Hunting is a controversial hobby. Due to its implications, most countries have strict hunting laws that must be abided by.
Yet, many hunters still manage to get away with hunting illegally – and, to begin with, many laws still allow for animals of diminishing numbers to be cruelly poached.
This allows many uncaring individuals to hunt exotic animals for sport.
Franchesca Esplin, 28, wound up facing backlash so severe for her hunting that she had to deactivate social media.
The hunter, who is Colorado based, posted a set of photos on Facebook of a December 2018 hunt she went on.
Her first picture showed her holding the dead body of a mountain lion. The second picture showed her proudly displaying her hands, covered in blood from the kill.
In her post, Esplin, a taxidermist by trade, eagerly bragged about the fact that she had been able to kill the lion, calling it a bucket list item she could tick off.
People were furious, and her post went viral, causing criticism and threats to her person to be drawn. It wasn’t long before people found video footage of her hunt.
This video showed a lion running to seek refuge on a tree after being chased by hounds, then being shot and killed by Esplin.
Esplin thanked houndsmen who helped her and described what she did as “harvesting” the lion, which she claims has been the top of her to-kill bucket list “forever”.
She discussed being overjoyed and extremely happy for what she calls an amazing experience.
The Prairie Protection Code, or PPC, an animal rights group, referred to her actions and bragging as “sadistic”.
They talked about how the wildlife policies in Colorado actually give leeway to this type of sport hunting, allowing many just like Esplin to kill predator species.
The PPC went on to state that it is people’s responsibility to take care of and protect wildlife instead of taking it away, asking that others start trying to push for some law changes by signing a petition and spreading awareness.
In California, the hunting of mountain lions has been illegal since 1986. Colorado’s rules, meanwhile, allow the trapping and killing of mountain lions with a specific lion license.
This allows hunters to kill one lion every season.
This is how Esplin defended herself, by explaining that she had a license to perform her hunt, and also confirmed the legality of her actions with Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials.