WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT
A mum has hit back at her online trolls who say she's a bad parent for taking her two-year-old daughter hunting, urging others to follow suit to help 'normalise' the outdoor pursuit.
Stay-at-home mum Beka Garris, 31, has been hunting since she was just 10 years old, and has since passed on her love for the hobby to her young daughter Isabella, aged two.
Keen to pass her ancestors' tradition along, Beka, who is from Ohio, has started taking Isabella out on hunts with her, setting out before sunrise to bring home a 200-pound whitetail deer to feed the family.
While hunting with a toddler isn't quite as straightforward, together the mum and daughter tag-team have managed to successfully kill deer and rabbit.
Responding to Beka's photos posted online, parents have criticised her for exposing her young daughter to such a practice, but the adventure-loving mum refuses to apologise.
She said: "Every parent has the choice to raise their children how they see fit.
"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 10. 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 apologise for teaching my child that food comes from the woods, water, and the garden."
Beka believes there's more to hunting than spending time outdoors, arguing that wild game is better for you than shop-bought meat, and that killing animals can also help 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 continued.
"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 mums and dads to include their children more in the outdoors."
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