Despite an onslaught of anti-hunting hate, this hunter refused to back down or apologize for sharing a photograph of her successful goat hunt.
In yet another example of ignorant anti-hunting sentiment, animal rights activists and keyboard warriors came after a hunter for a photograph of a goat she killed in Scotland. But Larysa Switlyk stood her ground, and basically told her detractors to stuff it.
Switlyk, host of the hunting show "Larysa Unleashed," visited Scotland's Isle of Islay on a multifaceted hunting adventure. During her trip she bagged a number of animals, including an invasive wild goat.
After sharing a photo of herself with the goat, Switlyk started receiving the usual anti-hunting commentary from ill-informed animal rights advocates. As these things seem to do, the onslaught snowballed. At the time of this writing, the combined comments on her Twitter and Instagram photos number more than 24,000.
Of course not all of the comments are negative. Many fellow hunters and conservationists congratulated and applauded Switlyk. But the avalanche was so overwhelming that Scotland's Prime Minister got wind of it and unfortunately seemed to bow to the pressure. She's reportedly promised to review the game laws associated with Switlyk's harvest.
For her part, Switlyk stood her ground and rebuffed the anti-hunting reaction.
"I will never apologize for being a hunter and I definitely don't regret posting my hunting photos online," Switlyk told Fox News. "People do not need to follow me on social media if they don't want to see them. It's really that simple."
"It's also immensely satisfying and a privilege to get your food this way. Whether this gets your goat or not, you are certainly entitled to your opinion," she added with a touch of humor. "Even though violence and name-calling seems to be the way our society is going, it's not the way I choose to hold a discussion."
Interestingly, the goat that Switlyk killed is an invasive species in Scotland, a fact that anti-hunters are either ignorant of or simply don't care about. We all know how damaging invasive species can be to native flora and fauna. Thinning them out should only be seen as a good thing, as long as one cares about native species.
But we've also seen how this sort of scenario plays out. We saw it in the recent kerfuffle over a photo of Tim Brent's Yukon grizzly bear. Actual issues of wildlife conservation don't matter to anti-hunters. What does seem to matter most is virtue signaling and being part of a crowd where the people participating have a shared point of view.
It probably doesn't matter all that much what that point of view is, so long as the people in the tribe can bolster each other by sharing their aggregate outrage. Facts, science, wildlife conservation, and even common sense and social courtesy fall by the wayside as long as the tribe is able to gang up on their chosen target.
Switlyk went off grid on another hunting adventure immediately after sharing the photograph, and when she returned she saw just how far the protest had gone. "When I got back on the grid I was in shocked at how out of hand just posting a photo on social media got," she said. "They had advertised my address and while I was gone, people showed up at my door, looking for me. This is just beyond the pale."
Other hunters supported Switlyk while acknowledging that most anti-hunters are simply ignorant of hunting and its benefits to wildlife.
"Hunters need to be cognizant that photos of their hunting memories may be interpreted negatively by those who have lost touch with Mother Nature and our need to provide healthy meat to our families utilizing one of the greatest tools for science-based wildlife conservation -- legal, well-regulated hunting," said big game hunter Oliva Nalos Opre. "Hunters must show through their photos the respect we have for nature and its bounty."
Tess Thompson Talley, another big game hunter who was verbally assaulted after sharing pictures of an African giraffe she killed, expressed her dismay at the behavior of extremist anti-hunters.
"First of all I would like to say that I fully understand people who are against hunting," said Talley. "It is certainly their right to not agree with it, even speak out against it. However, for anyone to threaten bodily harm or even death against anyone is wrong."
"Nobody has the right to threaten people for something that is legal, ethical and ultimately (in my opinion) helps the populations of wildlife to remain healthy and numerous, just because they don't believe in it," she added.
Lemons from lemonade
But Switlyk appears no worse for the wear since the onslaught of negativity. In fact, she has used it to promote her show and have a little humorous fun at the same time. She has released a line of T-shirts poking fun at the incident.
Her website reads:
Due to the recent outrage over my hunting adventures, I've decided to launch T-Shirts to take a stance for what I believe in! 100 percent of the proceeds from t-shirt sales goes to conservation.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
"Don't Let Me Get Your Goat" - Just a fun play on words.
"Barbaric" Hunter - What non-hunters call my hunting style. So who wants to be a "barbaric" hunter with me?
"Eat More Goat" - the headline says it all, from Field to Table.
Here's hoping Larysa is through dealing with this sort of thing, and she's left with the last word. All the same, something tells us this won't be the last anti-hunting reaction story we publish.
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