When Racheal Lineberger learned the Wyoming State Board of Outfitters and Professional Guides approved her status as an outfitter, she was 22.
That made her the youngest outfitter ever licensed by that board, which has operated since 1989.
Lineberger, who has since turned 23, assumes control of the family business, Cody-based Butte Creek Outfitters.
“I’m pretty excited,” Lineberger said. “I’m super grateful to the board, my parents and everyone who has helped me along the way for taking a chance on me.”
Besides being younger, Lineberger is a rare female outfitter too. A close-to home role model is mother Theresa, who is exiting the business. Father Ron will continue to work as a guide.
“I’ve known her basically since she was born,” said longtime Cody outfitter Lee Livingston, who is chairman of the outfitters board. “She grew up in the business.”
Lineberger said she began accompanying her parents to hunting camps when she was 2 and began doing chores when she was a few years older.
She has hunted for mule deer and elk, but says guiding and outfitting are different jobs. Guides are in the field with clients all the time. Outfitters plan, organize and can get trapped spending more time behind a desk than in the outdoors.
“There’s a pretty big difference,” Lineberger said. “As an outfitter, you’ve got to have a huge understanding of people who aren’t from around here.”
Long horseback rides take people to higher elevations in the Wyoming mountains, perhaps being more demanding than some expect.
Since becoming the outfitter, Racheal said she organized a spring black bear hunt and has four summer back- country fly fishing trips scheduled.
Fall will bring antelope, mule deer, elk and bighorn sheep hunts.
“All of the above. We’ve got a pretty loyal following,” Lineberger said. “A lot of them knew I was going to apply and go before the board this winter.”
She said she received considerable encouragement from clients.
“I’m just hoping to get bigger,” Lineberger said. “I want to be busy.”
Lineberger said she is not nervous about taking on more responsibility, but thrilled for the chance. Few hunters or guides enter this profession for the opportunity to study rules and regulations, go to meetings and to fill out paperwork. Lineberger is no exception.
“My favorite part is being in the field,” she said.
While Lineberger hopes to avoid being ensnared by aspects of the job that would limit time in the hills, she feels there are other compensations that come with being the boss.
“I feel very confident in the way we do things,” she said, “and in my guide skills. But it will be fun at the end of the day because it’ll have my name on it.”
And her name may grow beyond just the name of the business into something more. Lineberger is aware being young in the role and also a woman may attract attention.
“I’m proud of myself,” Lineberger said of becoming an outfitter at her age, “and proud to be a female representing the industry and being active in the field.”