An Instagram famous US hunter has left social media after receiving death threats for posting photos from her trip to Scotland.
Larysa Switlyk, a professional “huntess” found herself at the centre of a furore after she posted photographs with her Scottish trophies, including a goat she said was killed with a “200 yard shot” during a “fun hunt” on the Hebridean island of Islay.
But on Wednesday night, the 33-year-old TV presenter complained she had received death threats and posted an image of herself in front of a plane to announce her two week departure from social media.
She said: “I’m headed out on a bush plane for my next hunting adventure and will be out of service for two 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.”
More than 12,000 people commented on Switlyk’s hunting images where she described a her kill as “beautiful”. In response, the Scottish government has promised to review animal culling laws.
Her trophy photographs, which also included a “montrous stag” also sparked outrage with animal rights groups and individuals like Judy Murray, Ricky Gervais and radio presenter Nicky Campbell.
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 e… https://t.co/QHPB5EFN8K pic.twitter.com/90DhzRXoUu
— Larysa Switlyk (@LSwitlyk) October 24, 2018
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has now condemned her behaviour which does not fall in line with its social media policy for hunters.
BASC’s policy advises hunters to “consider whether it is appropriate to feature dead animals / birds / blood.”
It specifically notes: “Weighing up how your picture could appear in a newspaper is a useful method for deciding whether you should use a picture.
Garry Doolan, BASC’s deputy director of communications and public affairs, said: “By choosing to use social media to tell the word about her exploits hunting goats and other animals on the small Scottish island of Islay, [Switlyk] has found herself thrust onto the news pages of … a host of other papers and websites. And it doesn’t make pleasant reading.
“All our hard work and good intentions can be undone in an instant on social media.
“It has the power to educate and inform. It also has the power to alienate vast swathes of the population, the very people we need to get onside – and keep onside – if shooting is to survive the challenges ahead.”
Ms Switlyk described the “fun hunt” of the goat on Islay, and said it was killed with a 200 yard shot, despite some islanders saying they have to chase the feral animals out of their vegetable patches and you “can get within 10 yards of them”.
Goats are routinely shot by gamekeepers on estates in a number of areas in the Highlands, but the American and her hunting companion were criticised for “glorying” in the kills and treating the animals as trophies.
It emerged on Thursday that 20 billy goats were shot last month on the Hebridean island of Rum, which is owned by the government conservation quango, Scottish Natural Heritage. Shooters paid £270 a head to join the shoot.
The agency signed over the right to cull the goats for conservation reasons – from an island population of around 250 – to Toby Fichter-Irvine, who runs Gallanach Lodge on the nearby island of Muck.
He said there was a “lot of ignorance” over the shooting of goats, which were “no different to deer”.
He added: “They have no predators and they would cause massive ecological damage in a very fragile habitat if they were not culled. This is the first time we have carried out goat stalking on Rum. We do not shoot sheep – in fact I find it disgraceful and distasteful they shot a tup (on Islay).
“I think the furore over what happened on Islay is because the Americans have a particular way of doing things. The pictures are in poor taste. We do things very professionally.”
Ms Switlyk is a former accountant in New York who left her job to pursue her passion for hunting and fishing, and hosts TV programme Larysa Unleashed, which follows her around the world on hunting trips.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We fully understand why so many people find these images of hunted animals being held up as trophies so upsetting.
“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 raised 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.”