If anyone has earned a reputation for drawing the rage of the anti-hunting fanatics on the Internet, it's Melissa Bachman.
Call it a gift — or a curse — but Bachman has a innate ability for pissing off PETA people. She was kicked off a National Geographic TV show last year after petitions were filed by the anti-hunting masses that threatened, slammed and ridiculed her for being a hunter, and now she's enraged that same community by posting a picture to Twitter of a lion she killed in Africa.
Along with the picture, Bachman tweeted, "An incredible day hunting in South Africa! Stalked inside 60-yards on this beautiful male lion€¦what a hunt!"
Bachman, also a TV host, actually posted the picture a few weeks ago, but it was only in the last few days that the anti-hunting trolls caught wind of her African safari and started spewing venom. As a result, Bachman had to shut down her Twitter feed, though her Facebook page remains for now.
There's also a petition circulating on Change.org asking the government of South Africa to ban Bachman from ever entering the country again to hunt. As of Nov. 18, the petition has over 100,000 signatures.
The typical social media drivel continues to pour forth, as anti-hunters post comments like this:
As always, social media feeds are full of hypocritical one-liners and derogatory female slurs about murdering or doing harm to Bachman, while mainstream news outlets are all too quick to help wag a disapproving finger. Good Morning America ran a segment on the Bachman ordeal Sunday, saying that Bachman has been "caught in the crosshairs" after "posing for smiling photos with the animals she just killed." You could almost hear the hosts' excitement as they tried to maintain a facade of objectivity.
What hasn't really been reported by most news outlets is the positive support shown to Bachman and the Maroi Conservancy, which hosted the hunt about a month ago. On the Maroi Conservancy's Facebook page, the group acknowledged the high volume of hate mail it has received, but was outspoken about it's mission to promote "conservation through sustainable hunting."
"We do ethical hunting and all meat from animals hunted is [distributed] to the local community," the group wrote. "We are not apologising for facilitating [Bachman's lion] hunt. As for all the negative commentary towards us, please consider how much you have contributed to conservation in the past 5 years. If you are not a game farmer and struggling with dying, starving animals, poaching and no fences in place to protect your animals and crop, please refrain from making negative degoratory comments. It is so easy to judge if you are staying in cities and towns, buying your meat at [markets].
It is a fact, that due to the hunting industry and money generated out of this industry, there are more animals in South Africa than 100 years ago. Any journalists are welcome to contact us to clarify facts."
There's also a Facebook page that exists to show support to Bachman, who has continually been harassed by anti-hunters. On the page there's a photo of Bachman's lion that has more than 650 comments, many of which are positive (there are also more death threats).
It's yet to be seen what the full impact of this latest outrage will be, but it's a constant reminder that our hunting heritage has to be protected, articulated and passed on to coming generations. There's a part of the world which would have it otherwise, and that constituent wages a constant campaign of misinformation to vilify hunters and our heritage. We can't just sit idly by, and we can't just wait for incidents like this to respond from a defensive position.