'Huntress' takes social media break after death threats

25 October 2018, 10:04

Hunter on islay

A "professional huntress" who sparked outrage after posting pictures of herself posing with a wild goat shot on Islay is leaving social media for two weeks after receiving death threats.

American TV presenter Larysa Switlyk said she was "headed out on a bush plane for my next hunting adventure" and would be out of service for a fortnight.

Ms Switlyk, who hosts the Larysa Unleashed programme on various channels, has been widely criticised after posting a picture of herself smiling behind the wild goat, with more than 12,000 people commenting on the image.

The Scottish Government has said it will review the law around animal culling in the wake of the response to the images.

In a message on Instagram and Twitter on Wednesday night, Ms Switlyk said she was heading into the wild to connect back with nature, posting a picture of herself next to a small seaplane.

She wrote: "My ride has arrived - I'm headed out on a bush plane for my next hunting adventure and will be out of service for 2 weeks.

"Nothing better than disconnecting from this social media-driven world and connecting back with nature.

"Hopefully that will give enough time for all the ignorant people out there sending me death threats to get educated on hunting and conservation. FYI, I was in Scotland over a month ago..."

The post attracted almost 1,000 comments on Twitter, with many people saying they hope Ms Switlyk does not return to Scotland.

In the tweet from her @LSwitlyk account which sparked the furore, the presenter wrote: "Beautiful wild goat here on the Island of Islay in Scotland. Such a fun hunt!! They live on the edge of the cliffs of the island and know how to hide well.

"Made a perfect 200 yard shot and dropped him with the @gunwerks and @nightforce_optics ! (Good thing too because he could have ran off the cliff into the water)."

Another image showed a man posing behind a white goat, with the caption: "Congrats on Jason on his gold medal goat here in Scotland on Islay. A unique hunt."

The presenter, whose Larysa Unleashed website says she is blossoming into a "hardcore huntress", also posted pictures of herself and companions posing with stags and a sheep on their hunting trip in Scotland.

The Scottish Government said responsible and appropriate culling of some wild animals, including deer and goats, is not illegal.

However the law is to be reviewed and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "Totally understandable why the images from Islay of dead animals being held up as trophies is so upsetting and offensive to people.

"@scotgov will review the current situation and consider whether changes to the law are required."

Argyll and Bute MSP Mike Russell tweeted that he wanted to see it stopped immediately.

Sarah Moyes, campaigner for OneKind which campaigns against animal cruelty, said: "It's utterly shocking to see these images of Larysa Switlyk and other hunters posing for photos with the wild animals they killed on a recent trip to Scotland.

"Yet again, instead of celebrating Scotland's magnificent wildlife, we are seeing these beautiful animals exploited in the name of sport.

"This is not the kind of tourism we should be encouraging in Scotland, let alone allowing to happen in the 21st century."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Responsible and appropriate culling of animals is a necessary part of sustainable land management and the culling of some wild animals, including deer and goats, is not illegal.

"However, we understand the concerns caused by these images and, in light of them, the Environment Secretary will review the situation and consider whether any clarification of or changes to the law might be required."