Braeleigh Miller is a new hero among hunters everywhere — and she hasn’t even turned 10 yet.
According to WXMI, the 8-year-old girl managed to bag a nearly 400-pound elk on Dec. 14, making her the youngest in the state of Michigan to successfully hunt one of the animals.
Miller’s father, Gunnar, told the television station that they had located a gang of elk the night before. When they came out the next morning, they were still there.
“They were all still in the field when it got daylight, and we waited for legal shooting hours, and we snuck across the field and they were in a perfect position in the field, I mean it couldn’t have unfolded any better,” Gunnar told the station.
And who says that hunting isn’t empowering? While Braeleigh is usually the only female hunter out there among her male relatives, she’s bested them in a critical way.
“It’s cool for me because I’ve never set a record before, my dad hasn’t set a record before, my grandpa hasn’t set a record before, so I’m like to them, ‘Ha-ha,'” she said.
There were some disbelievers on social media, particularly given the size of the gun involved.
“There were a few people on Facebook that were pretty skeptical being the size of the gun and the caliber of the gun and the amount of the kick that it has being that it was a full size,” Gunnar Miller said.
“It wasn’t a youth gun or anything, it was a full-size rifle, and a .308-caliber has a little bit of a kick to it, but she handled it like a champ.”
There were a lot of congratulations to go around on Facebook.
“Congratulations on the AWESOME hunt. May your belly be happy,” one user said.
“Congratulations!! Great job. You should be very proud of yourself,” another said.
And then there were the idiots: “I don’t know who disgusts me the most, this guy or the morons who congratulate his daughter.”
Well, whatever. In an age in which even high school baseball is deemed too dangerous by some, the idea of youth hunting must seem as crazy as being a jockey in Siberian tiger demolition derby. The mere act of hunting itself is just as morally dubious to this crowd.
So, imagine the kind of foaming rage that begins when this kind of person sees an 8-year-old girl who felled a 400-pound elk with a .308-caliber rifle. Imagine the kind of invective that travels from their brains to their keyboards as the sympathetic nervous system takes over. Why, those aren’t any words to use in a post about an 8-year-old!
Don’t buy into it. Take your kid hunting — for all of the reasons that Gunnar Miller laid out.
“Youth hunting in Michigan’s a dying sport, and that’s why Michigan actually opened the mentor youth program after studies that have proven in Michigan that the younger a kid is when they actually get into hunting, the more likely they are to continue it throughout their life,” Gunnar Miller said.
“So doing that study and everything obviously I would have gotten my kids into hunting at a young age no matter what, but to have the opportunity to have them be the one that’s pulling the trigger and actually harvesting the animal at a young age is a huge opportunity for them that we didn’t have when we were younger.”
Hunting teaches your kids responsibility. It teaches them respect for nature. It teaches them why we hunt. And, as an added bonus, you might tear up — just like Gunnar Miller did.
“Yeah I got pretty worked up, I was pretty excited,” Miller said.
As well he should have been.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.