Steve Ecklund, Canadian host of the hunting show ‘The Edge’ and Cabela’s Ambassador, recently came under fire for posting images on his Facebook page of a cougar he had legally killed in northern Alberta.
The Facebook post, made on December 3 but which has since been removed, showed several images of Ecklund posing with the dead cougar as well as making a stir fry with the meat. The pics were accompanied with the following caption:
“What an unreal ending to a fun filled season. Northern Alberta lion with BIG CAT ADVENTURES Brian and Claudette Chorney … can’t thank you guys enough for the eye opener into your world of houndsmen.”
His post was met with a maelstrom of criticizing comments across social media, most filled with expletives, threats, and name calling. The most notable was a tweet by Lauren Harper, wife of former prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper:
Ecklund stands by his original post, and wrote the following words on Dec. 4:
“If you can guess what post has 900 likes, 450 comments, 13 confirmed death threats, 754 swear words and one very happy hunter in it … I will enter your name into the draw for the new cougar cook book, filled with mouth water recipes for your next mountain lion hunt.”
He also posted this follow-up Dec. 23 to his Cabela’s Facebook page:
Fellow hunters and outfitters have chimed in with messages of support for Ecklund, as well as chastising those anti’s for the hate and threat-filled comments they have posted. Wild TV, the network who employs Ecklund, made this statement of support via Twitter on Dec. 21:
A biologist, when reached by the CBC news outlet, proclaimed the backlash to be unwarranted. Mark Boyce, a professor of population ecology with the University of Alberta, said “Cougar hunting is popular, especially with hounds. The hound hunting season begins on Dec. 1 and strict quotas are set for males and for females in a number of cougar management areas.”
Cougar hunting is legal in Alberta from Sept. 1 to the end of February for residents, and from Dec. 1 to the end of February for non-residents. There are currently 32 management zones, and quotas range from one to five animals for each.
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