When it comes to social media shaming, hunters are one of the primary targets of internet trolls.
In the past, they have gone after the hunter who downed Cecil the lion in Zimbabawe, or the Texas man who hunted a black rhino in Namibia. This time they have set their sights on a former pro hockey player who shot a grizzly bear in Canada.
Tim Brent is a former member of the Carolina Hurricane hockey team, and the husband of Eva Shockey, a popular blogger, hunter, and author. Tim recently posted photos online from his hunting trip to the Yukon he did with his father-in-law in which they harvested a moose and grizzly bear.
Tim has pointed out that his hunts were completely legal, but that didn't stop Instagram from removing some of his photos. On Twitter, however, he posted the following picture , and said "Alright folks, here is my Mountain Grizzly! We put an awesome stalk on him but he spotted us at about 75 yards. Instead of taking off he turned and came right at us. It was very easy to tell this boar owned the valley we were hunting in and wasn’t scared of anything!"
Following this, and other posts, Tim immediately started receiving harassment and threats from anti-hunting advocates. There are thousands of examples of these comments on his recent posts, but many of them are too explicit to post. Twitter reportedly ruled that the threatening messages didn't violate their terms of service.
He was even the target of british actor and comedian Ricky Gervais, who said "I bet killing this beautiful bear 'put an awesome stalk on' Tim too."
Although Tim did everything legally, he was still the victim of those who hate hunting, including social media sites in Silicon Valley. Hunting always elicits strong emotions on both sides of the issue. Anti-hunters cannot understand why killing an animal would be enjoyable or legal, while hunters try to explain the benefits of using the animals as food, as well as funding conservation efforts. Hunters fund approximately 60% of nationwide conservation programs, with NPR even stating that declining numbers of hunters threatens U.S. conservation as a whole.
Hunting, whether for survival or as a hobby, has existed for the entire history of mankind. Not everyone chooses to partake in this sport, but for those that do so LEGALLY, the dangerous social media shaming against them must stop.