By Michael Ritchie DC
Review of the book “Bowhunting: A Passion for Life”
Whether it be his world records or his storytelling, Monty Browning has made an impact on the lives of people who have come to know him. Humble, honest, and tough-as-nails are words and phrases that have been used to describe him. Truly a man’s man, Browning has done things his own way and lived to talk about it. His favorite saying is that “stupid should be painful”.
Monty has literally stared death in the face and goes back for more. Growing up in a small town without the influence of a father, Browning traded his bicycle to obtain his first longbow. He hasn’t put it down since.
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Monty has no corporate sponsors and has paid for his own hunts by working 30 years in the local post office. Now retired, he “climbs and trims sixty-foot pine trees” to pay for his hunting adventures, which have taken him around the world.
Hunting with traditional equipment, Monty has gained respect and scared guides by insisting that he get within ten yards for an ethical shot. In an era where everyone is trying to extend their shooting range, this get ‘em close style of hunting is finding a growing audience. So has his storytelling ability as he draws crowds wherever he speaks.
Monty’s self-effacing style makes you realize that he doesn’t think of himself as any better than anyone else. Stories like “gut shooting a trailer house and the skunk whisperer” show his great sense of humor.
He is married to his childhood sweetheart Annie and admits that even though his lifelong passion is bowhunting, she is his lifelong love.
I had the opportunity to first meet Monty when he was speaking at a wild game dinner in Cadillac, Michigan. My friend and founding president of Christian Bowhunters of America, David Roose had invited me to hear Browning. “I have never heard of him,” I remember saying at the time. “Is he related to the Browning family that builds firearms?” “No, not many have heard of him because he doesn’t have a TV show on the Outdoor Channel, but he is one of the best speakers I have ever heard.” David said, “You have to come and hear him.” Roose arranged for me to sit at the speaker’s table that night where I was able to speak to Browning one on one and book him for our wild game dinner the following year.
During the year as we planned to have him come to speak, he was open to telling me more about himself, his faith and adventures. “I had another real exciting Moose hunt this year, Michael. I’ll share a little bit about that at your dinner” he said.
Monty’s life seems to be a made for TV movie! After telling me his moose hunting story, I quickly booked him for two more speaking engagements during time planned to spend with us. Someone on Bowsite.com mentioned that Monty was in the process of putting his stories on paper and I became curious, so I emailed his wife, Annie. Browning, as she calls him, does not have a computer. “Annie, I heard that Monty is writing a book. Is that true?” I wrote. “He has most of the chapters already written, but he says he would never publish it because who would read it anyway.” “Besides,” she replied, quoting Monty, “I have no idea how to have a book published.”
As the time drew near for him to come to Michigan to speak for us, I took it upon myself to call friends to see how they went about having their books published as most were self-published.
So, when Monty stayed at our home for the night between engagements, I sat him down at the computer and showed him how to publish his book online and what it would basically cost. I also showed him a thread on Bowsite where I posted the question. “If Monty Browning wrote a book of his stories would you buy one?” The thread had over 200 responses in 2 days. A smile of amazement came over his face and he said, “Looks like I’m going to publish my book.”
Monty is no stranger to publishing. His stories have been featured in several magazines including Traditional Bowhunter. His writing style draws you close to the hunt in the same way he stalks his prey with his bow. “I don’t exaggerate any of my stories,” he tells me. “Ask anyone that knows me.” he adds, “I would rather downplay a story than add to it to make it sound better.” I had an art teacher in high school that said, “to be a good artist a person had to be a good observer and then they can capture the beauty in their painting.”
Monty has become such a good hunter/speaker/writer because he has learned to take it all in and is gifted enough to share it with us. My observation is that God has created a unique and ruggedly beautiful person when he made Monty Browning. Browning reminds me of Yellowstone National Park, bigger in real life and just as much a national treasure.
For information on obtaining a copy of his book called “Bowhunting – a Passion for Life” visit, Monty’s Book. The book is full of photos and stories of Browning’s hunting adventures and misadventures. A few trophies Monty has taken include former world record brown bear from Alaska, World record Cape buffalo from Africa and World record Water Buffalo all with a 90-pound longbow at under 15 yards.
This year Monty shot an Alaskan-Yukon moose at 7 yards! The guy never ceases to amaze me. If you need a speaker for your out door events he is the real deal!