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.

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!

Inspire a Kid Camps 2023

Wow, it has been a busy year for The WYldlife Fund! Busy is good, right? We like to think so! We have a lot to catch our supporters up on, and we’d like to begin by filling you in on our second summer of Inspire a Kid Camp, which was, in short, INCREDIBLE.

The WYldlife Fund was honored to partner with Little Jennie Ranch in Bondurant, WY to offer another summer session of Inspire a Kid Camp. We first offered this camp to a group of 20 boys in 2022, and this year we expanded to offer a girls camp as well!

From June 19th-24th, 20 boys from Wyoming, West Virginia, and New Jersey gathered at Little Jennie Ranch for a week of learning and outdoor recreation. From June 26th-July 1st, 15 girls from Wyoming, California, and New Jersey did the same. We partner with Chestnut Mountain Ranch in West Virginia, the First Tee Foundation in California, and St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in New Jersey to bring these groups of campers to Wyoming. Our in-state campers are often connected to the program through their school guidance counselors. Additionally, we work with the Wind River Indian Reservation to recruit campers as well.

To apply for IAK, prospective campers must address essay questions such as, Why is Wyoming’s wildlife important to you?, What does being a “good leader” mean to you?, and How do you hope to impact your community in the future?, among others. As we read through applications, we try to select campers who show potential to excel beyond camp with the seeds of leadership and wildlife conservation planted during camp.

The goal of Inspire a Kid Camp is to inspire the next generation of conservationists through exposure to outdoor activities such as horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking, and archery; cutting edge wildlife conservation practices; and education on everything from Native American history, identification of flora and fauna, the operation of a working cattle ranch, and Wyoming’s historic ungulate migrations. “We hope to create a lasting legacy of conservation and respect for the natural world around us by passing this experience and lessons onto future generations,” said The WYldlife Fund President, Chris McBarnes.

The idea for Inspire a Kid Camp was born from the Hamlin Family, owners of Little Jennie Ranch, in 2020. The Hamlins desired to do something at the ranch for youth, so a partnership with The WYldlife Fund was established. Working closely with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD), a curriculum was designed and the camp was born, its name coined after WGFD Director Brian Nesvik’s initiative, Inspire a Kid.

“IAK Camp 2023 was a huge success again at the ranch,” said Faith Hamlin of Little Jennie Ranch. “Not only do we get to see the students grow throughout the week, but each and every person involved is touched by this important work. Adding the girls camp has only gotten us more excited for the future of IAK Camps. We are already preparing for the best year of camps yet in 2024.”

The curriculum was created in partnership with the Wyoming Migration Initiative and multiple retired biologists from WGFD and the U.S. Forest Service, ensuring campers learned the most relevant information and the latest in conservation research.

Inspire a Kid Camp is incredibly unique in that it brings together three separate entities–a private producer (Little Jennie Ranch and the Hamlin Family), a nonprofit (The WYldlife Fund), and a government organization (WGFD). What’s more, the camp hosts an impressive array of nightly speakers for fireside chats, with the conversation focusing on leadership development. This year, speakers included WGFD Director Brian Nesvik; Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon; Dan Starks, Founder of the National Military Museum; Wyoming Game and Fish Commissioner Ashlee Lundvall; Mike Schmid, former Wyoming Game and Fish Commissioner and CEO of SOS Well Services; John Turner, former Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Services; and Rhiannon Jakopak, research scientist at the Montieth Shop. That’s quite a roster!

It’s difficult not to overstate the immense value the campers receive from their week at Inspire a Kid Camp. Instead, we’ll let them share a bit about what the camp meant to them:

“Going to Inspire a Kid Camp has to be the highlight of my year. I was given the opportunity to meet so many intriguing people and pick their brains about all sorts of things. Doing all of the activities like horseback riding, archery, fly fishing, and more was incredible, especially because it was the first time I did pretty much any of those activities…I am extremely thankful for everyone I met and for giving me this opportunity…It was truly the best part of my year.”

-Jonathan Martinez, camper

“I have learned so much about myself and who I want to become…You have made me find my newfound peace, my independence, and a lifetime of friendships…This camp has meant so much to me that I hope every little girl or boy feels the love that I felt when I was there.”

-Kayla Palmer, camper

“As a girl who has lived in the suburbs near New York City all her life, this camp gave me the chance to explore some things I would never have thought about before. The team who made this camp possible were able to get some amazing and intelligent speakers to come and share part of their knowledge and experience with us. Although they did talk about so many different topics, they all had one thing in common: they loved nature and wildlife…I will be forever grateful for those who came and chose to spend their time with us. It truly opened my eyes to new topics and gave me a new understanding of what wildlife is and how humans interact with these animals.”

-Arielle Lopina, camper

“The camp was adventurous and I loved making friends. The activities were fun and the setting is absolutely ‘take your breath away’ beautiful!”

-Hadley Finn, camper

“The Inspire a Kid Camps create memories and relationships that go the distance. They create opportunities that our kids have never had before, and create leadership skills and work ethic. The Inspire a Kid Camps put smiles on faces and create positive memories in a life full of tragedy.”

-Bradley Clodfelter, camp volunteer from Chestnut Mountain Ranch

It’s clear that this camp is hugely influential to the youth who attend it, and The WYldlife Fund is honored to be able to offer it. We are thrilled to be a part of inspiring the next generation, and we hope to continue this camp for years to come. This would not be possible without the partnership between Little Jennie Ranch and the Hamlin Family, WGFD, and our numerous other partners–LJR Staff, Commissioner Ashlee Lundvall, Sporting Lead Free, First Hunt Foundation, Wyoming State 4H, and Chad and Samantha Haley. We are already looking forward to next summer! We encourage interested individuals to keep an eye out for the application process during the first quarter of 2024.

In the future, we hope to work with more private ranchers to spread these opportunities across the state of Wyoming. There is so much room to grow!

Want to get a closer look at Inspire a Kid Camp? Check out the below video from this summer’s boys session!

Inspire a Kid Camps are made possible in part through the generous donations from supporters like you. In the spirit of giving this holiday season, we hope you will consider making a donation to TWF to support the continued offerings of these life-changing camps. You can donate using the link at the top of this page. Thank you for your unwavering support! We can’t wait for next year!

All photos are courtesy of Della Frederickson.

2023 Inspire a Kid Camp

The Inspire a Kid Camp hosted at the Little Jennie Ranch in Bondurant, Wyoming aims to be a transformative and one of kind, wilderness experience for young men and women. Campers take part in leadership development, western conservation, and outdoor recreation in one of the most iconic settings found in the American West. The WYldlife Fund is proud to sponsor and operate these camps with the Hamlin Family and the entire team at the Little Jennie.

Inspire a Kid Camp

From June 22nd-28th, 2022 The WYldlife Fund was honored to host the first annual Inspire a Kid Camp at the Little Jennie Ranch in Bondurant.

Maury Brown Kids Fishing Day

On June 4th, 2022 The WYldlife Fund partnered with Maury Brown and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to host the first Maury Brown Kids Fishing Day at the Iron Mountain Ranch outside of Cheyenne.