“Ethical Hunting” has always been a controversial topic. While hunting is sometimes necessary, posting pictures of the kills isn’t.
Steve Ecklund, a purveyor of the sport, was caught in a social media storm when he posted graphic images of his kills on Facebook. Most of the reactions he received are negative, but one of his most recent ones caught the attention of thousands.
Please note that the article contains graphic images
From Alberta, Canada, Steve and his wife Alison are known for their love of hunting. Previously he posted various images of his kills including bison, mountain lions, black bears, and rams.
However, in a recent Facebook update, Steve posted a picture of himself next to a “hunted” mountain lion with his two beagles and friends. What attracted the attention of thousands was one of the pictures in the album where the animal’s heart was cut open for the world to see.
A spokesperson for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) denounced his actions saying:
“Only someone dead in heart and head could fail to see that mountain lions, wild boars, deer, and other animals are thinking, feeling individuals – not “things” to blow away for amusement.”
“Those animals whose lives aren’t taken outright by hunters often endure slow, agonizing deaths, leaving their offspring to starve, as they’re unable to fend for themselves after their mothers have been killed by some human trying to compensate for feelings of inadequacy.”
“All most of us see when we look at a photograph of a hunter who gunned down an animal for “pleasure” is photographic evidence of a small person with deep-seated insecurities.”
A ‘Fair Chase’ Hunter
Naturally, Steve had a few people defending him. Most of them also supported ethical hunting and joined the argument. They said that the money raised from these hunts goes to aid conservation efforts. He is also defended by active pro-hunting community online.
Steve Ecklund is a host of the TV show The Edge. He is identified as a “fair chase hunter” on the show’s website. What it means is that all the hunting he participates in is ‘ethical’ and all the animals are ‘free-ranging’. Meaning they are not confined by gates or barriers.
It also lists Steve’s achievements, including winning the 1999 gold medal at the Canadian national 3D archery championships. The website went on to describe his hunting as his passion and his “motivational lifesaver”. Loosely translated, when he was diagnosed and treated for cancer, hunting motivated him to stay alive.
The aforementioned post was shared over 2000 times and included over a thousand comments. It’s safe to say that most comments were negative.
One user wrote: “Those who find pleasure in sadistic behaviors such a murder will reap what they sow. The smile of pure joy holding an innocent dead body is purely psychotic.”
Another commented: “I love archery, I love nature and the beautiful creatures that inhabit it, and this makes me sick to my core. This is a shameful and disgusting act of violence by a blatantly deranged human.”
One heartfelt comment read: “Please see that the animal that you killed was a living, sentient being with a family. He wanted to live. You have taken that away from him, and for what?” while less coherent comments called him a “pathetic coward.”
A rare comment in support stated, “We need to consider the time and effort that is put into such a hunt. It takes work and this man has a celebratory smile on his face because instead of walking into a store and buying beef out of the fridge that had its throat slit in front of a hundred other cows, he had to stalk and hunt and work hard to fill his freezer and that is rewarding.”
As his actions were legal, he will not face any disciplinary actions. As a legal hunter, it’s within one’s right to hunt. But it may be argued that posting graphic images of the kill lacks tact.
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