Colorado hunter slammed for posing with corpse of mountain lion, gloating about her kill
28-year-old Franchesca Esplin was forced to delete her social media accounts after she received threats over the pictures of the killed mountain lion
A Colorado hunter is facing heavy backlash after pictures she posted of a December 2018 hunt of a mountain lion and bragged about killing the beast went viral across social media.
Twenty-eight-year-old Franchesca Esplin's uploads on her social media pages, which have now been deactivated after she received threats, showed her posing with the corpse of the cat, as well as showing off her bloodied hands.
A video uploaded of the hunt shows Esplin shooting and killing the cat as it sought safety on top of a tree after hounds chased it up the tree, and in a Facebook post, animal's rights group Prairie Protection Colorado (PPC) criticized Esplin and called her "sadistic" for how she hunted down the mountain lion.
They also posted screenshots of Esplin gleefully bragging about her hunt. She had written, "Anyone that knows me, has known that this hunt has been at the top of my bucket list FOREVER. I'm beyond grateful for the opportunity to harvest this amazing tom, being there in person seeing the cat in the tree and watching/hearing the hounds work is hands down the most amazing experience."
She also wrote about how she was "still on cloud 9" after the hunt and that "you guys have NO idea how happy I am." She ended with "this was by far the easiest cat race in history with us going an entire 700 yards or so" and "I can see why this hunt is addicting."
PPC wrote about how "this is the mentality of people who kill predator species for sport and fun" and that "Colorado's wildlife policies and officials support this insane looting of Colorado's wildlife."
They compared the state's laws to that of California, which banned the hunting of mountain lions in 1986, and asked for its supporters to start petitioning for a ban on bobcat trapping and hunting.
According to the Daily Mail, the current rules of the Department of Colorado Parks and Wildlife state that hunters who wish to hunt a mountain lion must obtain a lion license — which allows them to kill one bobcat per season — and have it with them during the hunt.
Esplin defended herself from the online criticism and said she had the permit to hunt the bobcat, something that has been confirmed by officials from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, who said she had not violated any laws during her kill.
PPC clarified their stance in another post and insisted they were targeting "the mentality of trophy hunters" and not specifically Esplin. "Anyone who would glory in the blood of an animal they kill has some cleary sociopathic tendencies," they wrote.
"Ethical hunters feel reverence and a sense of responsibility to the animals whose lives they take for subsistence. They do not proudly display the "trophy" of the animal they killed and exclaim that the kill had been on their 'bucket list forever'," they continued.
"By publishing these types of photos, we are shining a light on what is legally accepted in Colorado. We do this to inspire the people who care to get educated, put their feet on the ground and work towards change."