“A huge congratulations to my partner in crime on harvesting this monster bull!” Grays wrote in her Sept. 19 post featuring a slew of photos from the slaughter, the centerpiece of which features Grays posing with a hunting partner, both grinning, alongside the felled beast. “Many years guiding these big animals and now he has one of his own! Alaska is seriously amazing and I count myself lucky for getting to come back every year! Weather hasn’t been on our side and may be stuck a little longer…”
The post has elicited more than 100 comments, the majority of them expressing anger and disgust and calling for “karma” to deliver its response to Grays and her cohort. Among them:
“You are one disgusting ugly vile wench. Nature is something to stand back and admire. Not to murder, cut its head off, and nail to your wall. I can only pray that one day, karma returns the favor, and your head ends up on someone’s wall.”
“What horrendous cowards these people are! Not hunters al all. Just murderers killing defenseless animals with high-powered guns. No skill there, just weak acts of [cowardice] by despicable insecure idiots.”
“Wow, that was a gorgeous animal. Did you kill him to feed your family for the winter? Just wondering, because I would’ve loved to have seen him, from a distance, on my next visit to Alaska.”
“You think you’re a big shot because you were able to take down this gorgeous animal with a bullet? You disgust me.”
“It truly is beyond my comprehension that anyone gets joy and excitement out of killing magnificent animals. Something is definitely lacking in trophy hunters like you, probably a soul.”
Though her post did bring on about 40 likes, more than 120 reacted with “angry” emoticons and a handful with “sad.”
Adult moose can range in size from 800 pounds to twice that and can be almost six feet tall, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, which reports that “about 175,000 to 200,000 moose are widely distributed throughout Alaska,” and that annual “harvests” range from about 40 to 1,200, depending on the region. Hunting the animals in the state is legal and done by lottery in some regions; in other regions, licensed hunters can take part in general moose hunts.
Grays did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. (Update: Grays eventually did send a lengthy response. It said, in part, “I find it unfortunate that the day after we as a nation suffer the greatest loss of human life in the tragic Las Vegas shooting; that instead of coming together as a nation to preserve and honor the sanctity of human life, I have received hundreds of death threats from the anti hunting community… For me hunting is a part of who I am, I am very passionate about it. It has been my husband’s dream to harvest a moose for over 20 years. I value the animals life and the process it takes to hunt them. Nothing goes to waste… Hunters bring billions of dollars each year to conservation programs. I travel the world giving to conservation so that the animals will be around for my children and theirs to come. Managing wildlife is a balancing act. If we do nothing the numbers animals will drastically decline and we won’t be able to enjoy them, let alone our posterity. But with management we are protecting and preserving these animals and helping them THRIVE in the wild!”)
Her story — of bragging on social media and then facing a resulting takedown — is similar to that of the Trump sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, who have posed alongside dead trophy animals including a leopard and crocodile, prompting critics over the years (led in part by Mia Farrow) to call them out for being “in poor taste” and “murderers.”
In 2014, a game-hunting cheerleader by the name of Kendall Jones also inspired outrage and even a Change.org petition, demanding that Jones be banned from Africa; some claimed that the furious criticism of her was fueled by sexism.
The biggest controversy of this kind of recent years was, of course, the saga of Cecil the Lion — the 13-year-old king of the forest who was shot and killed in Zimbabwe by American dentist Walter Palmer. As a result, Palmer was publicly vilified for his actions and eventually said he felt regret over the hunt.
Much of this week’s blowback over Grays appears to have been encouraged by the Facebook page Coalition Against Trophy Hunting, Poaching & Animal Cruelty, on which a post on Monday features Grays posing with a host of slaughtered and stuffed lions. “Check her page out,” the post urges. “A lot more photos than this… please share/tweet name/shame (with her ego? the shame part will take a lot of work. Go for it).”
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