Hunting While Pregnant

Tips and tricks from one pregnant hunter to another.

Photos and Story By: Emily Ledergerber, Artemis Colorado Ambassador

Check out this week’s episode of the Artemis Podcast, EP 17: Hunting While Pregnant with Emily Ledergerber and Kyla West for more on being in the woods with a baby bump.

I’m writing this in the middle of my second trimester. My baby bump is, well, bumping, first trimester woes are no longer, and overall I’m feeling pretty great. I can no longer see my feet when I look down, and bending over to tie my shoes is getting a bit tougher, but getting to wander around the woods and look for turkeys with my bow, makes me so very happy.

If you’re like me, you’re not going to stop hunting once you find out you’re pregnant. You’ll embrace the seasons and get out there with the rest of them. Exploring the wilderness, getting outside to move, and exercising your body are all great benefits of hunting, and great for pregnant bodies too. So why not?

It’s presently turkey season in Colorado. As the season advances (no turkey yet!), there are a few things that I’ve personally learned about hunting while pregnant. I’m no expert, this is my first pregnancy, and if you feel you need to consult with your doctor before partaking, please do. But hopefully some of these items will resonate and also translate into big game seasons too. 

Don’t pass on your first day, something you wouldn’t pass on your last.

I’m going to start with saying this is the biggest mistake I’ve made already this year. And pregnant or not, this is probably good advice for every hunter. But, when you’re pregnant, it’s really the case. I passed on a Jake over the weekend that would have been a great bird, only to get greedy and wait to see what else was coming behind him. Before I was even able to see the second bird, the initial Tom spooked and took the others with him. If only I would have flung an arrow at the first one!

Snacks and Water

I can no longer go anywhere without snacks. I have my hunting pant pockets stuffed, and extras in my backpack. A healthy trail mix blend of dried fruit and nuts has been my best friend. I’ll also mix in a Honey Stinger Waffle or Bobo Bar, and a bag of cheese cubes to hold myself over until lunch. Snacks have been wonderous for my season. And quite frankly, when I’m out there, I feel as if life may be over, if snacks aren’t available when my tummy starts feeling hungry. Which is basically all the time these days.  

Also make sure you have plenty of water to stay hydrated. It’s a huge bonus when you’re out there to avoid the pregnancy headache, and overall dehydration. You’ll be happy in and out of the field. 

The Hair Tie Trick

If you’re pregnant, you may already know about this trick, but it’s especially important with your hunting pants. Because who makes maternity hunting pants? And who wants to spend the money to buy them when you will only wear them for a short time? 

Personal admission: If you do have maternity hunting pants, I am actually quite envious of you right now.

The hair tie trick is for when your pants are getting too tight from your growing bump. Loop a hair tie through your button hole and then wrap the other end around the button. Tada. You now have a pair of pants that will hopefully stay up while you’re hunting. My belly is pretty big right now, so I can’t even come close to closing the zipper. I actually look pretty funny walking around like that, but who cares. You’re hunting, the best form of social distancing out there.

Insoles & Compression Socks

My feet have really been starting to hurt lately, especially my heels. And my ankles are starting to swell, yay! Just in case you didn’t read the sarcasm, that’s a sarcastic “yay!”

This one is different for everyone, but for my feet, I bought some cheap Dr. Scholls gel insoles, popped them in my boots and they have made a world of a difference in keeping my feet from getting too sore. And Sockwell compression socks have helped immensely to keep the ankle swelling down. It’s especially noticeable at the end of the day.

Bring Wipes

Another thing about pregnancy is that all of your organs get pushed up and smooshed to make room for your growing baby. Everyone talks about having to pee all of the time, but nobody talks about pooping. I mean, why would they? Girls don’t poop, right? But when you’re pregnant, at least for me and a few others I’ve spoken to, when you have to go, you have to go! Bring wipes, every time you are in the woods, whether you’re hunting or not. Seriously, you’ll thank me for this one!

Check out Episode 14 of the Artemis Podcast: The 3Ps with Anastasia Allison to get awesome information on how to poop outside in line with Leave No Trace principles.

Give Yourself Extra Time – Bending Over & Breathing

As bending over is getting harder due to your belly getting bigger, give yourself a little extra time to not only tie your shoes, but also get into position with your bow, shotgun, rifle, whatever your using, etc. especially if you’re in your second and third trimester. Things are a bit slower these days, and the extra time and patience you give yourself, will make a world of difference and should be less stressful overall.

Consider giving yourself enough time to get where you need to be. You’re breathing harder while hiking, especially uphill. And you’ll want to be sure to leave a little early because you may not be as fast as you were prior to being pregnant. 

Give Yourself A Break

You’re hunting with two heartbeats. That little being inside of you counts as the second. It’s okay to not go as hard as you normally would, or even get up every morning to be in the field. Give yourself a break. 

If you’re anything like me, I’m not sleeping well, at all. According to my doctor, my body is getting ready to be up at all hours of the night with a newborn. And with that said, sometimes I just really need to sleep in. I’ve passed on a few early mornings, and chosen to go out in the evenings instead. Good decisions on all fronts. 

Be happy that you’re out there doing what you love, and don’t let anyone make you feel that you have to push harder than what you’re feeling like at the time. 

Have a great season and amazing pregnancy. Feel free to email me and reach out for support or additional questions, we’re all in this together pregnant hunters!