Twelve-Year-Old Girl From Utah Causes International Uproar Over Hunting Images


We have previously discussed trophy hunters who kill and pose with dead animals.  We recently followed the controversy over the shooting of “Cecil the Lion” by an American dentist Walter Palmer from Minnesota. There were other trophy hunting stories that enraged people around the world. (here and here and here) Then there was Josh Bowman who has been denounced around the world for his video from Alberta, Canada as he celebrated the slow killing of a bear with a spear.  Now a 12-year-old named Aryanna Gourdin from Utah has posted a series of highly controversial pictures with dead animals and expressed her love for killing animals.  One picture shows her holding a giraffe’s heart.

37B61DF100000578-3764920-image-m-69_1472554894431Once again, I have never understood why it is such an accomplishment to kill such a harmless animal like a giraffe or zebra or to revel in the death of a beautiful animal like those displayed in these photos.

Notably, Mark Martineau and Jason Hansen, who run hunting expeditions and organized Aryanna and her father’s trip to Africa, love the pictures of the carnage and the desire to kill as many animals as possible.  They have Josh and Sarah Bowmar to join in killing lions despite the international outcry over the hunts.

I have many friends who are hunters and they would be equally appalled by these displays. Indeed, some of the loudest critics of the Bowmars came from hunters.  These twisted images have particularly shocked the world due to the involvement of a young girl who relishes killed animals like giraffes and then posing with their dead bodies and organs.

Giraffe-girl-1In my years of backpacking and hiking, I have never had a desire to kill the magnificent animals that I have seen in the wild to some how possess them.  I certainly could not imagine rejoicing like Bowmar in slicing open a bear and allowing it to die a painful death (possibly over the course of hours). I also do not consider hunting with a spear to be particularly brave when your hunting party is behind you with high powered rifles.  Shooting a zebra like the one in some of these pictures is like sneaking up on a horse and blowing it away.  I fail to see the sport in that.  While Gourdin professes a “love” for the animals, she rejoices in their dead bodies.

89 thoughts on “Twelve-Year-Old Girl From Utah Causes International Uproar Over Hunting Images”

  1. Almost all life on earth depends on the death of other life for its existence. Vegetarians are not absolved from this reality. Nevertheless, this isn’t hunting for survival. It is killing for the sake of killing. There is no respect for the cycle of life and death.

    I’m so sorry that a young child was taught to disrespect life. Life isn’t something one takes lightly, nor is the wanton, useless killing of another being something to be celebrated. It is to be mourned. I don’t know why so many people like killing for the sake of killing but that is no way to live.

    Killing for survival acknowledges the human place in the life of this planet. This “sport” killing is just cruel and shows hatred for life on our planet. So many people have chosen to photograph and learn about other animals. I wish her parents had taught her this.

    One can learn to be an excellent shot without killing anything. Then one can learn respect for life by hunting only for need. There is a reason that our early human ancestors thanked the prey for the hunt. I do not believe this girl will live a good life unless she experiences the idea of valuing life.

    1. Jill, I don’t think hunting is about hatred for life. In these particular cases of killing large animals, it is about experiencing a feeling of supremacy and control over nature.

    2. Agree that it isn’t about hatred of life. It is a desperate search for aliveness by the already dead who mistakenly think they can revive from their numbness by the fake thrill and danger of snuffing out the life of another creature.

  2. I have no problem with what the girl did as long as it was legal. I first hunted deer when I was 12, quit when I came to Arizona.
    I grew up in Montana. They closed high school opening day of deer season. That was meat for the winter.

  3. Totally not my thing, but different strokes as they say. Diversity enriches our experiences, this seems like a prime opportunity to take a step back and contemplate the wonderfulness of someone’s culture that is different from your own.

  4. Lots of internet pearl clutching about a hunt.

    Meanwhile, the President abandoned the Constitution and signed a treaty without the Senate’s approval.

    But …giraffe! Zebra! Gun!

  5. In various places in Africa, Bush tribes are prevented from hunting for food (in the name of conservation) on reserve areas that are also their ancestral lands so that rich Americans can fly in and kill for sport getting around local rules by spreading their lucre like a virus.

    In this instance, it appears the kill was at least legal though the spirit of such profligate thrill seeking is doubtful at best.

    One thing is sure; this sort of decadence dressed up at great expense as hunting and sport has decidedly not being going on since time immemorial.

  6. I don’t see one reply from a hunter or shooter here. I was both. I do like Darren’s. Most of you know nothing about nothing. I hunted most of my life, with a first deer hunt around 12 yrs. old. I’ve long ago lost track of the critters I killed, and yes I used that word just to piss off you tree hugger, city dwelling, wouldn’t know one end of gun from another and wouldn’t touch one if your life or that of your family depended on it know nothings. I raised a family on the income and the meat from deer, elk, grouse, dove, squirrel, rabbit, ducks, geese, fish and anything else worth eating. I also have my pictures of myself and the critters I’ve killed. I was a professional guide for many years along with being a certified/commissioned cop that worked with New Mexico Fish and Game. If I caught you poaching you were paying.

    I learned my “trade” in Vietnam with Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children, New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy, and one hell of a gunsmith. Most of my rifles were custom for accuracy. I owned many of those that the unknowing call “assault weapons”, they aren’t. Pistols, shotguns, reloading equipment and never less that 3,000 rounds of various calibers of ammunition. I know what it’s like to be in a firefight, you people know nothing. I know what it’s like for people to have to hunt to feed their families, and I know what it’s like to bust poachers that just want to kill, or kill to trade for drugs.

    I’m unsure of why the giraffe, but zebras I can understand. Check with some Africans on how much they like zebras. If the meat went to feed the people then great. There is an ethic to hunting and I hope the girl learns it. I think she is not quite ready for the “big 5”.

    Oh, and I used to tell my clients, that second shot you don’t hear, is mine, I’m not chasing your bad hit all over the mountain. I always wanted to hunt Africa and Alaska, never had the money.

  7. Under 13s have the mental/moral/emotional ability to CONSENT to commit crimes and be caged for causing PAIN to ADULT VICTIMS!

    So, it’s OBVIOUS they have the same ability to CONSENT to mere benign seXual PLEASURE with kind adults creating NO VICTIMS!

    Kill dumb ignorance not defenceless animals!!

  8. These pictures are despicable and parents who will later say” I don’t know how she could have done this She was always such a good girl” There is nothing normal or admirable about what we see in these pictures. When you have so much money you use it to corrupt your child; You have too much!

  9. Darren, I respectfully disagree.

    I’ve spent most of my life in proximity to hunting. I even went out once myself, discovering it’s just not my thing. What this little girl is doing & what she’s clearly being taught as “normal” are in fact neither normal nor admirable. Folks who hunt understand how very wrong all of this is & it is their criticism that’s important to the situation. We all know how the Upper West Side wannabes or Armonk crowd see this & their opinion is irrelevant. What is relevant are the people from W. Kentucky or S. Colorado who know hunting & also know the utter perversity of these pics and the little girl’s conduct.

  10. People have been hunting animals in Africa since Mitochondrial Eve and before. If these animals are endangered that is one thing but if this is a legal hunt I don’t see a problem with what she did. I haven’t had any desire to hunt animals such as giraffe and I agree that it is unsportsmanlike to shoot an animal that is more like cattle than deer or ducks but there is always going to be someone that holds a particular game animal so dearly they are outraged when one is taken. Personally, I wouldn’t take a majestic animal of any kind for sport, but that’s me.

    Additionally, many if not most hunters take photographs of their animals, especially if these are especially trophy worthy. That has occurred since, well, the cave art era.

    As for hunting it is preferable in most respects to educate hunters when they are young. They make better hunters as adults and don’t usually make stupid mistakes or engage in asinine behavior.

    Anecdotally, a good friend of mine has a daughter who started hunting at an early age. When she was in high school she dated a particular youth. When I saw her one time I asked how this boyfriend was doing and she replied that they broke up. I expressed my sympathy for her but she brushed this off saying, “No big deal, I just went out with him for his hunting rights.” Indeed, she’s a daughter no father has to worry about.

    Returning to the topic at hand, the world shouldn’t dump all this animosity, and outrage upon this girl. She is twelve years old! And, her hunting is based upon what she was taught in her years as normal and praiseworthy among relatives and friends. It is quite unfair to pillory this child into a pariah at such an early age.

  11. She’s a twat. She’s a twat. She’s a twat all the way. From her first cigarette to her last dying day.

  12. What is controversial about this? Truly, the world has gone mad when animals are considered equal to human beings. Hunting is a noble thing, and without it, the animal population would grow too large.

    It is the fashion now to sentimentalise vicious beasts which, like domestic pets, are creatures with no intellect and no moral sense – and live only to eat.

  13. @Justice Hilmes

    Great point. Reminds me of those idiots who took their child to a shooting range and she wound up killing the instructor.

  14. Hunting is a powerful cultural tradition here in Westsylvania. Schools close each year for the first day of deer season, and the local newspaper highlights young hunters who get their first deer. I’m not a hunter myself, but a lot of friends and relatives are. For all of them, the primary motivation is filling the freezer. You eat what you kill, my grandfather always said. I can’t for my life understand the attraction of blowing a hole in the side of animal that’s been acclimated to people, and that’s what happens in these kill for thrill safari preserves. Wealthy folks are driven out to where guides have located prime targets. The customers get out of the Rover, raise their large-caliber scoped weapon, and blast a cap or two through an oblivious animal. Guides and helpers stand just off camera, rifles ready, ready to clean up should the client not make a killing shot. I’m not an activist in any sense–I love burgers and steaks, bacon and sausage–but I still find these activities crass and cowarrdly. The client hunters don’t need skills or knowledge, just money, and I see no difference between these people and a future psychopath who tortunes cats to death in the alley behind his house.

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