A few thoughts on Mellissa Bachman – Lion Huntress

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Melissa’s Bio:

“Melissa is one of the most intense and hardcore hunters you will ever meet. Her passion for the outdoors kicked in at an early age while hunting with her family in central Minnesota. Throughout high school she could be found in a tree stand before class and dreamed of a way to hunt for a living.

After graduating with honors and a double major in TV broadcasting and Spanish from St Cloud State University, Melissa started her outdoor career as a TV intern. Within a few months Melissa was offered a full time position as a producer and traveled the world filming a variety of incredible hunters.

Although this was close to her dream job, Melissa still longed for the day she could be the one squeezing the trigger. In order to achieve this goal Melissa spent every spare moment filming all her own hunts. After each successful hunt she would edit the shows together and give the footage away in hopes of gaining exposure. As an avid bowhunter this took a lot of time and patience but after taking several nice animals and putting together solid shows Melissa wish was finally granted. Now seven-years later Melissa spends over 170 days in the field both hunting and producing TV. Her triple threat expertise includes producing, writing and hunting on camera for her show Winchester Deadly Passion.”

As seen above Melissa is very passionate about killing. When I first saw the picture of her smiling face next to the dead lion, I immediately felt disgusted, then I saw my facebook feed full of demonising comments about her, I felt bad for her too. There was no denying I was far more used to seeing a man with his gun next to a dead animal. This picture would have been more accceptable if it was a man next to a kudu for example. Swap the man for a woman, then swap the kudu for a lion and you have a very unsettling image!

What this woman did was absolutely legal and her killing a lion in South Africa means a big cash injection somewhere – some will argue this money goes to anti-poaching projects or even nature conservation. In terms of the law she has done nothing wrong. There is a petition going round for her to not be allowed back in South Africa. I do not see why any government official would entertain this. She brings money into the country and through her hunting shows will bring publicity about South Africa.

Also who decided which animal was fine to kill and which wasn’t? Many endangered birds are killed daily to make room for new resorts and beaches – do we have any problems with this? Yes – but not enough to stop us from enjoying the beaches or resorts built there. We eat meat everyday– do we have a problem with killing those animals? Different cultures have their ‘list’ of animals which are fine to kill. Dogs in China – yes. In SA – hell no!

Now, there are quite a few people hating on Mellissa Bachman. Why? Most human beings are not happy with the glorification of killing! In court, a jury is much for sympathetic to an apologetic killer as opposed to a proud one. For killing animals, there are different levels of what glorification is alright. Heads of antelope on the wall? Mostly acceptable in South Africa – I wonder how acceptable though? I have heard many people commenting about being unsettled the eyes on the heads are. The more large, beautiful and powerful the animal, the more value we put on it. A lion is magnificent! We do not like to see this animal hunted for a trophy. The more valuable the animal, the more you have to justify the killing of it for human pleasure.

In the past people could even kill hundreds of lions on their safaris/hunting sprees, then we got more educated and realised this was wrong. It’s illegal to act like this now. Today, if we look into the real reason for the decline in Lions – it’s to protect livestock! Predators prey on cattle, sheep and goats. Ranch owners kill the lions using poison, guns or whatever is needed to protect their livestock.

http://www.lionconservation.org/ScientificPapers/Lions-conflict-and-conservation,Frank-et-al.pdf

This is not killing for pleasure, there is a need behind this killing that we can identify with. It’s to survive, make money and protect meat; our source of food. Even though this causes a lot more damage than one trophy killing – it’s much easier to relate to. Perhaps if you are really passionate about keeping lions alive; you would best use your energy to educate farmers into better farming practices than jumping on the anger wagon towards Mellissa Bachman.

In some cases I can almost agree with hunting. In places where there is too many of an animal in an area, it can cause destruction to the environment. It’s necessary to bring down the numbers of that animal. This situation would usually occur because human beings caused the imbalance – building property in the wrong areas or too many predators being killed or removed. Never the less, these things happen, it could make sense to kill the animals to bring down the numbers. I’m also sure, some more creative ways could be reached.

Back to killing for pleasure – which is what makes us feel angry towards people like Mellissa Bachman? Unfortunately, humans do have this innate desire to kill. There are many people who deeply enjoy hunting. I’m sure it gives a feeling of power to have the skill to track down an animal then hit a moving target through all the surrounding ‘turmoil’. But my feeling is, if you really are a hunter; hunt fair! Get rid of the gun. Hunt like your ancestors did, use the objects in your surrounding area. If you can truly ‘win’ like this, maybe then it justifies that trophy! Thinking you won in this sport by shooting an animal from a distance is a big illusion. If you want to revert to the brutal ways of the past, do it properly! Even in saying this it still feels unfair. Animals attack humans for survival/food. If you are attacking for fun – the balance is off. The only way you could fairly express that desire to kill – find other like-minded people and fight it out, maybe then you can rightly feel like a skilled, powerful man/woman when you win.

#digiwrimo, #day18

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