A female hunter in Colorado has found herself at the center of a controversy after a local nonprofit that seeks to protect wildlife took issue with images she shared on social media of a mountain lion she killed.
Franchesca Esplin took to her Facebook page to post video and photos from a recent hunt where she targeted and killed a mountain lion. According to the post, which featured images of the dead animal and her own bloody hands and clothing, the hunt has been “at the top of [Esplin’s] bucket list” and put the hunter “on cloud 9.” Now Prairie Protection Colorado is calling this behavior a “trophy kill,” which they believe should be illegal.
According to Deanna Meyer, executive director of Prairie Protection Colorado, trophy kills are characterized by the “complete glee and elation [expressed by hunters] at the kills that they’ve performed,” and go against the ethical means of hunting, which should be for survival and food.
“I do not find anything wrong at all with ethical hunting,” Meyer said, explaining that she’s lived off of wild food for 25 years. “To me, that doesn’t include selfies of the dead animal with laughing and elation.”
When the pictures illustrating Esplin’s excitement over her own kill were reposted onto Prairie Protection Colorado’s Facebook page, Meyer explained that most of her organization’s followers agreed.
From comments calling Esplin a “sick witch” to those saying she displayed “pure psychopathic evil,” it’s evident where the nonprofit stands. However, Meyer assured that the photos weren’t posted to target Esplin — Meyer hadn’t even identified the hunter — but instead to make a bigger point.
“It’s not Franchesca that I’m after, although I think that her behavior and mentality is deplorable. But it’s not her. It’s the whole mentality that goes behind hunters,” Meyers said. “Our goal is to educate people and then hopefully go through the long process of changing legislation, and to try to protect what we have left of our predator species.”
Meyer’s organization is currently supporting a citizen petition with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to make the hunting and trapping of bobcats illegal. And although there hasn’t been much progress yet, Meyer hopes that images like Esplin’s spur a societal change of attitude.
Esplin didn’t respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
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