First place winners, Jessica Casper and KLa Watts. (submitted photo)

By Jeff Rebitski

Staff Writer

The Women’s Five-Shot Rabbit hunt is taking place this weekend and teams have until Friday night to sign up for what, according to the bunny tracks in the neighborhood, should be a great year for rabbit stew. 

The headquarters for this annual event is the Elks Lodge, at 207 East Main Street in Riverton, and the festivities will kick off Thursday night with a mandatory safety meeting where all will be made aware of the rules. On Friday evening, a free spaghetti dinner and an opportunity to bid on silent auction items will prepare the teams for some fun team rivalries. On Saturday is the main event, when the teams take to the wilderness to track, hunt, and hopefully bag the most bunnies to secure the win. 

New this year is the youth category where for the first time, the kids can be involved. Both girls and boys 17 years of age and younger are invited to be a part of the hunt and will be judged individually. Of course, the youth will need a judge and can choose to hunt with another, possibly more mature team, or by themselves with an assigned judge. 

After the hunt, there will be a celebration at the Elks Lodge that is sure to please everyone as RJ’s BBQ caters the dinner on Saturday night. There will be a $30 charge for the dinner for the adults while the youth will have to pay $15. 

Teams consist of two women of any age. Each team is required to donate a basket for the silent and live auctions. A judge will accompany each team in the field and will be randomly assigned at the Thursday evening meeting or after the Calcutta Friday. Each team member must follow all hunting regulations, including possessing a valid Wyoming small game license, Conservation Stamp (if required), and a hunter education certificate (or mentor paperwork). Tribal members must follow applicable regulations. Rabbits may be harvested from any legal location outside municipal or town limits.

The catch? It’s in the name: Each team member is allowed five bullets, and the goal is to harvest 10 total cottontail rabbits in the least amount of cumulative time for each team.

During the entire event, on both Friday and Saturday nights, people can take part in the live and silent auction as well as raffles and games for all. This event has fallen off in past years, but the organizer, Jessica Smith of Riverton, hopes to revive the pageantry of the hunt as well as the participation by women in the community. The youth can add to this event in a big way if they are interested, and as with all historical events, they are the ones who may carry the torch into the future.