Thanks to Jennifer Piasecki-Dums for submitting her photo and becoming Hen of the Month!
Jennifer grew up in the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, and she currently lives in Northern Wisconsin. She was fortunate to grow up in a family that hunted and fished.
Her dad and other family members harvested meat, tended productive gardens, and foraged for wild berries. This bounty was especially appealing in the middle of harsh winters with temperatures that can reach negative 40 degrees. These formative years led Jennifer to think about hunting deer, but she hadn’t yet jumped into it.
When she met her husband, she got an opportunity to go with someone she loved and trusted. Jennifer decided to try deer hunting as a way to be fully-immersed in nature, to experience harvesting an animal from start to finish, and then, to consume the meat she had worked hard to acquire.
That first hunt became part of her identity and she was hungry to go on hunts that would leave her inspired to achieve even more.
“It was an amazing experience,” she said. “And I was forever hooked.”
Seeking a new adventure and still curious about tasting new game, she and her husband had been thinking about hunting pronghorn. Jennifer had never hunted in the West and she wanted to see how hunting and eating antelope might be different than deer.
Pronghorns weigh between 90 and 150 pounds and they are known for being the fastest land animal in North America. While often referred to as antelope (including in this post and on Wyoming hunting websites), pronghorns are not technically true antelope since they are native to North America and not part of the African or Asian species. They rely on sagebrush and other plants for most of their diet. Their population was close to 35 million when Europeans began settling the West in the early 1800s.
Today, there is a population of about half a million throughout Western and Southwestern states, as well as parts of Mexico. They can migrate more than 160 miles and prefer specific types of open rangeland at elevations of 3,000 to 6,000 feet.
Since it was the first time Jennifer and her husband hunted pronghorn, they hired a guide in Wyoming. Tracking down antelope is certainly a different approach than deer hunting from a blind. But she enjoyed it and highly recommends giving it a shot.
“Advice for women wanting to hunt antelope: Go for it!” she said. “It is a fairly physically easy hunt, the population in Wyoming is large enough that you will see animals and definitely have shooting opportunities.”
She was excited to sneak up on the pronghorn and get it in her sight. Jennifer used a Winchester 270 and shot it at about 300 yards. She is proud to be a hunter and was happy to have some meat to fill the freezer and have a new story to tell.
Now, she has her sights set on her next adventure.
“I would love to head West again, maybe mule deer!”
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