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Huntresses Take to Wyoming for Antelope Hunt

From New York City girl to Colorado Huntress, Courtney Nicolson has founded "Colorado Women Who Hunt" and embraces the outdoor life every chance she gets

Courtney with her Wyoming buck. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Nicolson) Courtney with her Wyoming buck. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Nicolson)

By: Courtney Nicolson

Sitting in a room with 43 other female hunters, about to begin a weekend of pronghorn hunting in Wyoming, I couldn’t help but think of how unlikely it was for me to be here. There’s a very good chance that I may never have become a hunter at all! I didn’t grow up in a hunting family. My father would take us fishing and clamming on the shores of Cape Cod, but hunting was just not part of my world. I moved to New York City to pursue a career in television production and after a few years ended up at Sportsman Channel. At that time, I had never hunted, never shot a firearm or bow.

fresh organic meat antelope
Nothing better than fresh, organic meat that
you caught yourself! (Photo courtesy of
Courtney Nicolson)

After about a year of working with our show footage, meeting all of our on-air talent and producing some on location shoots my curiosity was piqued. I was introduced to a young woman about my age who offered to take me turkey hunting. It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized how rare my story was, to have my first hunting experience led by another female hunter. In fact, only 12 of the 44 women here shared that with me. From that first turkey hunt I was hooked.

Last year I moved to Colorado. It was an exciting new adventure but I didn’t know anyone in my new state. It was sad to say goodbye to my deer hunting friends who had become like family. Not long after I moved, I started ColoradoWomenWhoHunt.com. I imagined it as a resource for women to share and connect about hunting. Before I knew it, I found that most of my hunts were becoming all female!

I heard about the Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt when I was watching one of our shows Skullbound TV on Sportsman Channel. When I received the invite to attend, I was beyond excited. The first night was a blast. At dinner I met my hunting partner Danielle, our guides, and the landowners who owned the property we would be hunting. What a wonderful idea to have us all sit at a table together. We stayed up chatting and swapping hunting stories.

The next morning, we headed out on Danielle’s hunt. We walked and crawled and glassed and spooked a great buck. Finally, she got a shot on a buck and we were on the board! We took it back to the ranch and set off to fill my tag. I didn’t have any luck that evening. It was probably for the best, we would have missed the big live auction dinner festivities! It was a sold out crowd and everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly.

On the second morning of the hunt it was chilly with grey skies. It started to flurry right as we arrived at the hunt area. I spotted a lone buck and jumped out of the truck. I was getting ready for the shot when we realized that there was actually two bucks, one lying down next to it. Well, by the time I picked which one I wanted to shoot the first one had laid down as well! We tried shouting to get them to stand up, but after that was unsuccessful I took my shot. My buck stayed down.

I was elated when I came back to camp to join the excitement at the meat pole. Everyone wanted to see my buck and hear my story. What a wonderful experience to all celebrate together! I got to work skinning my buck and headed over to the Butchering 101 demo. I’ve broken down quite a few big game animals but was really interested to see what I could learn from a formal demonstration. There’s no better feeling than packing your cooler with fresh organic meat to take home to share with friends and family!

The ladies spent the afternoon learning to fly fish, partaking in a wild came cookout, and shooting trap. I learned a thing or two from a fellow hunter that really upped my shotgun performance! When women can teach other women, I think that’s something really special. That is what this weekend was all about. The awards ceremony was bittersweet sharing our stories but also goodbyes. I am proud to now be a “sister of the sage” and look forward to keeping in touch with all the hunters and getting together throughout the year!

Learn more at WyomingWomensAntelopeHunt.org.

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