One of the big questions that comes up among hunters and shooters is whether or not they can continue hunting and shooting while pregnant. Each person and pregnancy is different, so you always need to first check with your doctor, but I was lucky enough to hunt throughout my pregnancy. To protect my privacy, I decided not to make my pregnancy public until Jax was born. Once I posted that Jax had arrived from the hospital, I received a wide array of comments. Some people even claimed I must have had a surrogate because I never stopped working.
One thing that I believe helps pregnant women continue to shoot is using a suppressor. I was always concerned about the loud noises from shooting and being able to have a suppressor on all my guns makes me feel much better. Silencer Central has made the process easy and they arrive directly to your door.
Ben and I went on an incredibly difficult and physical tahr hunt while I was seven months pregnant. We hiked all day chasing tahr up and down mountains. Many people do this hunt with helicopters (probably for good reason), but I wanted the full experience with my guide, Zion Pilgrim from Wilderness Quest. The hunt was beyond amazing and I was able to shoot a stunning tahr. The steep conditions were a bit scary from time to time but we were able to get it done. My doctor told me that I could continue doing all of the things I normally do; I just shouldn’t introduce a new activity. I didn’t tell our guides that I was seven months pregnant until the end because I didn’t want anyone going easy and not giving it their all. The only real challenge was after all the hiking, my legs would cramp up badly at night and I was sleeping in a mummy sleeping bag.
All the way up until Jax’s arrival Ben and I carried on with our lives as normal. Just days before giving birth we were out filling up feeders, shooting our bows and planting food plots.
After having Jax on August 20, Ben and I began hunting again immediately in September. We scored incredible archery elk tags that year which began September 1 in our home state of South Dakota on the Rosebud reservation. Thanks to our parents, I began hunting right away. My parents stayed with our new baby Jax and Ben’s parents took care of our older kids while we chased elk all day.
My parents drove Jax back to me every night so the he could spend the nights with me and I could nurse. In order to ensure I had enough milk for him to make it through each day, I had to take a break every couple hours of hunting and put everything on ice. It was not easy but we made it work. I hunted non-stop for a week straight, walking up to 16 miles a day, but I finally had to take a break. Getting up every hour with a newborn and then hunting non-stop all day, I had reached the point of exhaustion.
I took a couple days off to catch up on sleep, but then got back after it. During this time we were also building our new home for which I was the general contractor. To say I was extremely busy would probably be an understatement, but looking back I wouldn’t have it any other way. On the morning of Ben’s birthday, September 27, he was able to shoot a beautiful bull with his bow. He called me and told me to grab my frame pack and my bow as the bulls were screaming. I dropped Jax off with Ben’s mom, grabbed my things and headed out to the field.
While we were taking photos and cutting up his bull, we heard another bull screaming. We thought it was the other big bull in the area so we dropped what we were doing and took off after it with my bow in hand. An hour later we had two of the biggest bulls down that we had seen all season and I couldn’t have asked for a better day of hunting. The only downside was the huge packing job ahead and there were only three of us. One quarter after another we got everything packed out. I can’t think of a better workout to get your core strength back than packing out elk quarters a month after giving birth.
Everyone is different but I was determined to continue hunting and make the most of my tags. I’m so thankful to this day for our parents and all their help and support. It may not always work out that well, but this is proof that if you set your mind to something anything is possible.