An incredible day hunting in South Africa! Stalked inside 60-yards on this beautiful male lion…what a hunt! pic.twitter.com/CGdDoRGTF2
— Melissa Bachman (@MelissaBachman) November 1, 2013
Melissa Bachman, a Minnesota native who likes hunting big game, posted this picture on her Twitter account and Facebook early this month and she’s been hearing about it ever since.
“You didn’t kill a lion, you stood behind a machine and pulled a little trigger, you pathetic, sad excuse of a human,” one signatory wrote on a petition in South Africa to ban her from the country.
It’s not entirely clear why this one picture sparked the protests since she’s been posting joyous images of herself with big game for quite awhile, including this image two weeks ago.
My biggest bull to date…what a great hunt! Whitetail hunting next and should be hitting the rut right on I hope! pic.twitter.com/dfBI9Qye0B
— Melissa Bachman (@MelissaBachman) November 10, 2013
Bachman, raised in Central Minnesota, hosts Winchester Deadly.
“It didn’t matter how many ducks we shot or how big our bucks were,” she said in this video in which she said she’s been passionate about hunting with her family since she was a young girl.
A Facebook page — Stop Melissa Bachman — now has over 300,000 fans.
But she’s got her supporters. Rebecca Davis, writing in South Africa’s Daily Maverick, says while she finds Bachman “a cross between Cruella de Vil and Sarah Palin,” the reaction has been “misogynistic vitriol.”
(While reading about how Melissa Bachman has consigned every woman on earth to the naughty-box, I was reminded of the response last week to singer Lily Allen’s latest music video. That’s a subject for another day, but one blogger wrote of the ensuing controversy around Allen: “It’s oppressive to have to represent a whole sex in everything you do”. Quite.)
The “Open Letter” to Bachman proceeds to express the hope that she contracted HIV in South Africa before she returns home to recommence sexual conduct with her cousin. The author also sketches out his fantasy punishment for Bachman: “I’d shoot you right in the neck and mount your disgusting botoxed face on my wall. Wait. No. The last thing I’d actually need is your silicone-infested head dripping toxins into my fireplace. I’d turf the body.” He concludes by inviting her to visit Cape Town in order to be stabbed.
This isn’t her first controversy. In September, she was tossed off a National Geographic Channel reality series, “Ultimate Survivor Alaska,” after a petition drive.
That struck Field and Stream writer Chad Love as particularly absurd.
“I mean, how the hell do you “Ultimately Survive” in a place like Alaska? By being the best at tending your vegetable garden? It’s freakin’ Alaska, for cryin’ out loud!” he wrote.
And Tony Weaver, at iafrica.com, dismisses the assertion that Bachman is “an absolute contradiction to the culture of conservation.”
Yes, there are plenty of rogues in the hunting world. But there are far more hunters out there, and professional hunters (PHs, as they are known in the trade) who are, within the code of hunting conduct, ethical hunters. And they are conservationists. Makes sense, doesn’t it – if you don’t conserve your wildlife, your livelihood collapses. So the hunting profession depends, by definition, on not just conservation, but on preservation of habitat.
In the middle of this, Bachman is staying quiet. She’s refused all interviews.
Related: Why Killing A Lion Is The Most Cowardly Thing You Can Do (BuzzFeed).