A hunter in Colorado has come under heavy criticism after a wildlife protection agency shared photos of her posing with a dead mountain lion she’d just shot and killed.
The hunter, Franchesca Esplin, posted the photos of herself on the hunt last December, saying ‘this hunt has been at the top of my bucket list FOREVER’.
Prairie Protection Colorado (PPC), a non-profit organisation which aims to protect plants and wildlife in the area, shared the images again this week however, labeling the hunt ‘sadistic’, ‘unethical’ and ‘insane’.
PPC have called the hunt a ‘trophy kill’, which they believe should be illegal, and blasted those who ‘kill predator species for sport and fun’.
Deanna Meyer, executive director of PPC, says trophy kills are characterised by the ‘complete glee and elation [expressed by hunters] at the kills that they’ve performed’, and go against ethical hunting for survival and food.
Deanna, who says she’s lived off wild food for 25 years, told Yahoo:
I do not find anything wrong at all with ethical hunting. To me, that doesn’t include selfies of the dead animal with laughing and elation.
It’s not Franchesca that I’m after, although I think that her behavior and mentality is deplorable. But it’s not her. It’s the whole mentality that goes behind hunters.
Our goal is to educate people and then hopefully go through the long process of changing legislation, and to try to protect what we have left of our predator species.
Replying to comments on their Facebook page, the PPC said trophy hunting was:
…sadistic, [a] mental illness and insane. There is nothing sane about expressing pure joy in taking a life which she clearly did through her photos and her commentary.
We posted her picture for educational purposes to illustrate the mentality that runs underneath the cult of trophy hunting.
We have many more pictures of numerous people that illustrate this mentality. The voters of Colorado can decide if they want these types of people dictating wildlife policies.
At the moment, mountain lion hunters in Colorado have to obtain a license and have it on them while hunting, which allows them to ‘harvest’ one bobcat per hunter, per season.
The PPC is currently sharing a citizen petition with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to make the hunting and trapping of mountain lions and bobcats illegal. For more information, check out their website here.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.