Laramie – When South Laramie Game Warden Bill Brinegar signed up to volunteer with the #WYHUNTFISH Spring Creek Pronghorn Hunt based out of Cheyenne, little did he know just how important this hunt would be to his assigned hunter.
Several months after helping the young hunter and his stepfather apply for tags, Brinegar received heartbreaking news that the stepfather had died. Warden Brinegar wasn’t certain the hunt would still happen after hearing the news.
“But young Stephen stepped up to the plate and quietly participated in a simulated hunt with me by his side. Despite what he had been through, he kept a calm demeanor,” Warden Brinegar said.
As the day of the scheduled hunt arrived, Stephen was eager to put some miles on in hopes of harvesting his first pronghorn. After walking around the first property, there were no signs of antelope as far as the eye could see, and everyone was a bit skeptical. “As we approached the second property we stopped on a high point to glass, and finally I spotted a small group of antelope approximately two miles away,” Brinegar said. “Although Stephen was anxious to head up the hill, we stopped in and let the rancher know we were there before proceeding.”
After parking the truck and visualizing their approach, the hunters walked swiftly up the hill towards the herd, using the terrain as cover. “At one point the lead doe poked her head over the horizon letting us know she was on to us, but she never spooked. As we made our final approach, the herd was deep into a draw, and grazing undisturbed. We quietly belly crawled into position and waited for a clean shot,” Brinegar said.
Then two of the does alerted the rest of the herd to the hunters’ presence. “I thought we may have blown our chance as we watched the herd trot towards the horizon, when they suddenly slowed to a stop,” Brinegar said. “The lead doe peeled away from the herd and presented Stephen with a perfect broadside shot. He made an excellent shot through the lungs. He smiled all the way back to the truck, even after helping me field dress his harvest.”
“While Stephen will never forget the unfortunate circumstances he and his family went through, I can only hope he has a lifetime of great outdoor experiences to ease the pain.”
The #WYHUNTFISH Spring Creek Pronghorn Hunt is a collaborative program of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the First Hunt Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides education and training for acquiring hunting skills. The main emphasis is on mentoring new hunters to develop life-long skills and a passion for hunting. The organization is looking for new mentors to help make their vision a reality. For more information please visit https://firsthuntfoundation.org/.