Rylee Browning doesn’t remember the earliest times she went hunting with her parents. She was still an infant riding in a pack carried by her mother, Winnie.
Born and raised in Grant County, Rylee grew up in Seneca, where her father Brad also grew up. Winnie is from Dayville. The family has roots going back several generations in the county, she said.
Rylee’s earliest hunting memories date back to when she was 5 or 6 years old, accompanying her parents on deer and elk hunts. She got a Ruger 7mm-08 rifle for her 12th birthday.
She bagged her first buck at 14 and has shot two more since then. She’s also taken two elk. Her parents, avid hunters, taught her the needed skills.
“Always be quiet when walking, don’t give up, be clever in scouting game and moving closer, and don’t shoot until you have a kill shot,” she said.
Rylee’s been out in pouring rain hunting deer and standing in snow on cold November days in elk season, but she doesn’t mind the adverse conditions.
“Dress appropriately,” she advises.
Last year, Rylee shot a nice-sized buck in a canyon east of the Strawberry Range. She and her father had been watching a herd of six mule deer in the canyon for several days when her mother and boyfriend, Kaden Madden, arrived.
Her parents moved around the rock overlook she was standing on to get a closer look when Kaden spotted a buck with his binoculars about 500 yards away.
“I didn’t know exactly how far away it was, so I aimed about three feet above its head,” she said.
It was a clean head shot. The hunters hiked down into the canyon, field-dressed the buck and carried out the meat and the head for a European mount.
The mount now hangs in the family living room in Seneca.
Rylee says she wants to try bowhunting this year. Her grandfather, Mike Browning, is an avid bowhunter and can give her some pointers.
Rylee also goes grouse hunting with a 20-gauge shotgun and has started bass fishing with her boyfriend’s family.
“I fished for trout when I was young,” she said.
Rylee will be a senior this year at Grant Union High School, where she runs on the cross-country and track teams.
She also raises pigs for the fair and is interested in photography.
Her advice for young people who are interested in hunting?
“Listen to experienced people who know what they’re doing,” she said.