A woman has fired back at critics who labeled her a ‘bad mother’ for taking her two-year-old baby hunting – while insisting that all other parents should do the same to ‘normalize’ killing.
Stay-at-home mom, Beka Garris, 31, from Ohio, has been hunting since she was 10 years old – a hobby that she is now passing onto her daughter, Isabella. Having spent so much time outdoors during her own childhood, Beka is keen to pass this tradition along.
Beka sets out before sunrise and can easily bring home a 200-pound whitetail deer to feed the family. Although hunting days with a toddler in tow can be a little noisier, Beka and daughter Isabella have still managed to successfully harvest both deer and rabbit.
Parents online have deemed Beka’s pictures to be ‘shocking,’ criticizing her for exposing her daughter to hunting at the age of two. This isn’t something Beka is fazed by though who argues that she is continuing the traditions of her ancestors.
‘Every parent has the choice to raise their children how they see fit,’ Beka said.
‘Hunting with children of all ages is something our ancestors did all of the time. It’s not something that should be seen as “shocking”.
‘I choose to ignore what people say. The fact that my daughter loves accompanying me only strengthens my decision to take her. We love spending time in the outdoors learning about nature.
‘My dad is an avid hunter and so he started taking me along when I was ten. Hunting and fishing became a huge part of my childhood. Now we go at least several times a week during open season spending a few hours in the woods.
‘Hunts with my daughter can be shorter than if I went alone as I want to make sure she’s enjoying herself and stays comfortable in the weather.
‘Exposing a child to the outdoors and hunting at a young age will only help them create a stronger bond with nature. They will be raised thinking these activities are normal – as it should be.
‘I refuse to apologize for teaching my child that food comes from the woods, water, and the garden.’
For Beka, there’s more to hunting than spending time outdoors. Wild game is reportedly better for your health compared to shop-bought meat. Hunting can also aid conservation through population control.
‘It’s nice knowing where your food comes from and knowing the time and effort I put into the hunt brings a certain satisfaction,’ Beka said.
‘Wild game is something you rarely find in a grocery store and it’s both delicious and better for you. Conservation plays a big role in why I hunt too.
‘We field dress, skin, and cut up our animals. I’ll save the skull and some bones to bleach and create artwork. Feathers and hide are then kept to create a wall hanging or clothing. Meat is cleaned, cut up, and then frozen for future meals.
‘Some people may not understand displaying what we kill in our home but this shows respect to the animal. By creating something you can look at and remember, you get to appreciate its beauty.
‘Don’t expect all hunts to be successful but what matters are the great memories you take away every time.
‘I hope to have inspired both moms and dads to include their children more in the outdoors.’