Colorado Hunter In Crosshairs After Online Bullying By Anti-Hunting Activists
DENVER (CBS4)– A picture of a hunter posing on Facebook with her kill, a mountain lion, has put her in the crosshairs of groups that oppose hunting. She claims she’s being harassed online by animal activists and that some have threatened her life.
“My first hunting experience was when I was three years old,” said Charisa Argys.
Argys lives in Buena Vista and grew up with a love of hunting after being introduced to the sport by her father.
“It’s always been quality time for us. It’s always been a time when we got to get away,” said Argys.
In February 2013 she hunted and shot a 175 pound male mountain lion. She posted pictures of her kill on the Internet.
“I am very proud of what I had accomplished that day,” said Argys.
One year later that picture would result in online threats.
“My picture had been placed on an animal rights activist page,” said Argys.
That picture quickly made the rounds in cyberspace as anti-hunting organizations picked it up and re-posted it, along with hundreds of comments, some of them hurtful.
“They were calling me horrible names. They were saying they wanted to kill me, they wanted to see me dead, they called me fat, they called me ugly, they called me the B-word, they called me the C-word,” said Argys. “There really wasn’t anything they weren’t willing to call me and to say.”
One comment reads, “The only answer is to take out these psychopaths. Problem solved — animals saved.”
Another comment calls for “an eye for an eye.”
And another, “You are a disgrace to those of us who respect life, human and animal. I’d love to hunt YOU and hand YOUR head on my living room wall.”
“You know it was definitely cyberbullying. These were not just threats but I would say they were terroristic threats,” said Argys.
Argys’ shooting and killing the mountain lion is legal in Colorado.
“Absolutely it’s legal. It’s part of wildlife management,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Mike Porras. “You may not like hunting, we understand that. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to express your opinions.”
Porras said Argys is not the first female hunter to be the target of attacks on the Internet.
“I mean, there are Facebook pages harassing women that have posed with their harvest,” said Porras.
Argys said she did not expect that type of reaction when she posted her picture online.
“I had no idea that this type of behavior was going on.”
Argys said Silva Wadhwa, a former reporter with CNBC based in Germany, claims to have started the firestorm.
In a Facebook message to Argys, Wadhwa wrote that she doesn’t agree with trophy killing. She went on to state, “But I do not and will not ever condone or encourage insults, threats or death wishes.”
Argys said the Internet comments continue but she vows not to be intimidated, “If I don’t stand up for myself and I don’t take a position on what I feel passionate about how can I expect my children to stand up if it happens to them?”
She also plans to keep hunting.
“It was an extreme hunt and it was well worth it,” said Argys.
According to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Argys hunted her mountain lion in an area where there is an effort to reduce the number of wild cats.