A Burnsville, North Carolina mother recently sparked a controversy online when she said she believes hunting trips are the perfect way to encourage 'family bonding'. 31-year-old Ashley Murphy, who is a dental assistant by trade, took up hunting for the first time just last month but is already a convert and has even set up an Instagram page dedicated to her outings.
Murphy initially got into the sport because her husband of 11 years, 33-year-old Brandon Murphy, owns a hunting broker business and often spends the year traveling all over the world to track and kill dangerous game. And after Murphy took it up, she slowly introduced their eight-year-old son Bryson to the controversial activity as well.
According to the Daily Mail, the mother now says that their regular trips have proven to be "great father-and-son bonding time.' The 31-year-old feels that the hunting trips ensure Bryson isn't too heavily reliant on computers or social media for entertainment and the "memories made in the field are priceless."
While both her father and grandfather were proponents of hunting, it was Brandon who convinced her that it was worth a try. "We've been married 11 years and dated for four before that, so we've been together 15 years in total. We met in high school and the very first night he called, he harvested a deer, so he told me I was good luck," she said.
Murphy also explained some of the other reasons she grew increasingly smitten with the activity. "When I learned how hunting was helping stop world hunger because the food can be donated to people in need, and about all the organizations doing that, I couldn't help but get involved," she said.
And because her husband was away so much of the time, each of their excursions proved to be valuable family time. After an initial settling period, Bryson now reportedly joins his dad on local trips whenever he can, accompanied by Murphy when she can get time off work herself.
"Brandon took him on his first hunting trip last year. It's something he's wanted to do and share with him since he was born. It's great father-and-son bonding time," she revealed about their son's first experience in the field.
"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 also insists that the sport "is not just about killing animals" and that a few bad apples are giving all the others a bad name. "It's so much more than that," she said. "It teaches you about animals, their habits and how nature weeds out the weak.
"'Some hunters give the rest of us a bad name," she continued. "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 have [sic] lived long, happy lives."