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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