re in a
chase environment and trying to succeed. I’ve been hunting
for about five years. Since then, I’ve not hunted
with a whole lot of ladies. It definitely is
male-dominated industry, but I think women are the
fastest growing demographic in hunting, and it’s wonderful. So I think what the Wyoming
Women’s Foundation is doing, there’s nothing else that exists in the country that’s
like this hunt. – Our mission at the
Wyoming Women’s Foundation is to invest in economic
self-sufficiency for women and opportunities for girls. And what that means
is really to make sure that Wyoming is a place
where women in families can thrive and be successful. We do that through
a variety of ways but primarily
through grant-making to different programs
throughout the sea, also through being the host of the annual Wyoming
Women’s Antelope Hunt. – The Wyoming
Women’s Antelope Hunt has become a big event for us. It is no question our biggest
fundraiser of the year. It also is the
biggest outreach event that we have each year. It’s really a way for us
to connect with people in different parts of the sea and bring them into
not only the mission of the Women’s Foundation, but also to an event
that really helps cultivate and grow a Wyoming
tradition of hunting. – The Wyoming Women’s Antelope
Hunt is something that women in Wyoming
can be proud of. It’s the only big game
hunt just for women, and it’s something that is
unique across the country. – It’s always been
at the Ucross. There’s just a tremendous
amount of game up there. A lot of draws and
creek bottoms and hills and lots of lush field
for those animals. Of course the whole time, you can look over
at the big horns, so it’s pretty
spectacular scenery. – How fun is it to
have 40 women gather, some new hunters, some
old, all to celebrate sustainability and
empowerment through the hunt? There’s shotgun shooting. If you’ve already take
that, there’s fly fishing. You can learn how to
process your own game. There’s cooking classes. I mean, they’ve really
thought of the entire process, from the field to the plate and it’ll be one of my
favorite weekends of all time. – Welcome to Wyoming Chronicle. My name is Margaret Benson, and I’m the host for
your program today. Let me introduce my guests
that I have on The Ranch today. And my first guest
is Marilyn Kite. And Marilyn is the co-founder of the Wyoming
Women’s Antelope Hunt. Thank you for being
here, Marilyn. My second guest
is Sarah Chapman. And Sarah is the
executive director of the Wyoming
Women’s Foundation. Thank you for joining us, Sarah. Then we have Havely. And Havely is a
novice or a beginner or a first timer with the hunt, and we’re really excited to hear what your experiences
have been as well. – Well, my name is Marilyn Kite. I was born and raised
Laramie, Wyoming. And went to law school at
the University of Wyoming, undergraduate in law school and practiced law
for about 20 years. And then last 15
years of my career, I was serving on the judiciary
on the Wyoming Supreme Court. – Thank you for your
service, by the way. – Thank you. – Yes, you did splendid. – That was a real privilege. And then I lived in Jackson,
Wyoming for 27 years or so and we just recently
moved back to Laramie. I have my husband
and I move back. We have one son who is
in Colorado right now, so we’re closer to family. I still have family in Laramie. And I got involved with
hunting long time ago when my dad took us all out. He had from the
time he was a child. He was raised Hanna, and hunting that
general vicinity. So hunting has always
been kind of a part of our culture and our family. I love the wild meat
when we can get it. – And you had many
things besides antelope. – Well yes, I have
over the years an elk deer and moose ones. But it’s just the ability to
be out and enjoy yourselves and at the same time,
come home with meat that you enjoy and can
share with your family. So I’m sort of a Wyoming
born and bred (laughs). – Yes, yes, you are. – Don’t seem to go very far. – That’s alright.
But where you are, you made a big impact, Marilyn. We appreciate that very much. – Very fortunate. – Sarah, how about you? Give us some background
about you for our audience. – Absolutely. – I’m Sarah Chapman, and my
husband and I live in Laramie, and we’re both Wyoming alumni. I’m from Cheyenne originally, went to school at UW
and then I have spent some time in a variety
of different roles. But my background
really is in fundraising at the collegiate levels, formally at Wyoming’s
Cowboy Joe Club, which was a fun time.
– Oh, that was fun. – It was a wonderful time
as an alumni to be there. It’s really, really
special time in my life. That’s where I met my husband, and then, I had the
opportunity to join the staff at the Wyoming
Community Foundation as the director of the
Women’s Foundation. And I’ve been there
for about three years. And that has really been a
transformative experience for me personally, and the
work that we do for women throughout the state of Wyoming and helping them attain
economic self-sufficiency, and then providing
opportunities for girls to have a bright future. So that’s been really special
and meaningful for me. And also, to participate
in and host this event. It’s just such a treat
for me personally, but also for our organization
to be involved at this. – My name is Havely Holt,
and I was raised in Gillette. I went to Udub and majored
in International Economics. I went on to get a
teaching certificate and I teach fourth grade now. This is my 14th
year in teaching. And I have three kids. – Excellent. Excellent. – Sarah, what is the background of the creation of Wyoming
Women’s Foundation? – Absolutely, the Wyoming
Women’s Foundation has been around since 1999. And it started because
of a challenge grant from a woman named
Merle Chambers and her family, the
Chambers Family Fund. They really wanted to
create a permanent resource in Wyoming for women and girls. And so they approached the
Wyoming Community Foundation with this idea, and the
Community Foundation of course was thrilled
with the opportunity to provide such an
impactful piece of the work that they already were doing. And they started
this fund and set up a million dollar endowment,
which we have to this day, and we grant funds
from that program. I’m sorry, we grant
funds from that endowment to programs across
the state of Wyoming. And the purpose is to invest
in economic self-sufficiency for women and girls. And we’ve done that
through a variety of ways. But recently, we’ve been working around Wyoming’s
gender wage gap, around economic
self-sufficiency, so we’ve just release Wyoming’s
self-sufficiency standard. It’s a lengthy report,
but shows per county what families need
to make ends meet. And so we’ve done
some research there, and then recently,
we have partnered with the Wyoming
Women’s Business Center to further individual
development account program that they have, which
helps women secure funds for starting up business,
continuing education, or purchasing a home. So three avenues that
really helps secure a family’s financial stability. – Oh, that’s fantastic. And in this state, there’s
so much need for that, especially the gender gap. So it’s good to hear
that you’re part of that and doing so much in this state, for the women in this state. Very much appreciated. Marilyn, so tell me the
concepts behind the development or the creation of the
Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt. – Well, it started out as kind
of just a dream and an idea. My sister-in-law and I have
hunted together over the years. And we were out in our hunting
camp area in the red desert, and had to having
just shot an antelope, and I think it was her
that came up with the idea that it’d be great to
have a women’s hunt. And then I thought about it. We all talked about it. I have a good friend,
Lynne Boomgaarden, who was starting the hunt. – She’s delightful. – She is an executive, so she
gets things done (laughs). I don’t think this
would have happened without her leadership. But she learned that these
hunts can be fundraisers for good causes,
and so obviously, we couldn’t do an event of
this size just ourselves. And when we were able to partner with the Women’s Foundation,
it could become a reality. But the idea really was there are lot of
women who don’t… never have been had the
opportunity to hunt. There’s a lot that want to hunt but don’t have the resources
or the family support that is involved in this sport. And it is a little intimidating, as to how do I go about
getting in to this sport? And so it was both the idea that we would have
fun together as women, just a camaraderie of
hunting with other women. But then encourage women who hadn’t enjoyed
the sport to learn it. So that was the general concept. It’s been a wonderful,
I don’t know, surprise is the right word, but how impactful this
has been on women. In some cases, they
claim that it’s kind of a life-changing event for them. It give them a sense
of accomplishment and self-esteem and
self-sufficiency. And it’s become kind of
an emotional experience. – Yes, I can see that in your
eyes when you talk about it. – Well, when you see these
women, it’s inspiring. It really is, and it’s
our fifth year this year. It just shows we
have staying power, and we have 44 women
hunting every year. Some return hunters, but
mostly new hunters every year. – So there’re 44
women participate? – Total hunters. Right. – And are you always at Ucross or do you go some other places? – We have been. It’s a wonderful
location for us. The ranchers around here
have been so generous and we hunt mainly
on private ranches, although there is some
public land involved. And then we try to have a mix of experienced hunters
and first timers, as well as a scholarship
program for women that can’t afford to
come on their own. So it’s been
wonderfully successful. We’re excited about the future, but we have a lot of work to do to make it
sustainable over time. – And it’s my understanding
it’s just not women from Wyoming that participate. They come from other
places as well? – They do. Sarah would
know the statistics more, but every year, we have people
that always surprises me. From New England,
from California. I think we have some Missouri. – [Sarah] Missouri, Texas,
Mississippi, Florida. We have had folks
from all over the U.S. – And the people who come
that are not from Wyoming, they must be totally
into the sport of antelope hunting,
is that correct? – Well… – Yes, or just totally into
the idea of this experience. And so we do have some
first time hunters that come from other places and are just immersed
in this experience, which is really wonderful. And I think also life
changing for them. – And to do it with other women, that’s a really
special opportunity and empowering, I would say. – Well, in basically
non-competitive, it’s a little bit
less competitive than, and I’m speaking from
my personal experience of hunting with
family and friends, than it tends to be when
the men are involved. At the same time, there
is some competition, that friendly competition. The pairing of
experienced hunters with inexperienced
hunters is the real goal. – So that’s the concept that
really is what makes it unique. Excellent. Excellent. So Havely, why did
you decide to come to the hunt for the first time? – Well, fly fishing
is my passion, and sometimes, it’s hard
to make those connections with other women in such
a male-dominated industry. And so, when I heard
that there was a hunt just for women, I jumped
on that opportunity to make those connections
and network with other women who might have some
similar interests as I do. And when my friend Julian
called to deliver the news that I was able to
go on scholarship, I was just over
the moon excited, and still had six months
to wait for the hunt. (laughter) It’s been a long six months. – So you’ve been
visualizing it in your mind. – Yes.
– Trying on your camou. – All the time. – Yeah, excellent.
That’s excellent, yeah. So Sarah, what are your
favorite highlights or activities or events that
are surrounded by the hunt? – Absolutely. Well,
I loved certainly that we’re able to offer
this opportunity for women to have this experience. But what I also love
is here on the Ranch, we’re able to offer
some other activities that they may not have
been exposed to before. And so, Havely mentioned
one of them – fly fishing. We had fly fishing this
morning, which was lovely. We have trap and
skeet shooting here. We also have the
opportunity for women to learn to process
their own meat, so that is a really
important piece when we talk about
self-sufficiency and how a woman could
hunt with her family and then provide that
meat for their family. – [Margaret] And the
conservation piece of that that goes along with that. – The conservation
piece is so critical and it’s so important
to keeping Wyoming the place that we all love. So it’s really important part
of what we believe in Wyoming. But also, it’s so critical
for that one family. It makes a really
big difference. So I love that they
have the exposure to do some of these
other activities that we’re able to offer here. And so it’s so much more
than just a hunt itself. – Yes. – One of the challenges
that I mentioned about hosting an event of this nature, which requires so many logistics is certainly with
licensing and ensuring that we have enough
licenses to fill the hunting slots themselves. And so, that’s just one
logistical challenge, and we are working
with that all the time. And thanks to our outfitter and the relationships
that he has here with our landowners that
are very supportive, we’re able to host
all of our hunters on, as Marilyn mentioned,
mainly private land. So that is one challenge. It’s a really big
event for four days, so logistically, it takes
a lot of time for our staff to coordinate all of that, but more thrilled to do it, and we look forward
to it all year. – Okay. Alright. Marilyn, what are some of
your favorite highlights and activities and describe… Also, I would like to know
what all events are included. But highlights
personally for you, and challenges
personally for you. – Well, I think of course
the highlight always is if you get a antelope,
which I was lucky enough to get this year (laughs). It’s amazing to me
how many of our women do fill their, I don’t know,
the number will be today, but we have 44
hunters, and we usually get over 40 women that
get their antelope. And that’s not been my
experience in hunting before, but partly, it’s because
there’s just a lot of game up in this part of the state. And the other highlight
for me is getting to see and get to know these
historic ranches around here. Beautiful, beautiful country. Most of them that I’ve
had the chance to hunt on or have been in their
family for generations, so learning the history
of this part of Wyoming, which I’m not particularly
familiar with, and getting to see this country
is a tremendous highlight. And the other, we
have a opening banquet that starts the event
that’s always fun, where everybody gets
to meet each other. And then we have auction
and large public banquet that we just had last night, which was of roaring success. So for 300 people,
we were sold out. – 300 people, so
people come from… – All over the state. We had people come,
and it’s just a very high energy exciting event. We hope it’s profitable,
because of course, we can’t do this unless we
can make sufficient profit for the Women’s Foundation
to be able to do this event. So that’s always
an exciting time, and there’s live
and actions and… – There’s a big hot, big
prize this year, wasn’t there. – Well, yeah, there
was a couple big trips, one to the Caribbean,
one to Africa. – Yeah, I saw the
big whatever it was posted in your website. – Exactly. And so of course we have people. A lot of those
things were donated from businesses
all over the state, individuals all over the state. So that’s a great excitement. And then tonight, we
have the awards banquet, and Sarah talked more about
the individual awards, but we work real hard
to make the awards geared towards encouraging
the behavior that you want, ethical hunting
and safe hunting. And so that’s always fun. And of course, if you
ever get a one shot, animal with one shot,
you get an award. Sarah knows the
details of that more. But that’s always fun tonight, ’cause it’s just the
hunters and the guides. And I do have to say
the other highlight is every year, this is
my fifth year hunting, you get a different
guide, and you get to hunt on a different ranch. And the guides are fantastic, and they get very
supportive of their hunters and they’re very into
the whole process. And I learn
something every year, ’cause you’re hunting
with somebody different, and that’s going great.
– Sure, that’s cool. Before we hear about
the activities tonight, I wanna ask Havely, how was
your experience going out for the first time, and what
were the highlights for you and what were the challenges? – My experience was
absolutely amazing. Like I said before, I
was here on scholarship. The scholarship I
received was funded by Shelley Simonton who
recently passed away. And so yesterday, I
had the opportunity to hunt with her husband
and Marilyn and my guide. – That must be a
very poignant one. A moving experience. – And my guide was
a local landowner. And before we even got to our
location yesterday morning, I had already decided that it
was already a successful day. – Yes. And the
challenges for you were? – Well, in part, part of the
successful day that we had was just because we were
bouncing around in a truck. – [Margaret] For a long time? – Listening to stories
upon years passed, stories of Shelley,
laughing, lots of laughing, and just enjoying the
beauty of Wyoming. And so at that point,
before we even got there, it was a huge success. Harvesting an animal
was definitely a bonus. But the whole experience
was just something that you can’t ever
replicate again, so it was very special.
– Were you nervous? – I was really nervous
at the siding process, when were siding in our guns. Super nervous then. When we were actually hunting,
I wasn’t nervous at all. And I found it to
be very calming, and you had something that
you needed to focus on and a job to do, and so it
was very positive experience. And I can’t think of
really any challenge that would’ve made it a
not positive experience. The guide was very,
very supportive. And other than belly crawling, (laughter) The waist and the knees
are a little sore today, but other than that,
it was a very positive and life changing experience. It was wonderful. – And I can say
she’s very patient and did a lot of stalking,
long range stalking. She worked for that shot. And that’s always fun to watch. – 99 yards. – 99 yards. – Does it have to be 99 yards? – No, no, that was
how far her shot was. – Oh, okay. – But she crawl a lot
longer that that (laughs) to a couple different locations. – I’m so glad that
you got your antelope, and congratulations to you. That’s something I’m sure
that makes all the founders and the directors
very, very happy when someone comes
for the first time. And so you are gonna
talk a little bit about the dinner tonight
and some of the awards? – Yes. So tonight,
as Marilyn mentioned, is our awards dinner, and this is really a special
time for our hunters and guides because they have
certainly built these relationships already, and they’ve been
together for a few days. And so now, the stories come out of different hunts and
the jokes that they had, and they’re really sharing this really special
time together. And it really is the
culmination of the week’s event. And so, tonight, we will
have some different awards. We have one for what we call
the super stalker award, and it is for the woman
who stalks her animal and has the closest shot. So we’ve had some people
get as close, I think, as 35 yards is the closest, which is really amazing
and just helps promote, as Marilyn mentioned,
the ethical hunting to make sure that you
take the best shot and to have the best chance at harvesting your animal. And then we worked
very closely with the Boone and Crockett Club on structuring our awards, which was something
that in the beginning was very important to
structuring this event, because we wanted to be
sure that we were promoting not the competition aspect, but really the
conservation and ethics that are so important when
teaching someone how to hunt. And so they helped
define these awards. So we do have some other awards. We have one for anyone that
harvested their animal. We also have one for everyone
that did get one shot. And so that’s
pretty special too. And then we have a team
award, which is really fun. We have some sponsors that
bring an entire team together. In order for them to
win the team award, they all have to have harvested and also, it’s the
average distance for
each of their shots. And so whoever has the
collective closest average, they win the team award. We have a really neat
cup that we pass around from team to team called
the Founder’s Cup. – [Margaret] That’s good. – Yeah, so that’s
really special. And then we just
really allow time for people to share their
stories about their hunts and share some of the really
special moments they had. And then we have one
very special award that’s the Teddy
Roosevelt Award. And it is really
in the spirit of the hunter that has
really persevered through, you know, they may
have harvested, they may have not, but that
they just really maintained integrity and
determination and focus, and that is an award
that we give actually on behalf of the Boone
and Crockett Club and our partnership with them. It’s a really special award as
well, so it’s a lovely night. – The whole event
from beginning to end and the dinner later on tonight, it just sounds like
a fantastic event. And I hope that women
watching this show will become excited
and wanna be with you, so my last question is,
how do women get involved in the Wyoming
Women’s Foundation? – Absolutely. So the
Wyoming Women’s Foundation, we have a website,
which is wywf.org. We have all kinds of
information on there about the projects that we do and the work that we’ve
been doing across Wyoming. And also, my contact
information is on there so they could email
or call me anytime. So happy to share
that information. – Excellent. Excellent. And thank you to our viewing
audience for tuning in. And we’ll see you next
time on Wyoming Chronicle.

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