Continued Story of Wyoming Cowgirl- Jessie Allen
- May 31, 2018
- Tiffany Schwenke
Continued from previous article- Wyoming Cowgirl – Jessie Allen.
Wyoming Cowgirl, Jessie Allen, was kind enough to share a writing of her’s about a day in the life of a Wyoming Woman, being a big game hunting guide.
A Wyoming Woman
One of the most nerve-wracking moments as a hunting guide is introducing myself to hunters. Typically guiding men ages 45 to 65, I stand before them as a 27 year old female, scrawny and tall, with a long blonde braid swept to the side and a belt buckle that reads “Miss Wyoming 2014.”
Introducing myself to my first elk hunter of the season, I give a firm handshake and hope he notices the roughness of my cracked ranching hands. Maybe it will serve as evidence of my lifetime working in these mountains. I know the money he has spent and the time it is taken for him to stand here before me, ready to go on a Wyoming Wilderness elk hunt. With such high expenses come high expectations. Am I what he expected? Probably not. I better bust my ass even harder to put him on some elk.
Trying to hide the look of surprise that briefly flashed across his face, he politely gives a slight smile. I notice his eyes glance over toward his buddies who are being paired up with other guides – 3 men, all older than me. I bring his attention back. I asked what he’s shooting. He says a 30-.06. I asked for the ballistics, and he shows me. I asked about his previous hunting experience. He talks about hunting whitetails from tree stands in the midwest. I asked, I asked, and I kept asking. Knowing we will be spending long, strenuous days together, I start building rapport now.
First morning of the hunt, I awake at 3:30 a.m. to the door of the canvas wall tent opening as the Wrangler comes in to light a fire in the stove. Breakfast is at 4 a.m. After a full plate of biscuits and gravy, I thank the cook, fill my insulated thermos with coffee, and snag my sack lunch off the plywood table. Exiting the cook tent, I told my hunter to meet me at the horses. This urges him along.
The horses wait patiently saddled and bridled thanks to the Wrangler. With only headlamps to break the darkness, I hold the lead rope of his horse’s halter and help my hunter get on. He is wearing bulky clothes and a backpack, and he is only ever ridden a few times before. As he struggles to pull himself up, I reach my hand up and push his rump for a boost. No time to worry about offending his ego. Okay, he’s on. Let’s go find some elk.
We ride in the dark for 2 hours. Whenever a branch hits me in the face, I whisper for him to duck. At dawn, we near a meadow. We get off and tie up the horses. I pull his rifle out of the scabbard on his saddle, and we start creeping through the timber.
After about 15 minutes of walking quietly, all senses tuned in, the silence is broken by a bugle echoing off the granite walls across the valley. My stomach turns and goosebumps rise. Another high-pitched bugle is let out, only slightly quieter. And another, even quieter. The bugles fade away up a north-facing timber slope. We see the butts of three cows and two calves about 800 yards away meandering into the timber, following the talkative bull and other cows in his harem. I talked to him, trying to entice him back. He makes conversation with me, but decides to keep climbing through the timber with his cows. I turned to look at my hunter – his eyes wide, jaw slightly dropped, breathing heavy. “Okay Jess,” he says with a slight tremble in his voice, “What’s our next move?” I calmly smile, lock eye contact with him and reach out to touch his shoulder. “Ready to hunt?” This was the start to a long, exciting, successful opening day together.
The day ended with one lethal shot and hugs and handshakes between the two of us. He harvested the beautiful six-by-six bull in the last light of the day. We field dressed the bull that night and rode back to our camp around 11 p.m. .
The next day, we woke up too heavy, dumping snow. We rode back in to get the bull with two pack horses. Because the hunter wanted to bring so much of the elk out, the pack horses were quickly loaded up with the meat and hide. Not wanting to overload the horses too much, I carried meat and antlers on my back. As I hiked the few hours out, gaining 1200 feet in elevation back to our camp, I would turn to check on the pack horses and make sure my hunter was riding all right. He would smile at me and shake his head. I would smile back and keep trudging on through the snow, the waistband of my pack digging into my hips with the antlers grazing the back of my neck as I maneuvered them on my shoulders. When we got back to camp the guys guessed my pack weighed 120 lbs. That sure seems like a lot – that’s my body weight! Who knows… It was heavy.
After the hunt, the hunter admittedly said he had been hesitant to have a young woman as his guide. “They sure raise you women pretty tough in Wyoming,” he said, while apologizing for underestimating my abilities. All I cared about was that he had an enjoyable, successful hunt. He did. He ended up with full freezers, a beautiful six-by-six bull mounted on his wall, and an unexpected friendship with his Miss Wyoming hunting guide.
To find out more about Jessie Allen’s guest ranch, check out their website. www.diamond4ranch.com
About Tiffany Schwenke
My family has been ranching and raising horses for over 100 years. We raise, train, and market AQHA horses at North Four Mile Creek Horse Ranch. We produce the annual event WYO WILD RIDE RANCH RODEO. I am a wife and a mother to 3 amazing...