A mum has defended her choice to take her family out hunting by saying that it's a good bonding activity that helps keep kids off their iPads.

Dental assistant Ashley Murphy, 31, reckons that going out hunting as a family is great for everyone, having shot her first gun just last month and being hooked ever since.

Ashley, who hails from Burnsville in North Carolina, now goes shooting with husband Brandon, 33, and their son, Bryson - who, at just eight years old, already has four kills under his belt.

Ashley and Brandon, who have been together for 15 years and married for 11, have always had had a special relationship with hunting.

"We met in high school and the very first night he called, he harvested a deer, so he told me I was good luck," Ashley said, adding that she gradually started taking interest in the hobby.

"When I learned how hunting was helping stop world hunger because the food can be donated to people in need, and about all the organisations doing that, I couldn't help but get involved."

She fired her first gun last month while on a family trip to South Africa, recalling: "I harvested a black spring buck that we'd hunted for a day-and-a-half.

"We walked miles over the rough terrain. I remember spotting him through the scope, trying to focus, aim and follow through with my shot like my husband had taught me.

"I closed my eyes and didn't see the buck go down, so wasn't sure if it hit. Then Brandon told me, 'Great shot.' As well as feeding ourselves with the meat we harvested, we were able to feed several villagers, too.

"On the trip, we harvested four bucks in total, so we're going to display them together at home."

Brandon goes hunting across the globe all year round, heading to Canada to track bear and mountain lions and Argentina for dangerous game.

Bryson accompanies his dad for local trips whenever, while Ashley tags along when she's not at work.

"When we arrive in camp, we check the equipment and go over gun safety," Ashley explained.

"We make sure Bryson is comfortable being around a firearm too. Hunting has taught him so much about gun safety and knowledge and how to respect them.

"We then go over our plan of how to pursue the animals, talking about situational awareness and how to respect the wildlife."

Ashley is proud that her son doesn't have to rely on computers and social media to stay amused, explaining: "Hunting provides a great lesson in conservation and being self-sufficient. It teaches children what it takes to be a good steward of the land and how to respect what we have. As a family, it means we don't need phones and iPads to have a great time.

She continued: "Some hunters give the rest of us a bad name. There are those out there who will shoot anything that moves, no matter what it is, but that isn't true hunting. We hunt for food and respect our land and animals.

"We don't just do it for the fun of it. We'll put the taxidermied animal on the wall, because it's beautiful and the meat in the freezer. We also make sure we take animals that've lived long, happy lives."

Ashley added: "We understand hunting isn't for everyone, but we try to show that we are helping by sending kids to bed with full bellies and donating our harvests to others.

"All the stories Bryson has learned around the campfire have turned him into a well-rounded young man, who is learning to respect nature and appreciate life."

Featured Image Credit: PA Real Life

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