Mum slammed for taking newborn baby out hunting with her
Physical therapist assistant Gabrielle Shaker from Pennsylvania, US, has always had a love for the outdoors.
With the help of her husband Cody, the 27-year-old found a new hobby – hunting animals.
Gabrielle has hunted squirrels, bears, deers, turkeys and pheasants and even a 150-pound whitetail deer.
Speaking about her first hunt, Gabrielle said: ‘As I held the shotgun, I aimed it at a pheasant and took my shot – it was liberating and right in that moment, I knew I was hooked.’
Even when Gabrielle became pregnant after three years of trying with IVF, she didn’t give up her favourite activity.
The mum began prepping for archery season in her first trimester, going on to make plans for rifle season, which started just a few days before her due date.
She had trained by hiking two to six miles every night.
Despite people telling her that she shouldn’t be hunting while pregnant, Gabrielle didn’t listen.
She said: ‘Although all of our friends and family didn’t think it would be a good idea, I didn’t want to miss out and went out hunting just before my due date.
‘As I was having contractions on and off throughout the whole day, I was apprehensive about going – but it was my first day going on a hunting shoot whilst pregnant and I didn’t want to miss out on the season whilst I could still hunt.
‘My intuition kept telling me that I would be fine, so I listened and decided to hike up the side of a mountain, where I came face to face with a turkey – I aimed up my shotgun and pressed the trigger.
‘I was so happy, as I had hunted my first ever solo turkey – and whilst having contractions – I was so proud of myself.’
Her intuition was right, as baby boy, Rhett Lee, didn’t arrive until two weeks later.
Not wanting to waste the season after giving birth, six weeks after giving birth, Gabrielle wanted to get back to action, and she took her baby with her.
She added: ‘I decided to take him along with us. As I strapped him around me and placed his little earmuffs to protect his ears, I felt a new sense of safety and couldn’t wait to get out into the woods.
Gabrielle says it’s important to her to always respect the animals and uses them to provide meat for her family.
She said: ‘I do feel sad whenever I hunt, but I respect the animal and the life it’s lived and that’s the attitude of a true outdoorsman
‘I know hunting isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I love getting to watch the sunrise and provide fresh meat for my family, as well as taking on the challenge that hunting brings.
‘I hope that by taking Rhett out at such a young age, will help him to develop a love for the outdoors, as well as hunting and that he follows in our footsteps when he’s older.’
She has also posted pictures online with the animals and has been criticised by people online.
She added: ‘Despite getting a lot of support from my family and friends, there have been a few negative comments from others who have seen my photos online, such as “why do you want your son to be a murderer?” – but I don’t care what they have to say, as they don’t know hunting like I do and it’s my life, not theirs.
‘I wish people would understand that they don’t need to agree with my lifestyle, and just because they don’t like it, doesn’t mean I’m going to stop anytime soon.
‘Hunting is a passion of mine now and there’s no better feeling than being out in the woods with the ones you love, getting free-range meat that you can enjoy for months to come – it’s fantastic.’
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