Well known huntress Olivia Opre goes on the record stating that being killed by a hunter is more humane for animals. This ought to stir up some controversial conversation amongst all hunters and anti-hunters. Give us your thoughts below.
The walls of Olivia Opre’s home, like those of any proud mother, are speckled with memories. But between the smiling photos of her family holidays are impala heads and wildebeest horns: ‘memorable art’ the 39-year-old Montana-based hunting consultant has collected in her two decades as a big game hunter.
“Animals can die in a lot of ways, and I think being killed by a hunter is the most humane one,” Opre says. “Taking a life is emotional, but hunting is a journey, and a creature’s death is only five percent of the whole hunting experience.”
It’s a stance she’s been trying – somewhat unsuccessfully – to communicate to her legions of detractors since she took up hunting aged 16; Opre receives waves of “vicious” messages, sometimes up to a thousand a day, and has had a $50,000 bounty placed on her head after one critic posted her home address online.
“It’s frustrating that people can cast so much judgment and hatred on me for what I do,” she muses. “The same people who call me a ‘Bambi killer’ think it’s fine to wear leather, put lipstick on and take penicillin, all of which involve the death of an animal.
“Anti-hunters draw the conclusion that I walk up to an animal I’ve shot, smile that it’s dead and cut its head off like I’m Isis, but there’s so much more to it than that.”
Photos may not tell the whole story, but images of smiling marksmen, guns defiantly slung over their shoulder as they pose with their newly slain prey, don’t help their cause. Friday, this week, will mark a year since Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer killed Cecil the lion, an act which sparked worldwide outrage. He was issued with death threats, protesters at his office urged him ‘rot in hell’ and the killing was condemned by everyone from Ricky Gervais to Mia Farrow.
In the weeks and months that followed, David Cameron spoke out on the subject, a children’s book and limited Beanie baby dedicated to Cecil were released, and the beast was posthumously named TIME Magazine’s Most Influential Animal of 2016. Cecil’s Wikipedia page will serve as an eternal reminder of what took place 12 months ago – entire books could be filled listing the tributes that poured in from all over the globe.
“He was the victim of an extreme attack,” opines Opre – not, of course, referring to the animal, but to Palmer, who paid $50,000 for the hunt. “What happened was blown out of proportion, and that man’s life has been destroyed over hearsay.”
She is referring to the swell of claims insisting the killing had been illegal. However, criminal investigations ultimately cleared Palmer of any wrongdoing – he was on a legal hunt that had been organised by South African outfitters.
Opre puts the gargantuan public reaction down to “The Lion King, and films that show predators in a certain way” – as such, the deaths of animals like lions elicit a far greater response than those of less exotic mammals such as moose or wolves. “There is so much emotion wrapped around this because we love our dogs and cats, which have been humanised,” she explains. “But I’m not a murderer – that’s something one human does to another.”