As many on this blog know, I am no fan of trophy hunting (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). The latest controversy centers on Larysa Switlyk, 33, who is a trophy hunter from Sarasota, Florida who recently posed with dead animals on the island of Islay, Scotland with Instagram photos during the hunt. With her boyfriend Jason and another American, they shot an assortment of goats, stags, and sheep and then gleefully demonstrated the kill. I find these images entirely perplexing why people get such a thrill for such kills. I also fail to see the pride in posing with a beautiful animal that you just destroyed — let alone traveling around the world just to shoot their native wildlife for fun. In this case, shooting a bunch of sheep does not even strike me as challenging. There is simply the thrill of killing beautiful animals.
Police are looking into firearms offenses after an uproar caused by the posting of the images.
She is facing a charge under Section 11a of the Firearms Act, relating to the use of borrowed shotguns. That sounds pretty manufactured and weak. Either it is illegal to trophy hunt or it is not. Police should not come up with strained charges based on public outcry. However, that does not mean that such a trophy hunter should not be condemned or the practice reexamined.
We recently discussed how a trophy hunter killed the most famous and beloved wolf in Yellowstone National Park after “Spitfire” wandered slightly outside of the park. We previously discussed the shooting of one of the last wolves from the most famous pack in Denali National Park in Alaska under similar circumstances.
Switlyk is the star of Larysa Unleashed which purports to “enlighten and educate the general population about why people hunt and fish, the importance of conservation, cultural experiences, and the rules and regulations behind it.” She previously has attracted criticism, including a picture on an all-women hunting trip where she posed with a bloody sex toy over a dead sheep. In that trip, British hunter Jenna Gearing said she left early because she was disgusted by Switlyk’s attitude and the conduct of the American women on the trip.