History of the Hunt – Lander One Shot Hunt Club
The Lander one shot antelope hunt is one of the most unique sporting events in the world today. The event was born around a campfire, high in the Rocky Mountains in 1939. Seated around that fire were two hunters—Harold Evans of Lander, Wyoming and Hank Dahl of Golden, Colorado. Together they dreamed up what would eventually become one of the most treasured traditions in the Mountain West.
Teams are selected to participate on the basis of challenges issued either to the One Shot Antelope Hunt Club’s board of directors or through the Governor of Wyoming. Three teams are automatic entries in each year’s hunt: a Wyoming team, a Colorado team and a team sponsored by the Past Shooters Club (but not consisting of Past Shooters).
“The purpose of the Hunt is to promote the ideals of good sportsmanship and game conservation, while placing significant emphasis on comradeship, ability in the field and accuracy with a big game rifle.”
In recent years, rule changes have established three-man teams with eight teams participating in the one-day hunt. The hunt is always held on the opening day of antelope season in the vicinity of Lander, with all the team members gathering on the day before the hunt.
Pre-hunt ceremonies include sighting in rifles, along with some competitive shooting for the team members. In the evening an impressive Indian Ceremony is held in the which the hunters hear the “Legend of the Hunt” and are made blood brothers of the Shoshone Indian Tribe. Each hunter is given an Indian Name, which usually corresponds to his vocation. He is also given a sacred Indian Medicine Bag and his bullet is blessed for the hunt.
Following Friday’s ceremonies, the hunters generally retire early. At 4:30 am Saturday morning, they receive a knock on the door for a call to breakfast prior to the day’s great hunt. Hunting parties make every effort to be in the field by dawn, which is around 6:30 at this time of year. Some of the antelope hunting grounds are between 40 to 50 miles from Lander, so this means an early start for the hunters and their guides.
Two vehicles, each with a hunter and a guide, comprise a hunting party. Since the two hunters in each party are on different teams, they are indirectly competing with each other. A drawing is held to determine which hunter will shoot first. If the first hunter has not had a shot within the first hour, then the second hunter has his turn. The two hunters then alternate each hour until one of them takes a shot. When a hunter has taken a shot, whether he has killed an antelope or not, the other hunter then has the shooting privilege for the balance of the day. At 6:00 pm the hunt is over for another year and scores are tallied by calculating the elapsed time of each hunter. Only buck antelope, killed with one shot, are credited in the hunt.
2018’s Winning team was from Colorado. Members were
Governor John Hickenlooper, Gasper Perricone and Cody Lujan.