Table Mountain Outfitters Hunting Program

Last summer, The WYldlife Fund (The Fund) established a unique partnership with Table Mountain Outfitters (TMO), a full-time guided hunting service based out of Cheyenne. The new program created opportunities for youth, women, and wounded warriors to experience hunting and the numerous steps that go into planning and executing a hunt. This initiative serves as a platform for learning essential skills and fostering a deeper connection to nature.

The roots of the TMO hunt trace back to a desire to extend hunting opportunities to those who face barriers to entry. TMO has a longstanding commitment to providing appreciation and gratitude hunts, particularly for wounded warriors, with 1-2 hunts per year. TMO has been operating since 1984, guiding hunts for deer, elk, and pronghorn in Wyoming, and black bear, mountain lion, and elk in Idaho.

The connection with The Fund was established when TMO expressed a passion for involving youth, women, and individuals who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to experience hunting for themselves due to physical or financial barriers. “This program presented a unique opportunity for individuals who might not otherwise have access to such experiences, providing them with a chance to connect with nature and engage in a traditional outdoor activity,” said Angie and Scott Denny, owners of Table Mountain Outfitters since 1996. “By collaborating with local ranchers, the program aimed to address the issue of surplus elk populations in a mutually beneficial manner. This cooperative effort not only allowed participants to enjoy the thrill of hunting but also contributed to wildlife management by helping control elk numbers in an environmentally responsible way. Through this partnership, we fostered a sense of community engagement and conservation, and we are honored to have worked alongside The WYldlife Fund to bring this program to life.”

The surplus elk population, as well local ranchers granting access to their properties, presented an opportunity to provide these hunting experiences. The Fund was eager to bring this idea to life and provide the necessary funds, establishing the first year of what we hope will become an annual program, one that can serve as a model for others to replicate elsewhere.

The hunts took place from August 10-22, catering to various groups over three days each. The participants included 10 wounded warriors, 4 moms with 4 kids, 6 women, 6 youth aged 14-18. The kids and women were Wyoming residents while the wounded warriors hailed from all over.

Participants needed to apply, answering open-ended essay questions. The selection process was aimed at finding individuals with significant lack of opportunities to engage in hunting.

TMO and The Fund partnered with Flying V Lodge and Event Center in Newcastle, WY to provide food and lodging for the program. Larry and Twylla Napolitano, owners of Flying V, were instrumental in establishing partnerships with neighboring ranchers to allow hunting on their properties.

The program itself went beyond the hunt, focusing on imparting essential skills. Participants were walked through the range, given insights into the hunting experience, and prepared for the emotional aspects of the journey. Downtime activities included cooking, grilling, and fishing. Practical skills such as field dressing, quartering, and meat processing were also emphasized.

We spoke with Katie King, one of the program participants, to hear a bit more about her transformative time in the program and what it meant to her. She described it as a life-changing experience, adding, “Words can’t express how incredible and memorable this opportunity was…truly an unforgettable experience. I formed precious friendships, conquered fears, learned valuable skills, helped fill my freezer and provide food for my family. This program has successfully fostered a life-long passion for hunting. Nothing can quite replace the feeling of gratitude when I enjoyed my first meal with my family…knowing exactly where it came from and being intimately involved in every piece of the process.”

Other participants shared similar sentiments, describing the program as providing newfound confidence, new friendships, and lifelong memories. Kelly Upplegger, another participant, said, “Words cannot express how grateful I am for the life changing experience you gifted us.  I learned so much!  Not just about hunting, but about myself.  I came away stronger, more confident, and with an even greater appreciation of, and gratitude for, the hunt.  The bonded friendships we made are absolutely priceless, so the trip lives on!”

The obvious success of this program has set the bar high! The program stands as a beacon of inclusivity, breaking down barriers to entry in the world of hunting. With a commitment to providing transformative experiences, imparting essential skills, and fostering a deep connection to nature, TMO and The Fund have created an annual event that leaves participants with memories and skills that last a lifetime. As the program looks to the future, the goal is to make this an annual tradition, dependent on resources, potentially expanding to different locations to reach even more individuals eager to explore the great outdoors.

We are grateful to the many supporters who made this event possible, including our very own board member Greg and Loren Hill.

I-25 Kaycee to Buffalo Wildlife Crossing

The WYldlife Fund (The Fund) embarked on its inaugural large-scale project, the I-25 Kaycee to Buffalo Wildlife Crossing Project, with a remarkable contribution exceeding $350,000. We are elated to share that the project has reached the impressive milestone of 60% completion, with an anticipated finish by fall of this year. Getting to see a project from beginning to end is hugely rewarding for us, and we can’t wait to see the benefits this project brings to wildlife populations, especially to local mule deer herds.

Now, let’s delve into the backstory of this significant endeavor:

In 2014, during public meetings of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) Mule Deer Initiative, concerns regarding the Powder River Mule Deer Herd’s population were voiced. The population had fallen below the objective of 18,000 animals since the early 2000s.

Hunters also noticed a decline in mule deer numbers, resulting in diminished hunting opportunities. Factors such as disease, habitat loss, and highway and transportation infrastructure contributed to this decline. 

A specific section of I-25 near Kaycee (mileposts 255-270) was identified as having the second-highest rate of deer collisions on a Wyoming interstate, impeding the safe movement of mule deer seeking additional habitat. This project emerged as a Top 10 Statewide highway crossing priority during the Wyoming Wildlife and Roadways Summit in 2017.

Map highlighting (in pink) the section of highway where the crossing is being constructed.

Statewide, over 6,000 animals, including deer, pronghorn, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats, succumb to wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs) each year. The I-25 Kaycee to Buffalo Wildlife Crossing Project aims to mitigate these collisions by facilitating safe passage for wildlife and reducing overall WVC numbers. The project employs exclusionary fencing to guide wildlife to six existing crossing structures, including underpasses, bridges, and culverts. Additionally, deer ramps, gates, and cattle guards are being installed as needed.

The project entails constructing 36 miles of fencing (18 miles on each side of the interstate), requiring 10,000 wooden posts. An intriguing fact—168,000 hog rings, installed by hand, are needed to attach fencing material to the wooden posts. Jumpouts, like the one seen below within the project, are gradual ramps which help wildlife escape the highway corridor should they somehow become trapped.

The new fencing directs animals to crossing structures, ensuring safe passage for wildlife and enhancing the safety of interstate travelers. Wyoming currently witnesses 21 big-game collisions daily, with eight involving significant vehicle damage and/or human injury. WVCs cost the state approximately $55 million annually. This project aims to reduce these numbers, safeguarding wildlife, humans, and the state’s budget.

The Fund has diligently monitored existing underpasses with trail cameras since the project’s initiation, capturing numerous mule deer and other charismatic species utilizing them for safe passage across the interstate.

This impactful project owes its existence to the generous support of our sponsors. We extend heartfelt gratitude to the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, Golf For Wildlife Outing Supporters, Knobloch Family Foundation, Muley Fanatic Foundation, Williams Energy, Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, Wyoming Department of Transportation and Commission, and Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Commission for making this endeavor possible. 

Pooled Migration Fund: Request for Proposals

Request for Proposals

Projects to support State of WY-USDA Big Game Program


Due Date: Proposals due February 16th, 2024, 4PM MST

Timeline: Funding announcements in March 2024 with support over 2 years (2024 and 2025)

Anticipated Award Amounts: $50,000-$100,000

Anticipated Projects Funded: 4-7 

The WYldlife Fund (The Fund) unites people to advance Wyoming wildlife habitat, research, and education. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (Department) conserves wildlife and serves people. As a nonprofit partner of the Department, The Fund builds strategic partnerships to drive resources to the ground throughout Wyoming in order to advance Wyoming’s wildlife in alignment with the strategic vision of the Department.

The State of Wyoming has demonstrated itself as a leader in both the science and conservation actions related to big game migration for many years. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has directed the Department to prioritize conservation actions in big game migratory habitat for many years. Partnerships are critical to achieving these goals because they expand the personnel capacity and relationship network to deliver projects that benefit migratory big game.

In October 2022, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed an agreement that uses diverse Farm Bill programs and state expertise and resources to support voluntary conservation of private working lands and migratory big game populations in Wyoming. The Fund seeks proposals from NGO’s, State Agencies, County Conservation Districts, Tribal Partners, weed and pest districts, land trusts, etc. to expand the impact of the Wyoming-USDA Big Game Partnership to additional/new landowners or increase the footprint of conservation work on landowners with existing USDA Farm Bill Contracts.

Executive Summary

Seeking proposals to fund wildlife projects which include: vegetation enhancements, conifer removal, invasive annual grass treatments, wildlife friendly fence modifications, wildlife crossings, and any other project that improves connectivity and habitat quality for migratory big game. Capacity building projects such as mapping cheatgrass or inventorying fence modifications will be considered if the proposal also includes implementation of the conservation action as a component of the funding request.  

Geographic Priority Areas

USDA and Wyoming have identified several initial priority areas for their partnership. Proposals that focus on, or encompass, these priority areas will be ranked most highly. Consideration will be given to projects that occur within the herd unit(s) but do not overlap existing corridors(see attached map).  These Include:

  • Platte Valley, Baggs, and Sublette mule deer migration corridors
  • Absaroka Front Winter Range Complex
  • Wind River Reservation

Ranking Criteria

  • Focus on developing projects that utilize a combination of partnerships including USDA Farm Bill funds within geographic priority areas
  • Matching funds provided by applicant
  • Established relationships with landowners and/or Tribes
  • Evidence of collaboration with other partners (e.g. Wyoming Game and Fish Department, USFWS-with special focus on work to be completed on Wind River Reservation, Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, etc.)
  • Ecological impact and wildlife benefits of the conservation practice
  • Projects ready for immediate implementation

Additional Requirements

  • Annual progress and final report which includes a shapefile of the completed project – first report due March 31st, 2025

If you are interested in applying for funds please reach out to Chris McBarnes with The Fund to receive the full application, or (307)316-3863. Proposals will be reviewed by a grants advisory panel of Department, Tribal, Federal, Private Landowner and Fund representation. Proposals will be reviewed by the grants advisory panel and recommendations for funding will be sent to the full Fund Board for consideration and any additional questions. Please email your completed application to Chris McBarnes at by 4pm MST on February 16th.





2023 Microgrant Recipients

The WYldlife Fund recognizes that not every important project in Wyoming requires a check for hundreds of thousands of dollars. In this light, we also seek to fund smaller yet impactful projects and initiatives for the good of Wyoming’s wildlife. 

Every year, The WYldlife Fund awards microgrants to 501(c)3 organizations working to advance Wyoming’s wildlife, as well as to the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, our partners in numerous wildlife conservation projects. Our Microgrants Program awards up to $2,500 to specific projects. To apply for a grant, organizations in need must submit an application describing the project and its funding needs and budget, the perceived outcomes of the project, the project’s timeline, and a list of other partners. All applications are reviewed by our Microgrants Committee and then recommended to the full Board of Directors for final approval.

In 2023, we funded nine incredible projects. We’re so proud of the work these organizations are doing all throughout the state. Read on to learn more about these projects; perhaps you’ve heard of a few of them yourself!

Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation – Bear Wise JH

Photo courtesy of JHWF.

The Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation has a program called Bear Wise JH, which is an education and outreach campaign in Teton County, WY that aims to reduce bear conflicts and promote safety in bear country. Every year, they offer charging bear demonstrations, which closely simulate what it is like to be charged by an aggressive or defensive bear. Participants even get to practice using (empty!) bear spray canisters. Given bear spray’s efficacy at reducing bear conflicts (over 90% effective!) and Teton County’s proximity to bear country, these demonstrations are crucial to all residents and visitors of the area. In 2022, the Bear Wise JH program reached over 5,000 people, and an additional charging bear demonstration has the potential to reach even more people. Last year, the WYldlife Fund was thrilled to present JHWF with a $2,500 microgrant for the construction of a second demonstration, which allowed for the expansion of the popular Bear Wise JH program.

Wyoming Game & Fish Department

Photo courtesy of WGFD.

We awarded numerous microgrants to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD). First, we awarded $2,100 to fund a study on the effects of expandable GPS collars on pronghorn fawns. In particular, researchers are evaluating collared fawns for signs of increased stress levels compared to uncollared fawns. This is done by measuring cortisol levels in collected feces, and given the number of fecal samples, this is an expensive analysis that requires external funding. GPS collars are a common tool used to study population dynamics, land usage, preferred habitat, migration patterns, and more in wildlife populations. The results of this research will be used to inform wildlife biologists and managers conducting research on free-ranging pronghorn, improving our understanding of the species and being better-equipped to manage and conserve their population throughout the state.

Second, we awarded $2,500 to fund WGFD’s Wyoming Women’s Outdoor Series, a once-a-month series of outdoor-focused learning events for up to 25 women in the Laramie area, from January to May. Women learned how to ice fish, clean a rifle, and process food (preparing game meat, canning), as well as learned the basics of OnX Maps and Wilderness First Aid. This was a pilot program that ideally can be brought to other cities in Wyoming. The WYldlife Fund was excited to award this grant and help more women build important outdoor skills.

Photo courtesy of WGFD.

Finally, we awarded $2,500 to WGFD’s Whiskey Mountain Conservation Camp in Dubois, WY. This camp hosts eight summer sessions that educate participants about Wyoming’s wildlife and the conservation work being done throughout the state, and that engage participants in outdoor recreation, specifically hunting and fishing. The camp includes five family-focused sessions, two youth sessions, and one session for educators from across Wyoming. In 2022, the camp reached 122 people and has the capacity to grow. We were eager to award funding to the camp to promote to a wider audience and provide high-quality branded swag to participants to raise the camp’s profile throughout the state.

Laramie County 4H Shooting Sports Program

Photo by The WYldlife Fund.

The Laramie County 4H Shooting Sports Program (LCSS) is a partner of The WYldlife Fund and Little Jennie Ranch during our Inspire a Kid (IAK) Camps. Through their Archery Program, LCSS provides top-notch, hands-on archery instruction to all kids attending our IAK camps. Additionally, LCSS offers this same instruction to youth within Laramie County. We were eager to provide $2,500 to LCSS to purchase additional archery equipment to further expand this program.

Cheyenne Volunteers

Lions Park, in Cheyenne, WY, is home to Sloan’s Lake, a 29-acre, 13-foot deep lake that serves as a raw water irrigation source for the City of Cheyenne. It also serves as a spot for recreational activities, including fishing. The lake is stocked with a warm-water fish population and is managed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Unfortunately, the lake lacks underwater structures where fish can spawn and aggregate. Local volunteers want to change this by constructing fish accumulating structures, predominantly for black crappie, sunfish, and largemouth bass, using microgrant funding. The WYldlife Fund was pleased to award $1,000 to these volunteers for project implementation–supported by WGFD and the Board of Public Utilities–the necessary funds to move forward with this project.

Wyoming Game Wardens Association

Photo courtesy of the Easterly Family.

The Wyoming Game Wardens Association (WGWA) believes strongly in investing in the youth of Wyoming. In memory of Tom Easterly, a Greybull wildlife biologist who passed away suddenly in 2014, WGWA created a memorial fund which donates lifetime small game and game bird licenses to youth. To increase the available funds, WGWA requested a microgrant of $2,500, and we were proud to contribute to the continuation of the legacy of hunting in Wyoming.

Wyoming Wetlands Society

The Wyoming Wetlands Society (WWS) has been relocating beavers since 2004, live-trapping the animals causing property damage and releasing them in areas where they can restore wetlands away from human conflict. As part of this process, beavers are outfitted with a Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag, which is a minimally invasive tag that is inserted beneath the animal’s skin. Beavers tagged in this way can be identified without recapture, as the tags are read by in-stream PIT tag readers as the animals swim by. WWS requested funding to invest in the necessary equipment to read PIT tags. The WYldlife Fund recognizes the importance this project has to understanding beaver dispersal and habitat restoration, and we were excited to award $2,500 in funding to WWS.

First Hunt Foundation

First Hunt Foundation – WY (FHF-WY) provides programming and mentorship opportunities that emphasize learning lifelong skills as a means to obtain sustainable food sources and self-sufficiency, as well as understand and promote conservation. As FHF-WY continues to grow, there is an increased equipment need for use by participants. Specifically, FHF-WY has seen a growing demand for archery programs. The WYldlife Fund was thrilled to present FHF-WY with $2,500 for the purchase of necessary archery equipment to ensure that there is enough gear for every program participant, furthering FHF-WY’s mission and teachings.


Are you seeking funding for a project that furthers the conservation of Wyoming’s wildlife? Do you know of an organization that could benefit from our microgrants? We are currently accepting applications! Microgrants are administered on a rolling cycle each calendar year. Applications are accepted and evaluated on a first-come, first-served basis until funds available for the calendar year are gone. Head to the link below for more information on how to apply! We can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2024 projects, and we are deeply grateful to all our supporters for making this work possible.

Click here to learn more about the 2024 application process!