Hunter gets death threats after posting picture of grizzly bear he just killed

Rob WaughMonday 17 Sep 2018 11:48 am Share this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messenger A hunter has received death threats after posting images where he posed with a dead grizzly bear he had just killed. Former professional hockey player Tim Brent, 34, posted the images after killing the bear in Yukon, Canada. Brent said, ‘Alright folks, here is my Mountain Grizzly! We put an awesome stalk on him but he spotted us at about 75 yards. ‘Instead of taking off he turned and came right at us. It was very easy to tell this bear owned the valley we were hunting in and wasn’t scared of anything!’ 999 operator describes harrowing 40 minute call with mother she couldn’t save in Grenfell In another photo, Brent poses holding up the dead animal’s paw saying, ‘Did you know on average a single Grizzly eats around 40 Moose and Caribou calves during each calving season?’ The posts provoked a flood of anger and revulsion when he shared them on Instagram – with some commenters posting death threats. Some posters said they hoped he would be mauled to death by a bear – and one suggested they would call in a ‘Mexican cartel’ to kill him. In response, a defiant Brent posted images of his fridge filled with meat from animals he has killed. Share this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messenger

 

Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2018/09/17/hunter-gets-death-threats-after-posting-picture-of-grizzly-bear-he-just-killed-7952015/?ito=cbshare

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/


A former Canadian pro-hockey player has come under fire after tweeting about hunting and killing a grizzly bear earlier this week.

Posting on Twitter a photo of himself posing with the bear, 34-year-old Tim Brent said they’d ‘put an awesome stalk on him’.

Explaining that the animal had spotted them at about 75 yards, he added: “Instead of taking off he turned and came right at us. It was very easy to tell this boar owned the valley we were hunting in and wasn’t scared of anything!”

Brent, who used to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs in Canada’s National Hockey League, has since also posted photos of ‘his’ Yukon moose, which he said ‘absolutely humbled’ him.

Brent has since received backlash for both his hunting habits and openly boasting about them. His tweet where he poses with the dead bear has racked up 20,000 comments.

It’s even caught the attention of several big names, including comedian Ricky Gervais, who regularly speaks out about animal rights. He tweeted: “I bet killing this beautiful bear put ‘an awesome stalk’ on Tim too.”

Sherlock actor Amanda Abbington also condemned Brent’s actions – and was clearly not holding back, writing: “You are a c***. A stupid, inbred, unfeeling piece of s*** c***.”

Others said the photo and caption were ‘disgusting’, ‘horrible’ and ‘nauseating’.

Brent later tweeted to say he’d even received death threats, writing: “These are the types of messages I am getting on twitter in response to my moose and bear hunts.

“I would love to know what constitutes a threat or abuse for Twitter? This is what we are up against as Hunters.”

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/Tim Brent

Fierce critic of Wyoming grizzly bear hunt scores license

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/fierce-critic-of-wyoming-grizzly-bear-hunt-scores-license/

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A fierce critic of grizzly bear hunting who has made a career photographing the animals has drawn a tag for Wyoming’s first such hunt in 44 years.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reported Thursday that Tom Mangelsen drew No. 8 on an issuance list that will allow up to 10 grizzly hunters into the field starting Sept. 15. He was up against 3,500 Wyoming residents and 2,327 nonresidents vying for a shot at the tags.

Mangelsen, who credited being chosen to “dumb luck,” was among scores of people from around the country who applied for the tags as a means of civil disobedience intended to slow the hunt. Wildlife managers say the tactic is legal.

The hunt for which Mangelsen’s tag is valid will end after the first female bear is killed. Up to 10 male grizzlies can be killed.

___

Information from: Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News And Guide, http://www.jhnewsandguide.com

American hunter rips critics who bashed her for shooting giraffe and taking photos celebrating kill

American hunter rips critics who bashed her for shooting giraffe and taking photos celebrating kill
Tess Thompson Talley posted photos of herself with the giraffe she killed in 2017, but began making the rounds on social media in June. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

 

An American hunter who sparked outrage with photos that show her striking a victorious pose in front of a giraffe she killed in South Africa is hitting back at her critics.

The controversial images, initially shared by Kentucky native Tess Thompson Talley in 2017, began making the rounds on social media after the Twitter account for Africa Digest posted them online toward the end of June. The obscure news website described her as a “white American Savage who is partly neanderthal.”

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

AfricaDigest@africlandpost

White american savage who is partly a neanderthal comes to Africa and shoot down a very rare black giraffe coutrsey of South Africa stupidity. Her name is Tess Thompson Talley. Please share

Celebrities including actress Debra Messing and comedian Ricky Gervais were quick to join conservationists slamming the Kentucky hunter, but Talley has since rejected their fiery animal rights advocacy. In a statement to Fox News, she explained that she killed the old giraffe to prevent it from killing younger calves — a practice called “conservation through game management.”

“The giraffe I hunted was the South African sub-species of giraffe. The numbers of these sub-species is actually increasing due, in part, to hunters and conservation efforts paid for in large party by big game hunting,” she said. “The breed is not rare in any way other than it was very old. Giraffes get darker with age.”

While fewer than 100,000 giraffes remain on the continent, the sub-species Talley hunted has seen a 167% increase in population — up about 21,000 — since 1979. Meanwhile, the overall giraffe population has decreased by as much as 40%.

Talley also noted the giraffe, about 18 years old and unable to breed, has so far killed three younger bulls able to breed, ultimately curbing the growth of its herd.

When she first posted the photos more than a year ago, she described her South Africa trip as a “dream hunt.”

“Spotted this rare black giraffe bull and stalked him for quite a while,” she wrote. “I knew it was the one. He was over 18 years old, 4,000 lbs. and was blessed to be able to get more than 2,000 lbs. of meat from him.”

Trophy hunting is legal in several African countries, including South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

“People will say stuff behind a computer screen they’d never say to your face. She was hunting in South Africa and giraffes are legal to hunt in South Africa,” Paul Babaz, the president of hunting advocacy group Safari Club International, told CBS.

The trophy fee for a giraffe is about $2,000 to $3,000 per animal, with the funds going toward the nearby community. It helps prevent poaching and provides incentive to make sure big game animals don’t become instinct, according to Babaz.

“Without that… the poachers will come in and kill the animals indiscriminately, which is very unfortunate,” he said.

Grizzly committee to vote on delisting strategy for northwest Montana bears

SUBSCRIBE FOR 33¢ / DAY
National Elk Refuge grizzly bears
A grizzly bear sow and cubs roam the National Elk Refuge south of Grand Teton National Park. Grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem have been removed from federal Endangered Species Act protection and handed over to state wildlife agency management in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee meets in Polson, Montana this week to consider last steps toward removing Montana’s largest population of grizzly bears from the Endangered Species List.

IGBC members meet on Tuesday and Wednesday to possibly adopt the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem conservation strategy, the blueprint directing how state wildlife agencies would manage grizzlies if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delists them.

FWS has already removed about 700 grizzly bears in the three-state area known as the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from the endangered list. Wyoming Game and Fish Department has proposed selling hunting licenses for at least 22 grizzlies this fall. Idaho has a quota of one male grizzly for hunting. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks commissioners opted to skip a grizzly hunt in 2018 over concerns that pending lawsuits against the delisting might block a fall hunt.

On Friday Idaho Fish and Game Dept. announced its system for a grizzly hunting lottery, with applications accepted between June 15 and July 15. The drawing is limited to Idaho residents with a valid state hunting license who must pay a nonrefundable $16.75 application fee and prepay the tag fee of at least $166.75. Unsuccessful applicants will get their tag fees refunded.

About 1,000 grizzlies live in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, which spreads along the Rocky Mountains from the Canadian border with Glacier National Park south almost to Missoula. They are considered geographically and genetically distinct from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem bears.

If the IGBC members approve the conservation strategy on this week, it may form the basis of the federal delisting rule set to be published later in 2018.

“It essentially commits the agencies to follow the spirit of the conservation strategy,” said IGBC spokesman Dillon Tabish. “This isn’t the end of the public opportunity to comment. Any actions they (the participating agencies) would have to take must follow public process.”

FWS Grizzly Recovery Coordinator Hillary Cooley said the final delisting rule remained a ways off.

“We’ve got an initial draft, but it has a lot of review to go through,” Cooley said on Friday. “We don’t have a specific date right now, other than by the end of 2018.”

Cooley explained that while the IGBC executive committee’s endorsement is important to the federal rule-making process, the individual agencies, such as the National Park Service, state wildlife managers and Blackfeet and Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal governments, sign separately.

The federal delisting rule sets mortality limits for how many bears may die before Endangered Species Act protections might be re-imposed. The conservation strategy guides local wildlife managers in how to avoid that situation.

“If a state or tribe decides to hunt at some time, that’s their business,” Cooley said. “What matters to us is they stay within the mortality limits, no matter what the cause.”

The strategy has received extensive criticism of its methods for measuring bear population trends, habitat quality and allowance of hunting opportunities. Mike Bader, an advocate for keeping grizzlies under ESA protection, said the new strategy appeared legally vulnerable.

“They’re just rushing this through as fast as they can,” Bader said on Friday. “I don’t think they’ve dotted the i’s or crossed the t’s on what the grizzly bear needs.”

Bader noted that seven NCDE grizzlies have died in the past few weeks, including four that were hit by vehicles on roadways. He said the strategy made overly optimistic assumptions about how fast grizzly numbers are growing, which could prove disastrous if conditions change unexpectedly.

A federal judge in Missoula has scheduled an August 31 hearing on challenges to the Greater Yellowstone grizzly delisting. Wyoming’s proposed grizzly hunting season starts right after that, and could be derailed if the judge rules to keep the bear federally protected or requires more time for review.

One issue the lawsuit raises is whether FWS can remove protection from some distinct population segments of bears (such as the Greater Yellowstone) without dooming recovery in smaller areas such as the Cabinet-Yaak or North Cascades ecosystems. A similar lawsuit involving delisting gray wolves around the Western Great Lakes ordered FWS to take a much harder look at how removing protections from one population segment might affect the others.

Tabish said the final 144-page strategy has an appendix with about 60 pages of responses to past public comments. Tuesday’s meeting will further discuss how the NCDE and Yellowstone ecosystem bear populations might link in the future.

The executive committee plans to tour the National Bison Range and some other parts of the Mission Valley affected by grizzly activity on Wednesday.

Cecil the Lion’s infamous death didn’t actually do much to change trophy-hunting laws

https://www.popsci.com/cecil-lion-death-trophy-hunting-law

Even beloved animals rarely hold our attention for long.

cecil the lion in 2010

The iconic Cecil in 2010.

When Cecil the Lion was slain by American dentist Walter Palmer in July 2015, the incident sparked fury around the globe. The 13-year-old lion was a popular attraction at Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, known for his striking black mane and comfort with tourist vehicles. His fate drew intense news coverage, a flurry of celebrity tweets, and an impassioned monologue from Jimmy Kimmel.

But that short spike in public attention wasn’t enough to inspire lawmakers to make widespread changes to trophy-hunting policies, a new report indicates. Researchers at Indiana University Bloomington found that people really were more concerned about lions and trophy hunting after the incident, yet the impact of that interest proved limited.

“There was this moment of extreme attention focused on lions after Cecil’s death, but it really was fleeting,” says coauthor David Konisky, an environmental policy researcher.

Individual animals—however appealing they are and however upsetting their deaths may be—don’t have a great track record for changing conservation policies, he says. Cecil may not have overhauled the rules on trophy imports, but he was still a pretty impressive poster lion.

To understand Cecil’s legacy, Konisky and his colleague Stefan Carpenter investigated internet search histories in the aftermath of his death. Right after the news broke, people around the world looked up terms related to lion conservation and trophy hunting 50 times more frequently than in the previous two years. But three weeks later, the spike in searches had already waned. In the six to 12 months following Cecil’s death, public interest was only slightly higher than in the two years before the incident.

The team also examined new laws in the United States (and the other seven countries that most often import lion trophies) in the year after Cecil’s death. They found that Cecil’s demise had only a limited impact on the adoption of new rules to restrict trophy imports. This isn’t surprising, Konisky says. “These windows of opportunity are short and often insufficient to create the impetus for policy change.” However, he says, “There were some policies that were already underway, and it may be that Cecil’s death helped push them over the finish line.”

The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution to fight the illegal wildlife trade on July 30, 2015. In November France issued a ban on lion trophy imports. Cecil’s death may have influenced this move, although it’s hard to know by how much, Carpenter said in an email.

In the United States, several bills were named after Cecil. However, only New Jerseyand Hawaii passed new laws to restrict the import, sale, or possession of animal parts that year. In December 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed one subspecies of lion as threatened and another as endangered; however, the original petition to update the big cats’ statuses had been filed in 2011.

Cecil may have made people more aware of lion trophy hunting. Still, in the United States, the average citizen does not spend much time thinking about lions, Konisky says. “Having a brief spurt of attention is not going to create long-term demand for policy change.”

There are times when a high-profile crisis can draw enough public scrutiny to spur policy changes. This happened after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979.

However, Konisky says, he’s not aware of any incidents involving a famous animal that sparked major changes to conservation laws—or even captured worldwide attention the way Cecil’s death did. “People are really concerned about air pollution and water pollution, but issues around endangered species don’t typically garner a lot of concern or interest,” he says.

For many people, though, the lion’s story was uniquely compelling. Early accounts were filled with “salacious details” of Cecil’s wounding and death, Konisky and Carpenter wrote in the journal Oryx on November 2. “People found it objectionable on many levels,” Konisky says. “It made a mark on folks.”

There are signs that people in the United States are beginning to pay more attention to big game hunting. More than 40 airlines announced in August 2015 that they would refuse to ship lion, elephant, leopard, rhinoceros, and buffalo trophies. In October 2016, the United States banned the import of trophies from captive lions. And when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to end a ban on importing elephant trophies last month, the backlash was intense. Several days later President Trump announced the ban would stay in place for now.

So it’s possible that future hunts will create even more of an outcry. On the other hand, Cecil’s son Xanda was also killed by a game hunter this summer and received less intense news coverage. “If we had a big focusing event, I would not necessarily expect a different outcome than we saw with Cecil the Lion,” Konisky says.

Grizzly bear trophy hunt in Yellowstone area could be approved today

May 23 at 7:00 AM

A grizzly bear roams near Beaver Lake in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. The state’s Game and Fish Commission votes Wednesday on a grizzly bear hunt that would permit the killing of up to 22 bears. (Jim Urquhart/AP)

A Wyoming wildlife commission will vote Wednesday on whether to approve the state’s first grizzly bear hunt in more than four decades, a proposal that could lead to the killing of as many as 22 bears just one year after Yellowstone-area grizzlies were removed from the endangered species list.

Grizzly bears in the Lower 48 were federally protected in 1975, when only about 136 of the animals remained in and around Yellowstone National Park. Their numbers had rebounded to about 700 by last year, prompting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the Yellowstone population and leave its management to the states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Montana in February decided against opening a trophy hunt, and Idaho, home to the smallest number of grizzlies, this month approved a fall huntof a single male bear.

Under Wyoming’s proposal, a maximum of one female or 10 male grizzlies could be killed inside the state’s section of a federally designated “demographic monitoring area” — a zone of “suitable” bear habitat where biologists track the species’ population. Another 12, male or female, could be hunted outside that area. No hunting would be allowed inside Yellowstone, nearby Grand Teton National Park or the road that connects them. The Wyoming plan also includes a no-hunt buffer zone in a region east of Grand Teton where several bears adored by photographers and tourists are known to roam and den.


Wyoming’s proposal would allow for the hunting of a maximum of one female or 10 males within Zones 1-6. Up to 12 bears, female or male, could be hunted in Zone 7. (Wyoming Fish and Game Department)

Federal biologists say limited hunting is unlikely to harm the overall grizzly population in the Yellowstone area, and Wyoming officials have described their proposal as conservative. “The question is not whether you hunt grizzly bears or not,” Gov. Matt Mead, a Republican, told C-SPAN earlier this month. “The question is whether grizzly bears have grown enough in terms of population and in habitat that they can be a sustainable species. And clearly they have.”

But the hunting plan has faced heavy opposition from conservation groups and others who say it would imperil the population. More than 200 tribal nations have condemned the idea of hunting an animal they consider sacred and proposed to instead relocate grizzlies to tribal lands. More than 100 wildlife photographers wrote a letter calling on Mead to prioritize the wishes — and dollars — of tourists who come to the region in hopes of spotting “one of the most storied, beloved and photographed bear populations in the world.”

In another recent letter to the governor, 73 scientists said the hunt would recklessly endanger a vulnerable population that has lost food sources, including white bark pine, due to climate change, and limit Yellowstone bears’ ability to connect with a larger population of grizzlies in northwest Montana. (Those bears, in and around Glacier National Park, remain protected under the Endangered Species Act, although Fish and Wildlife is considering delisting them as well.)

The letter, written by the former federal grizzly bear biologist David Mattson, said allowing a dozen deaths outside the demographic monitoring area, where approximately 80 to 100 grizzlies live, would be “tantamount to planned extirpation,” in that region. Hunting, it continued, “is ethically irresponsible, unwarranted and not in the public’s interest.”


Grizzly bear No. 399 crosses a road in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming with her three cubs in 2011. The Wyoming grizzly proposal includes a no-hunt buffer zone east of Teton in an area where 399 and other famous bears are known to den. (Tom Mangelsen/AP)

Conservation organizations say hunting would add unnecessary deaths to the dozens of grizzlies killed by humans each year as the bears expand farther into developed areas.

“Grizzly bears have only just begun to recover, and hunting could sabotage that crucial process,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “People love these bears and don’t want to see them killed just so somebody can put a trophy on the wall.”

At least 56 grizzlies died within the demographic monitoring area last year, many after being hit by cars, shot in self-defense by hunters or lethally “removed” by wildlife agencies for killing livestock or seeking out human food. Of seven deaths recorded this year, four have been in Wyoming. Three were killed by state bear managers — one for breaking into a building for food, and two for “frequenting a calving area” and “bold behavior toward humans.” The fourth, an elderly bear that could not lift its hind legs, was euthanized, according to federal records.

Like conservation groups, Wyoming officials cite those numbers as talking points, but they use them instead to justify a hunt. Hunters, they say, could help weed out problem bears.

“The agency is removing every year several female and male bears for conflict reasons, and if hunting reduces that, it’s a good thing,” Brian Nesvik, chief game warden for the state Game and Fish Department, told the Casper Star-Tribune.

Wyoming’s proposal has gotten support from the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International, a group that promotes hunting. Even if approved by the state game and fish commission on Wednesday, however, it could be stymied in court later this year.

Several lawsuits have challenged the delisting of Yellowstone grizzlies, and a U.S. District Court judge earlier this year ordered all parties to combine their arguments into a single set of briefs. A decision is expected this summer, before the September start of hunting seasons in Wyoming and  Idaho.

Read more:

Grizzly bears are spreading far beyond Yellowstone National Park. Can people and the bears coexist?

The true story of two fatal grizzly bear attacks that changed our relationship with wildlife

Could a bear break into that cooler? Watch these grizzlies try.

Watch a sleepy bear that just isn’t ready to stop hibernating

End Trophy Hunting in the National Park Where Cecil the Lion Was Brutally Murdered

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/end-trophy-hunting-national-park-cecil-lion-brutally-murdered/

We all know his name … it appeared on countless news channels … he was even projected on the Empire State Building. Cecil the lion’s tragic death brought trophy hunting to the forefront of global conversation like no other case did. People from all walks of life spoke out, changed their Facebook profile pictures, and donated money to the cause, but as media hype died down, the vast majority forgot all about it after a few short weeks. Unfortunately, trophy hunting is still happening and innocent animals are still suffering – in the same place Cecil called home.

A petition on Care2 has been launched demanding that the Zimbabwean government intervene and stop allowing heartless trophy hunters to kill endangered animals around Hwange National Park. This is where Walter Palmer paid $50,000 to brutally end Cecil’s life without even actually “hunting.” Many other disturbing facts behind the infamous case are being brought to light in a new book by the man who studied Cecil for eight years before the tragedy, including how Cecil was lured to the nearby conservatory where lion research was performed and how the Zimbabwe government slid it all under the rug.

The bottom line is that as long as trophy hunting is allowed, animals will be murdered for profit. If Cecil’s story touched you, signing the petition is a simple step you can take in his honor. There is no reason this had to happen to Cecil, and no other animal should be put in the position of being murdered and tortured for the pleasure of cruel and evil trophy hunters. Zimbabwe’s government needs to be held accountable for not taking the crime seriously, and it’s time they call an end to all trophy hunting in and around Hwange National Park once and for all!

Buzz Petition

Tell the Trump Administration: Stop Promoting International Trophy Hunting!

https://act.nrdc.org/letter/trophy-hunting

In a new low, the Trump administration has created an advisory council dedicated exclusively to promoting the killing of imperiled wildlife species for sport.

Filled with trophy hunters and gun industry lobbyists, the International Wildlife Conservation Council now wields considerable influence over America’s international hunting policies, putting the future of vulnerable species like elephants, lions, and giraffes at grave risk.

Tell Interior President Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to stop promoting international trophy hunting and immediately dismantle the IWCC.

Your message will be sent to:

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke
President Donald Trump

Subject line:

Dismantle the International Wildlife Conservation Council

(Consider adding your own thoughts — personalized messages are especially effective)

Your Information

First name*
Last name*
Email address*
Street address

DONALD TRUMP JR. SHOULD BE DEPORTED FOR HUNTING ELEPHANT, PETA BILLBOARD DEMANDS

President Donald Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. deserves to be deported for hunting and killing an elephant and other wildlife, animal rights activists demand.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced Friday it plans to put up a billboard in towns bordering Mexico features an infamous image of Trump Jr. holding a knife and the tail of an elephant he apparently shot abroad.

“Deport callous cheating opportunists now! All nations have their undesirables. Kindness welcome,” the billboard slated for El Paso and Laredo, Texas, states

‘Hunt Like a Girl’: Meet the women who spend their weekends looking for a kill

Bec and Sharna don’t look like the kind of people you’d call “psychotic murderers”, “disgusting whores” or “killers with a sick fetish”.[… but they are.]

They’re normal, friendly women. They’ve got normal jobs. They live in normal, regional towns.

Bec and Sharna

Bec and Sharna

But when killing wild animals on the weekend is what you call fun, they’re the kind of names they’ve come to expect.

Between them, Bec and Sharna have killed enough animals to pretty much fill a zoo. Deer, a zebra, a giraffe, a mountain lion, a pigeon, foxes, kangaroos, impalas, baboons, a feral cat, a cow and a wild dog have all found themselves in the crosshairs of Sharna’s rifle or the target of Bec’s bow.

Some end up on their dinner table, some in their dog’s bowls, and some end up hanging in their living rooms.

Hunting hangings

Sharna’s living room

“In a way it’s a trophy, it’s a memento of the hunt,” Sharna told Sarah McVeigh for the ABC’s new podcast, How Do You Sleep At Night?

“Each of those have their own story and for us, we don’t want to see any of it go to waste either. That’s probably the best use of those skins.”

The Hunting “lifestyle”

Hunting has been part of her life for so long, Bec can’t even remember the first time she fired a gun. A sixth-generation hunter; it’s in her blood.

“It was the same as other kids going and playing footy. We went hunting. It was just something that was done.

“I learnt really quickly that when I went to school that not all families were like my family. We ate a lot of homekill meat; I grew up on a sheep farm so Dad always slaughtered our own lambs.

“Sometimes that meant that we even ate our pets,” Bec says, remembering her pet lamb Blinky who eventually ended up on her plate.

“I remember friends coming over after school and they were like, ‘What the hell is going on here?’ and then I started to realise that that wasn’t how other families did it.”

Bec and Sharna are both licensed hunters and only hunt animals permitted by local authorities. They both insist hunting, for them, is more than a hobby.

Why hunters find joy in the kill

Sarah McVeigh spent five days with Bec and Sharna in the Victorian High Country to understand how they tick and why they get satisfaction from killing animals.

“Hunting is a challenge. And sitting around the campfire is fun,” Sharna says. “Pushing myself when it’s freezing cold up that mountain, that’s the fun part. Taking the actual shot is something where, you’re in the moment, there’s that adrenaline rush.

“I think they say it’s the same chemical release as kissing and that sort of thing. You’re getting that big rush of endorphins.”

Critics of Bec and Sharna – mostly on their public posts on Facebook – don’t buy their argument. They call Bec and Sharna serial killers; they call them sick; they say Bec and Sharna should turn their weapons on themselves.

“Put a rifle up your c***,” someone wrote, “and pull the trigger”.

Sharna with her gun

Sharna

Bec and Sharna understand why people are quick to judge hunters. But they say criticism tends to be clouded by false assumptions, and – unless their critics are vegans – embedded in hypocrisy.

“They think we go out there to torture animals where we don’t,” Sharna says. “They don’t understand what we do. That’s definitely an aspect of why people dislike us so much.”

But Bec and Sharna’s reasoning for hunting boils down to a few things: they enjoy hunting for fitness, they eat the animals they’ve killed, and they only kill animals that are a sustainable resource.

“I’d much rather know where my meat is coming from,” Sharna says. “I don’t want to just walk into the supermarket, pick it up off the shelf and not know where it’s come from.

“There’s a genuine respect for the animal. There’s no regret [when we kill]. But there’s… it’s very hard to describe. It’s not remorse, it’s not regret.

Hunter Bec with her bow

Bec

Are all animals equal?

Bec and Sharna often go back to this existential point: when it comes to hunting in the animal kingdom, there is no hierarchy. Apart from endangered or rare species, no life is worth more than another. Squishing a spider is the same as shooting a baboon in South Africa – where they are a sustainable resource, Bec says.

Bec shot a giraffe in South Africa, and the animal was butchered that day for the locals to eat.

Bec in South Africa

“The amount of food that this guy provided for the local community is possibly still being enjoyed,” Bec says.

“I’m not a serial killer”

Bec says none of the criticism she’s received online has made her “second-guess” her hobby and lifestyle choice.

But for Sharna, one comment caught her off guard.

A commenter once took issue with Sharna’s taxidermy animals. “That’s what a serial killer does, a serial killer collects tokens,” the commenter told Sharna.

“For me I was like, ‘I want to know what separates me from a serial killer’ and that’s a pretty big thing to think about within yourself. That comment made me sit down and think about that.”

So what does separate Sharna and Bec from, say, Ivan Milat? Is it just the victims they choose?

“There’s plenty of things,” Sharna says.

“I’m a nurse and I have compassion for people. Obviously serial killers don’t think about their actions – they’re sociopaths. So there’s quite a bit that separates me from a serial killer.

Sarah McVeigh with Bec and Sharna

Sarah McVeigh with Bec and Sharna

Both Bec and Sharna are careful about calling killing “fun”. They insist the act of hunting – the whole experience – is fun, but pulling the trigger is not.

“If I were to say that to pull the trigger is fun, the way people view me might change,” Sharna admits.

“You take the shot, pull the trigger, and if that animal falls over straight away, hasn’t really known what’s going on, that’s a success. So you do get excited about it, and it is a fun activity.”

Sharna and Bec know it’s hard for people to understand how killing could be fun.

“Instead of just sitting behind a keyboard and telling me that what I’m doing is wrong, come and see it.”

Listen to Bec and Sharna in episode 1 of How Do You Sleep At Night? a new ABC podcast hosted by Sarah McVeigh. Download all the episodes now on the new ABC Listen app, or subscribe on Itunes.