Angie Denny got hooked on hunting back in 1990 when Scott—the guy she eventually married—took her grouse hunting for a date. Fast-forward to today, and Scott and Angie now own and operate Table Mountain Outfitters, based in Cheyenne, Wyoming. In 25 years, Angie evolved from newbie hunter to one of the most respected guides in the business for western big game.
“I think that even in this day and age, it’s often assumed that the wife in a hunting business is still the bookkeeper, cook, or mom. While I do all of those things (especially the mom part), I still have many hunters who show up in camp and are caught off-guard when I guide them or they hear that I am taking someone else out for the day,” Angie says. She guides almost every day of the hunting seasons. “Whatever needs to be done in the field by the (boy) guides, I have to do myself, and I think it still surprises a lot of the clients.”
In 1997, Scott and Angie were living comfortably in Kansas and running a family construction business. One day, Scott came home and told her he wanted to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming an outfitter in Wyoming, so she pulled up stakes to chase the dream with him. She was the first woman in her family to get a college degree and for a while, as she learned the outfitting business, she continued searching for a job in communications. One day, Scott looked at her and said, “Dummy, you’re already working! I can’t afford for you to get another job.” At that point, she went on the official payroll as a guide.
Angie continued learning how to hunt and how to guide. “I can’t just sit back and only do part of the job. So each year I would do a bit more and follow the guys around learning how to guide and how to deal with the clients in camp all while cooking, cleaning, bookkeeping, and raising our two children. By the time our son came along, I was fairly comfortable with taking clients out on my own,” she explains. She says she feels left out if she’s not along “to help tell the story.”
She loves hunting because she wants to know where the family’s meat comes from and who has handled it. “From a personal standpoint, nothing can replace the time outside; the one-on-one with nature, the success and the heritage of what we are doing, as well as the physical aspect of accomplishment,” she explains. She loves that she has the ability “to give this little bit of heaven to each client.” She especially loves guiding first-timers, whether they’re kids or adults.
She admits that life as an outfitter impacts her family time. “I’m sure every working mom goes through this same struggle. When I go to work, I am really gone! There is no in-between or across-town for a couple hours each day. It’s in Idaho for weeks at a time or somewhere else in Wyoming,” she says. Although she’s missed events, she says that when she’s home, she’s “really home.” Whenever possible, the kids go to camp with their parents, and she loves sharing that experience with them.
“Every time the trigger is pulled, I still get excited—no matter who is shooting,” she says. “But I think I get more excited when it is someone else and I was a part of why they were successful.”