Interview with Bowhunting Wife and Mom – Beka Garris

   03.01.22

Interview with Bowhunting Wife and Mom – Beka Garris

I’m not sure when I started following Beka Garris on Instagram but it’s been many years, I think even before she had her daughter. I’ve always been in awe of her skills, her strong voice in the outdoor industry, and her constant willingness to share her struggles, as well as her success. She’s a true inspiration and I’m so honored to know her.

I had the pleasure of doing an interview with her which can be read below. I encourage you to check out her Instagram after reading!

1. Thank you so much for doing this interview! You’ve been such a huge inspiration in the outdoor community, especially to all the mamas and families out there who thought they never could enjoy their passions with their children. Could you give us a bit of background into your hunting experience prior to family? Did you hunt when you were younger? What got you into trad bowhunting and how were you hunting before trad? 

I was lucky enough to be taught how to hunt at a young age as my dad was (and still is) a hunter. My siblings and I were all taught how to hunt and fish and we grew up in a very rural country area in Northern NJ. I took to hunting a bit more than my siblings did, and it was something I have been passionate about since I first started. I gun hunted until I was 16, then I started bowhunting with a compound. At age 26 I decided that I would like to try hunting with a traditional bow I haven’t picked up anything else since.

2. When and why did you start taking your daughter hunting? What kind of backlash have you experienced from showing the both of you out hunting together? 

I started taking Isabella along on hunts when she was roughly six months old. My husband works the night shift and with no family and friends nearby, I knew the only time I would be able to hunt was if I took her with me. I have received quite a bit of backlash, both from anti-hunters and hunters alike but I haven’t let it deter me. Many people think it’s just too extreme, but not so long ago it was simply a way of life for people to take their kids along with them in the woods.

3. What are the challenges of taking a young child hunting and what are some resolutions or hard realities when taking kids hunting? (please do mention your favorite carrier, gear, tips, tricks, snacks, whatever)

The biggest challenge is all mental. You have to overcome the idea of being “hardcore” and bring yourself back to simply enjoying every moment and being thankful for time out there. I try to see my hunts through my daughter’s eyes, as everything for her is so new and exciting. Some hunts are incredible and some are more difficult, but I’ve learned a lot from each one and am still learning. A few basic rules I’ve learned so far in the past three years

  • Get a good carrier that your child is comfortable in. I use a Chicco Smart Support and it’s been amazing
  • Bring lots of snacks and water! I try to keep lollipops in my pocket to whip out at a moment I need Isabella to be quiet
  • Make sure they are in appropriate clothing and comfortable
  • Don’t worry about getting up early. Just go when you can.
  • Point things out to them that you think they’d like. Tell them the names of birds, plants, trees….you will be shocked at what they remember
  • If they still nap, plan around nap time. When I first started taking Isabella, I would plan on hunting when she usually napped. She would nap in the carrier and I would have a quiet hunt. It was a win-win. However, evenings have always been her “witching hour”. I seldom attempt an evening hunt as she’s usually grumpy and ready for bed and it’s just easier to hunt mornings when she is in good spirits

4. Does she enjoy hunting? And what safety precautions do you take when out hunting with her?

She absolutely loves it, and it makes me so happy. I was worried that as she grew older she wouldn’t enjoy it but that hasn’t been the case. I try to mix things up by hunting different areas with her and always pack a fun meal for her to have as a picnic on the tailgate. We’re lucky to have so much public land nearby for us to hunt, and we often hunt public land. However, I do not hunt public land for turkey as there are too many accidents that happen yearly, and I don’t hunt public land during deer gun season. I also always carry a firearm wherever I hunt. That being said, I have never been in a situation where I felt I was in any sort of danger, and we rarely ever see any hunters while we are out.

5. Does she enjoy the whole process of hunting, from butchering to preserving to cooking?

Yes, she does, and I have noticed she will take much more interest in her food if she has a part in preparing it. I let her help with the whole process from butchering to cooking. This is also something I’ve received backlash on, but I believe that introducing her at such a young age is a good thing. She is unphased and thinks it’s simply a fact of life – which it is.

6. She recently got her own bow, right? It’s mostly for practice, for now, correct? When do you think she will be able to start hunting with her own bow? (are there local age laws in your area for what age people can start hunting, does she need to pass a hunter safety course?)

I started teaching Isabella how to shoot a bow at age 2, and she is now 3.5. I kept it simple and didn’t do too much coaching except about safety. She took to it quickly and is actually a great shot! I have seen major improvement this year and she generally hits what she is aiming at. I will leave it up to her as to when she wants to start hunting, but Ohio does have a 40 lb draw weight minimum for big game so I doubt that she will start with a traditional bow. However, if she does show an interest she can legally hunt small game with a traditional bow as soon as I feel she is ready.

7. What other activities, outdoor or otherwise, do y’all enjoy doing? 

Gardening, fishing, and bow fishing!

8. What tips do you have for other families to get outdoors in any capacity at any age? 

So many times I see families not getting outdoors with kids because it seems like a lot of work. My advice is to just do it. Don’t worry so much about it being perfect, get outside and let your kids be kids. Look up your local public lands and see what they have that would appeal to kids. Many states have public lands with hiking or biking trails, bridges, free fishing ponds, etc.

9. Thank you so much for your time! Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

Everyone’s journey is going to look different. Every family is different and every child is different. Something that may work for me, may not work for you. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and do what works best for YOU!

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Thanks so much to Beka for taking the time to do this interview and thank you for reading.

Please check out Beka’s Instagram and show some love for a fellow outdoor mom guiding our current and future conservation efforts.



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