For the third year in a row, Governor Mark Gordon has helped raise money for wildlife conservation by raffling off a bison hunting tag to one lucky Wyoming resident. The winner of the 2022 Wild Bison Raffle was Norma Winder, but the 71-year-old woman made a surprising announcement when her name was called on June 23. She said she would give it away to a female disabled veteran, the Cowboy State Daily reports.
The longtime hunter explained that she has been fortunate enough to chase big game all over the world alongside her husband. And since she was able to take a bison several years ago, she wanted to give someone else the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hunt the largest mammal in North America.
“We have other opportunities to shoot a [bison] cow or whatever we want to do, so why not give it to someone else who can never afford to put in for one of those permits?” she told the local newspaper. “The joy of doing it is absolutely fantastic.”
Winder explained that she and her husband have recently made a habit of donating elk and mule deer tags to disabled veterans. They see this as one of the best ways to thank military for their service, and together they’ve given around 20 of those service members the opportunity to hunt big game in Wyoming, according to Cowboy State Daily.
The couple typically donates their tags to the Kniestedt Foundation, which “provides exceptional hunting experiences for those currently serving and veterans of the United States Armed Forces,” according to the non-profit’s website. And although Winder plans to donate her bison tag to the same foundation, she said that since all the past recipients of her tags have been men, she wanted this particular tag to go to a woman.
“You always hear of guys getting to go on these hunting trips, but I’ve never heard of a woman getting the opportunity to do so,” she said. “So, my stipulations were that it went to a female disabled veteran.”
The first Governor’s Wild Bison License Raffle took place in 2020. The raffle is open to Wyoming residents only, and they are limited to one $10 ticket per person. Proceeds go directly to the Big Game License Coalition, which helps fund research, improve habitat, and increase public hunting access for elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and moose. This year’s raffle raised $22,050.