Colorado hunter, Franchesca ‘Franny’ Esplin condemned by environmental group, Prairie Protection Colorado after sharing mountain lion kill on Facebook.
A Colorado hunter’s decision to share photos on her Facebook page of her posing with a blood-soaked mountain lion she’d recently killed has led an environmental group publicly shaming the woman as a ‘sociopathic trophy hunter’.
Prairie Protection Colorado last week reposted images depicting Franchesca ‘Franny’ Esplin, 28, lifting the carcass of the freshly killed mountain lion, and then showing off her manicured hands covered with the animal’s blood.
The images, along with a short video showing Espliin shooting the big cat perched in a snow-covered tree, were all taken during a December 2018 hunting trip.
The group also shared a post from Esplin’s now-defunct Facebook page, in which the married mom, who is a taxidermist by trade, gushes about bagging the mountain lion, which she said ‘has been at the top of my bucket list FOREVER.’
In her status update from late December, Esplin thanked the houndsmen who helped her ‘harvest this amazing tom’ and went on to says she is ‘still on cloud 9.’
‘Thank you to all those that helped out, you guys have NO idea how happy I am,’ she’d posted. ‘I can see why this hunt is addicting.’
Esplin according to the dailymail concluded by saying, ‘I’m so dang happy.’
Activists with Prairie Protection Colorado, which seeks to protect local wildlife responded with a post condemning Esplin as a ‘sadistic’ killer and calling for a ban on trophy hunts.
‘This is the mentality of people who kill predator species for sport and fun,’ the group’s message read. ‘Make no mistake that Colorado’s wildlife policies and officials support this insane looting of Colorado’s wildlife. It is OUR RESPONSIBILITY as people who care about wildlife to END the insanity of killing for pleasure.
‘We have to do more than get angry and type about it on Facebook. We need to all come together to start the process of changing laws.’
The post appealed to the group’s supporters to sign a citizens’ petition calling for a ban on bobcat trapping and hunting in Colorado.
Franchesca Esplin complains of receiving threats:
Under the current rules of the Department of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, mountain lion hunters are required to obtain a lion license and have it with them during the hunt. The license allows each hunter to harvest one bobcat per season.
Esplin defended her actions in an interview with Fox 31 Denver, saying that she had a permit to take the bobcat and that her hunt was ‘completely legal.’
Officials from Colorado Parks and Wildlife backed her up, saying there is nothing to suggest the woman had violated any laws pertaining to mountain lion hunting.
Esplin, who has deleted most of her social media accounts as of Thursday afternoon, complained that she has been receiving threats.
On Wednesday, the wildlife protection organization posted a follow-up message on its Facebook page, arguing that they never intended to ‘specifically target Franny,’ but rather ‘the mentality of trophy hunters.’
Reiterated, Deanna Meyer, executive director of Prairie Protection Colorado, ‘Anyone who would glory in the blood of an animal they kill has some cleary[sic] sociopathic tendencies,’
‘To me, that doesn’t include selfies of the dead animal with laughing and elation.’ continued the post.
‘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.”
‘Unfortunately, this mentality and the killing of our native species for sport is codified in Colorado’s wildlife laws that are geared towards protecting sport hunters “right to kill.”
‘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.’
Meyer’s organization currently has a petition with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to make the hunting of bobcats and mountain lions illegal.
Although there hasn’t been much progress yet, she hopes that images like those of Franny Esplin’s spur a societal change of attitude.