This is a guest post written by Jamie Tankesley, a retired Air Force Employees Sargeant, who attended on a scholarship chance and agreed to inform us about what the hunt meant to her. She titled it “Hunting Goes Beyond the Kill,” and we think you will see why soon after reading her fantastic story beneath. ~BB
This previous weekend I would drive 14 hours from Valley Falls, Kansas, to Clearmont, Wyoming. I produced my way by means of a snowstorm that would blanket Cheyenne, Wyoming, exactly where I stopped overnight to rest. For I was producing my journey to the Annual Wyoming Women’s Foundation Antelope hunt. I was chosen as a scholarship recipient earlier in the year and had been waiting for this trip for some time. I was beyond excited and additional determined to make it.
I pulled into the Ranch at Ucross about noon on Oct. 9 and right away fell in appreciate. It was serene. There have been snowcapped rolling hills, tall prairie grass surrounding the home, deer bedded down in the fields all about, horses operating by a big pond I was in a nation girl’s paradise.
I right away got a warm comfort feeling about the practical experience I was about to embrace. There have been 46 shooters this weekend, like a handful of dignitaries, a handful of guides and numerous volunteers. The females of the Wyoming Women’s Foundation have been practically nothing brief of inviting, warm spirited and complete of laughter as they started guiding us to our activities.
The initial day was spent checking in, sighting in our rifles and a physical abilities course. I would bring my Tikka 30.06, which I sighted in at 225 yards. Proper on target, as I had carried out at dwelling ahead of coming. I was prepared. That evening, at dinner, we would meet our guides and understand a tiny additional about what the Foundation does and has to offer you the neighborhood. My group ended up turning in early soon after dinner, as we have been hunting the Padlock Ranch up close to the Montana border and we had an early morning drive.
Morning came rapid, perhaps it was simply because I was so excited to get out there. Even though I am an knowledgeable significant game hunter, I had in no way hunted antelope ahead of, so it was all new to me. There was a bitter chill to the air, but we have been prepared. My hunting companion, a photographer, our guide and I bundled up prepared to embrace the cold – but, additional prepared to uncover the herds and fill our tags. Instantly soon after arriving on the Padlock Ranch, we saw two little herds. We parked and took off on foot to get as close as we could devoid of spooking the second herd. It had about 10 antelope in the herd, but we just couldn’t get to them. We returned to the truck only to notice that from behind one particular of the rolling hills, was yet another herd walking out onto a pasture to graze – the similar pasture we just hiked by means of to get back to the truck.
This was it. We have been going out. There was a tree line and a creek in between us and the herd. We stalked as far as we could with cover from the trees. From there, we could see them. For the reason that of my injuries from military service, it is extremely complicated to shoot sitting or from shooting sticks I am, having said that, an fantastic hunter from prone. With that, I army-crawled, pulling myself closer and closer virtually to the edge of the creek. I was setup on my bipod and in position. I was prepared. Not realizing if they would move any closer and with my guide’s suggestions, I took a shot it was a lengthy one particular and a tiny as well low in the wind. I missed. I felt defeated as an knowledgeable lengthy-variety shooter, but what occurred subsequent was not what we have been expecting at all.
They didn’t run. They didn’t move at all at initial, then all out of nowhere, they would turn and run straight at us. I was nevertheless set up on my bipod in prone on the ground set up in the middle of what was a game trail. With the creek in between us, we had no concept what was about to occur till they turned just shy of the creek edge and stopped. They stopped appropriate in front of us, with only the creek in between and they began grazing. I couldn’t think it – they didn’t see us. I spotted three attractive bucks, but bringing up the rear was one particular that had been consuming extremely nicely. I let him clear the trees and I took my shot. Bam. Down he went quickly. Clean shot, no broken meat, it was great. I was so excited. We would step it off to roughly 110 yards.
Now to other individuals, this may possibly be the finish of it for you, but for me … this was only just a portion of it. The hunt is so a lot additional than just a great kill shot. For me, it brings a sense of belonging to some thing larger. This time, it was the Wyoming Women’s Foundation. It is surrounding your self with a group of like-minded men and women and obtaining a sense of goal once more. It is getting offered a activity and fulfilling it, even if that is only bringing meat dwelling to the freezer. It is a location of belonging and not getting judged for the several brain injuries, obtaining PTSD, or the numerous pieces of metal and hardware in my physique. It is filling that void of camaraderie – even if only temporarily, that I lost when I had to leave military service (some thing only veterans endure and recognize). Becoming a portion of this hunt keeps me focused and tends to make me really feel a portion of some thing larger, some thing I will often lengthy for once more and once more.
It is not as uncomplicated to place into words why I hunt or what it does for me … but know this … this hunt, this ability … this is why I do not give up. I can not say thank you adequate to the Wyoming Women’s Foundation for this chance and practical experience. It surely will be one particular for the memory books years to come. I am beyond proud to be a member of the Sisters of the Sage and I hope to be capable to return in years to come.
Study additional about the Wyoming Women’s Foundation right here.
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