Over the last few days, a controversy has arisen over a legal hunt taken by Larysa Switlyk, a young American who is the host of Larysa Unleashed. Larysa hunted on the Isle of Islay in Scotland and killed a feral goat. Her business partner also killed a feral goat on the hunt – feral goats.
Larysa posted the attached photograph on social media. As trophy photos go, this one is as non-controversial and respectful as any photo can be. What’s more, Larysa does not have a history of posting disrespectful or inappropriate trophy photos.
Notwithstanding the undeniably mild nature of the photo, Larysa‘s post evoked rage from a segment of the public who, on the surface, expressed outrage at the photo, but in actuality, used the photo as an excuse to viciously attack lawful regulated hunting and hunters. Members of local and national governments in Scotland joined in the cacophony of howls and jeers, calling for investigations and reviews. An unnamed member of the UK government later confirmed that the hunt was, in fact, legal and proper.
For their sin of posting respectful trophy photos, Larysa and her partner were the recipients of threats to themselves and to their families. We will not recount any of those threats here, but suffice it to say, many of them evidenced a level of depravity that is unacceptable in any civilized society.
DSC and DSC Foundation condemn these disgusting threats against Larysa and her partner, and we call on all in the hunting community to join us in that condemnation. We find the conduct of those who support animal rights and humane treatment while wishing death and suffering on legal hunters and their families to be the ultimate in hypocritical behavior. Larysa and her partner did nothing to deserve these deplorable comments.
DSC and DSC Foundation reaffirm the right of Larysa and hunters like her to take trophy photos, as we stated recently in the DSC Foundation article that appeared in the August edition of CampTalk. We urge that only respectful and appropriate photos be used, as was the case in this instance. We restate our admonition to be cognizant of the damage – to the photo poster and the hunting world in general – that an overtly offensive photo can cause.
We now also urge that we learn from the storm that has grown around such an innocuous picture and others in the recent past. What we know is that those who detest any and everything about legal regulated hunting and hunters will use any photo to attack us. Social media has been both a blessing and a curse to the hunting conservation community. The time is right to have an open and honest discussion about the widespread sharing of trophy photos on social media venues and what we, as ethical hunters, can do to counter the inevitable criticisms.