Hunter who posted bloodthirsty pictures from Norfolk shoot ‘at odds’ with the sport
Hunters should respect their quarry and not post pictures of dead animals on social media.
That is the warning from the UK’s largest shooting organisation, which said it was “appalled” by members of a group of women who shot sheep and deer in Norfolk, before posting pictures of their kills on Facebook.
US huntress and TV host Larysa Switlyk led the hunt for soay sheep, muntjac and Chinese water deer at an undisclosed location believed to be in the north of the county in February. Anger erupted after images from the hunt were put up online.
Critics included comedian Ricky Gervais, who tweeted: “In every attention-seeking selfie with a murdered animal she seems to be screaming: ‘Do you love me now daddy?”
Gary Doolan, deputy director of communications with the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, said: “As the UK’s largest shooting organisation, we are appalled by this latest picture. If that is the manner in which she wishes to portray shooting, then Larysa Switlyk is not welcome on these shores again.
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“She appears interested only in promoting herself and driving interest for the online brand she is trying to create and, in doing so, is putting profits before ethics.
“The antics portrayed in this picture are utterly at odds with the values and standards of a UK shooting community which is driven by strong ethics and respect for quarry.”
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BASC had previously warned about the dangers of posting pictures on social media which appeared to glory in the death of animals.
Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns for the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “There are some things you just can’t make up. There are so many things wrong here. But the main point is that trophy hunters like to claim they kill for conservation, that they do it for the benefit of the environment, and that they care about the animals they kill. We hear this all the time, from trophy hunters, fox hunters, stag hunters. This picture illustrates what complete rubbish that argument is.”
Unrepentant Ms Switlyk has continued posting pictures of her kills, most recently shooting a mountain goat in Turkey earlier this week and posting: “Every international hunter’s dream just came true for me.”
One person commented: “Shame it never got your first.”
Shooting sport in the foot - EDP Opinion
Larysa Switlyk has done untold harm to the sport she so clearly loves with a hunting trip to Norfolk.
Shooting is a popular pastime in a rural county like ours.
While not everyone agrees with it, the sport can claim a sizeable stake in the management of our countryside.
It also plays a part in the conservation of our woodlands and wetlands, many of which may have been felled or drained were it not for their sporting use.
As a pastime it is also tightly regulated, with regard to what can be shot when.
Those who take part operate under codes of conduct and must have licensed guns.
Beyond the laws of the land, there are moral laws governing the sport, the main one being not to glory in the death of the quarry.
From the lone wildfowler on the marsh with his dog to the party on the pheasant drive, shooters should instead respect what they see in their sights.
But self-styled American TV huntress Larysa Switlyk not only revels in the death of the deer, goats and other creatures which fall to her rifle around the world.
She shares her delight at their demise online, in smiling selfies with gloating captions.
Some of the images on her social media channels were taken during a visit to an undisclosed country estate in Norfolk.
They show Ms Switlyk and her female friends cheerily posing with muntjac, Chinese water deer, and even a rare-breed soay sheep which they have clearly delighted in killing.
Shooting organisations are rightly concerned that this sends out the wrong message.
For it can only give their sport’s opponents more ammunition to fire.
Who is Larysa Switlyk?
Larysa Switlyk’s website describes her as “a world-renowned hunter”.
But she has become notorious for posting pictures of her kills online.
Ms Switlyk’s online biography says she grew up hating guns and trained to be an accountant.
“However, she quickly realized she wasn’t a city girl,” it says. “A gut feeling told her something was missing in her life.”
Ms Switlyk went shooting for the first time on holiday in New Zealand. She says she instantly fell in love with the lifestyle and her mission is now to educate the population about why people hunt.
As well as TV programmes, she launched a range of merchandise earlier this year after being criticised for shooting goats on Islay.
“Due to the recent outrage over my hunting adventures, I’ve decided to launch T-shorts to take a stance for what I believe in,” she said, adding 100pc of the proceeds go to conservation.