2018 saw its fair share of hunting scandals involving those both within and beyond the hunting community — and many received swift backlash as a result.
Read on to learn more about some of the wildest scandals that rocked the hunting community this year.
In January, a memo was presented to the House Natural Resources Committee calling for hunters to be allowed to wear pink in addition to orange. The memo was largely met with outrage from at least one lawmaker and several others on social media who found the sentiment to be insulting and sexist, Detroit Free Press reported. A month later, the debate largely faded due to lack of support, the Free Press said in a follow-up.
In March, a major British supermarket and retailer pulled a hunting-themed children’s costume from shelves after receiving a series of complaints from parents. Tesco was slammed on social media over its “red fox hunter jacket,” aimed at children aged 7 to 9, by parents claiming it was “encouraging children to take up a highly cruel animal bloodsport,” The Independent reported.
Days after NHL player Tim Brent caught heat for posing with a grizzly he hunted, a big-game hunter was criticized by celebrities on social media for her “disgusting” act of killing a leopard. The photo of the “record” kill soon went viral, and big-name celebrities like Naomi Campbell, Doutzen Kroes and Kyle Richards soon chimed in to voice their dissonance.
“How can you find pride and pleasure in killing a beautiful animal like this large male Leopard. The woman in the picture should be ashamed of herself! I find this disgusting and I’m so upset, sad and angry that this still happens!!” Kroes wrote.
Donald Trump Jr. did not take kindly to PETA’s Halloween costume suggestion ahead of the holiday – and took to Twitter to let them know.
In late September, the vegan organization tweeted out a photo of a hunter in camouflage wearing a hat that reads “Donald Trump Jr.,” being mauled by a leopard. PETA said it was a reference to Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric Trump’s trophy hunting photo, where the men posed with a dead leopard.
Trump Jr. slammed PETA online for the stunt, calling the organization “hypocrites” and saying it was an “animal slaughter factory.”
Larysa Switlyk, the host of “Larysa Unleashed,” was slammed on social media in October after posting a picture of herself with a dead goat during a hunting trip in Scotland — but she has since declared that the critics will never stop her from hunting.
“I will never apologize for being a hunter and I definitely don’t regret posting my hunting photos online,” Switlyk told Fox News. “People do not need to follow me on social media if they don’t want to see them. It’s really that simple.
A month later, Switlyk was chastised again, after she posted photos of herself to social media posing with a dead sheep and bloody sex toy.
In October, Idaho Fish and Game commissioner Blake Fischer resigned from his post, soon after he was criticized for posing with animals he killed during a recent hunting trip to Africa. The position is considered voluntary, and he was appointed to the seven-member committee back in 2014. He had served for four years.
The controversy started after The Idaho Statesman obtained some of the photos he sent to friends from his trip to Namibia. A total of 100 people received the email, which contained a controversial photo (among others) showing “a family of baboons” he reportedly killed.
Requesting the resignation, Gov. Butch Otter said “every member of my administration is expected to exercise good judgment. Commissioner Fischer did not.”
In mid-December, officials in Florida arrested nine people in connection with the “illegal baiting, taking and molestation” of black bears following a year-long investigation into the crimes.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the suspects were aiming to train packs of hunting dogs by luring the bears with drums of food, doughnuts and peanut butter, and then releasing the dogs to chase the bears — sometimes up trees — before mauling them. At least two of the bears were killed, officials say.
In more unusual news, a Missouri poacher involved in the illegal killing of “several hundred deer” over three years — and taking their heads before leaving their bodies to rot — was sentenced to watch the Disney classic “Bambi” once a month while he remains behind bars, a judge ruled in December.