90-Year-Old Hunter Tags a Mule Deer Buck in Idaho

90-Year-Old Hunter Tags a Mule Deer Buck in Idaho Outdoor Life

Mildred Bryant: The Grandma America Needs

Mildred Bryant killed her first deer at nine years old. 81 years later, the hardworking woman from New Plymouth, Idaho, is still going strong. This fall, she tagged a 3×4 mule deer buck, according to Idaho Fish and Game, all while dressed in blue jeans and a flannel shirt. At 90 years old, Bryant proves that age is just a number for deer hunters.

Bucking Tradition and Outshining the Menfolk

Bryant shares that she grew up near Coos Bay on the Oregon Coast. She did most of the same things her brother Buster did, such as riding horses and occasionally taking on bucking bulls. However, back in 1941, it was uncommon for fathers to take their nine-year-old daughters deer hunting.

One fall day, when her dad instructed her to stay home while he and Buster went into town, Bryant and a friend decided to go hunting on their own. Armed with her dad’s rifle, they ventured into the nearby woods and Bryant shot her first blacktail buck that afternoon. The only problem was that the two kids couldn’t carry the deer on their own.

“I went and got a rope and hung it by its horns, up in a tree,” she explained. “I gutted it out and hung it up so it would drain well.”

When Bryant’s dad returned home, he doubted his daughter’s story at first. However, Bryant persisted, and he eventually agreed to help her. It’s hard to imagine any father from a hunting family not feeling proud to see his nine-year-old daughter shoot a buck.

90-Year-Old Hunter Tags a Mule Deer Buck in Idaho Outdoor Life

That marked the beginning of Bryant’s life as a hunter. She later moved to the high desert of Central Oregon, where mule deer hunting opportunities were plentiful. On one occasion, she and her oldest daughter went hunting while her husband pursued another area. When he returned with a small three-point buck, Bryant surprised him by showing two larger bucks that the girls had harvested near their home.

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“He was so mad that I got this big deer that he would not eat the meat,” Bryant recalled. “He even swore that his deer tasted better than mine.”

Celebrating 81 Years in the Great Outdoors

In the following decades, Bryant hunted whenever possible while raising a family and managing their dairy farm. On her 89th birthday in 2021, she decided to celebrate her 80th season as a deer hunter. She made plans with her oldest daughter, Linda Erickson, to go hunting that year.

They had to postpone their plans until this fall when Bryant obtained a buck tag and Erickson arranged a hunt on a friend’s property in Malta, Idaho. For the hunt, Erickson loaned Bryant a 6.5 Creedmor rifle with a new scope, which provided better visibility than her old .270.

They positioned Bryant on a wooden stool near a fence line the following morning. Although she missed the first opportunity at a small buck, she didn’t pass up the chance when a larger 3×4 appeared 224 yards away. Bryant successfully dropped the deer on the spot. After skinning the buck, they enjoyed venison that evening. Bryant intends to display the mount next to the 4×4 buck that surpassed her husband’s 50 years ago—a reminder of a well-lived life.

“There’s nothing wrong with the outdoor life,” Bryant affirmed.