SHERIDAN — She grew up with three brothers and “no femininity” around her. She served deer and antelope in myriad ways when she and her husband had an outfitting service on their ranch near Recluse, Wyo. She even guided a few hunts herself when regulars begged her to take them out.
She has hunted elk in Jackson Hole and bear in Canada. And when she was younger, she could skid the pickup truck to a halt, grab a shotgun off the gun rack and leap out and shoot a coyote running across the ranch without even thinking about it.
That was 30 years ago, but Sandy Brug is hoping it will all come back to her when she participates in the upcoming Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt at the Ranch at Ucross next weekend.
The Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt was organized by the Wyoming Women’s Foundation to provide sportswomen and sportswomen-in-training a chance to participate in a guided antelope hunt in a supportive environment. The hunt will offer high quality hunting education, friendly hunting competition in a breathtaking landscape and camaraderie with fellow Wyoming women.
The hunt is the first all-women’s sure shot antelope hunt in the nation and has attracted several prominent Wyoming women.
Amoung them included First Lady Carol Mead, U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis and Wyoming Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kite. Sheridan’s own Donna Kinskey served on the board and will be on hand to organize volunteers.
There are still spots available and all women, regardless of ability, are invited to participate. New hunters will have a chance to get their hunter safety certification, and the hunting license is included in registration.
“It’s good to have adventures,” Brug said. “It’s good to get out and take that challenge.”
At 71, Brug said she will likely be the oldest woman in the hunt. After facing some health issues in the last few years, she has been working with her husband to get back in shape, doing target practice and sighting her gun with the new scope her husband installed.
“It’s a good sport. It’s part of our heritage out here in the west,” her husband Robert Brug said. “This is a chance where she gets to go off on a hunt by herself and have camaraderie, and I think that’s a great thing.”
Brug jokes about how she’ll have to crawl in or be pushed on a wheelchair for her hunt, but with her history, it shouldn’t feel too foreign.
Brug and her husband were National Rifle Association instructors for a 4-H shooting sports camp in New Mexico, and she thinks that long-held hunting knowledge will come back to her.
And if it doesn’t and she comes up empty-handed, it doesn’t matter, she said. It will still be a good weekend to learn and explore the great outdoors while supporting an organization that works for economic self-sufficiency and access to opportunities for women and girls in Wyoming.
The idea for the Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt originated with Chief Justice Kite nearly two years ago when she was hunting big game with her sister-in-law. Kite approached Richelle Keinath, executive director of the Wyoming Women’s Foundation, and the hunt was born. The Ranch at Ucross was chosen as the hunting site because it had 50 hunting licenses available and would offer a cozy abode for the weekend.
“I think this is going to be most supportive environment if anyone wants to learn how to hunt. It will be the softest, easiest way to do that,” Keinath said.
As the first all-women’s sure shot antelope hunt, the event has attracted the attention of national companies. The Boone and Crockett Club, Remington, Smith and Wesson, Cabela’s, Gore-Tex, Cyclone Drilling and more are donating gear and awards and sending representatives to answer questions and offer support. Scott Talbott, director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, will offer a hunter safety class.
Three women — including multi-time world shooting champion Julie Golob — from the Smith and Wesson sharp shooting team will attend, and Golob will teach a “Field to Fort” cooking class to demonstrate how to cook wild game, which can help women put meat on the table and become more self-sufficient.
“Everybody we talk to is so fired up about it,” Keinath said.
The Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt is an ideal opportunity to support the goals of the Wyoming Women’s Foundation, Keinath said. She hopes it will increase self-confidence and self-suffiency and offer women around Wyoming a chance to network and gain mentors — for hunting and for life.
“I think it’s going to be a really good opportunity for mentoring and broadening everybody’s network and who people can rely on,” Keinath said. “It’s a cool way to celebrate something they love with other women hunters.”
On the hunt
There are still spots available on the Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt!
Call the Wyoming Women’s Foundation at (307) 721-8300 or (307) 745-0315 or visit wyomingwomensantelopehunt.org for more information.
Come to dinner
The Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt is hosting a public dinner and auction Oct. 4. All in the community are invited to attend this fundraiser for the Wyoming Women’s Foundation. Auction items include ATVs, hand-engraved watches, jewelry, clothing, hunting gear, hunts and fishing trips, and a pen-and-ink drawing by hunter and artist Sandy Brug.
When: Cocktails at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. Oct. 4
Where: The Ranch at Ucross
Tickets: $50 individual, $400 table of eight
Info: Call (307) 721-8300 or (307) 745-0315 or visit www.wyomingwomensantelopehunt.org