Jan 9, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterThis weekend marks the 35th Wyoming Women's Five Shot Rabbit Hunt, which takes place every year in Shoshoni during the second week of January.
The event begins with registration at 6 p.m. Friday at the Shoshoni Fire Department, 106 E Second St. Organizer Joan Eisemann said she is expecting at least six new teams this year, and the roster should include people from Fremont County, Thermopolis, Laramie, Gillette and Pinedale.
It's not only Wyoming residents who show up, though.
"We've had people from Missouri come," Eisemann said. "Their husbands are snowmobiling, so they come buy a license and hunt one day with us."
Several judges are flying in from Texas this year, she added.
More than hunting
Only women are allowed to participate in the hunt, but Eisemann said anyone is invited to Friday's Calcutta and dance, including a silent auction and raffles at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the fire hall.
"Come and dance and enjoy," she said. "It's kind of tight quarters, (but) we have fun."
Hunters aren't likely to stay out late on Friday --they are scheduled to check in at 5 a.m. Saturday during breakfast at the Shoshoni Senior Center, 209 Main St. Eisemann explained the rules of the hunt, which starts officially at 7:30 a.m.
"That's when you can shoot your first bullet," Eisemann said.
Each team includes two women who travel with a judge to the shooting location of their choice. Hunters get five bullets each to use throughout the day.
"You each get five shots to get five rabbits --one shot apiece," Eisemann said. "The ones with the most rabbits and the best time (win)."
Teams in the past have managed to kill all 10 of their rabbits in fewer than three minutes, she said.
"It's possible --I've done four rabbits in a minute," she said. "It's all right there. You do your homework."
Hunters often get permission to hunt on private property where they know they will find a lot of rabbits, she explained. Others go back to the same spot every year.
"We call them our honey bunny holes," Eisemann said. "Each individual has their own place they like to hunt."
'Telling our stories'
The group will reconvene at 6 p.m. Saturday for a dinner and awards ceremony at the fire hall. Eisemann said they also spend time swapping stories about their day.
"My most favorite part is getting to see all of the girls," Eisemann said. "After the hunt we're telling our stories: 'We had to chase this rabbit down,' (or) 'You should've seen her crawling on her belly under that fence.'"
Awards include gifts like gun cases and camp chairs paid for using the $80-per-team registration fees.
Eisemann said organizers initiated a junior mentor hunt about five years ago in order share their passion with younger women.
"We need to give back to the community," Eisemann said. "So we all agreed (to) teach the young girls to hunt, let them know it's OK to hunt."
Eisemann said girls ages 12-17 will show up at the fire hall by 8 a.m. Sunday for breakfast provided by the Shoshoni Chamber of Commerce. The day doesn't involve competition; instead, the group goes out together and takes turns shooting.
"We have a lot of laughs," Eisemann said. "We show them how to properly field dress rabbits after shooting and take care of them."
They will return to the fire hall for lunch by 1 p.m.
For more information about the weekend's events call Eisemann at 850-8242.
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