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A hunter has defended her new hobby after receiving backlash for heading out to kill animals while pregnant with her son, who now joins her on hunting trips.
Gabrielle Shaker, 27, has always had a love of the great outdoors, and was eventually introduced to hunting with the help of her husband, Cody.
Speaking about her first hunt, she 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."
Now Gabrielle, a physical therapist from Pennsylvania, has hunted everything from squirrels, turkeys and pheasants to bears and whitetail deer.
Even when she became pregnant after three years of trying for a baby through IVF, she was determined not to give up her favourite pastime.
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 baby boy, Rhett Lee, didn't end up arriving until two weeks later, meaning her intuitions had been right.
Just six weeks after giving birth, Gabrielle decided she didn't want to waste the season and went back out - this time taking her newborn son with her.
"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," she recalled.
Gabrielle said she's also been criticised by others online after posting pictures with the slain animals.
She continued: "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."
Gabrielle said she uses the animals she kills to provide meat for her family, adding: "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 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."
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