COWARDS BEHIND KEYBOARDS: CyberBullies Preying on Women who Hunt

Published on December 8, 2013

A white-haired lady with delicate scarf draping her neck boasts membership in Soldiers for Christ on her Facebook page. A bald man quotes the Dalai Lama and Carl Sagan on his. And Matt of the UK is muscular, tattooed, and kind of cute.

What do these diverse characters have in common? They’re cyberbullies. They brazenly wish cancer, slaughter and suicide upon others.

Among their targets are young women who pursue organic, free-range meat.

Olivia Opre is the daughter-in-law of former Detroit Free Press outdoor writer Tom Opre. She is the host of “Extreme Huntress,” a web program showcasing women who pursue their own food.

Recently she allowed me access to the surge in her hate mail. I watch as 107 messages appear before my eyes, dripping vitriol. “Your sons should die slow painful deaths.” “Drown in your own blood.” Full of religious fervor, many threaten afterlife consequences — ranting of hell, damnation — and advise suicide.

Reading Olivia’s messages brought back unpleasant memories. As national television’s first huntress, the sheer volume of psychotic ramblings directed at me as well as my young children left me dumb-founded and shaking.

More cyberbulling erupted recently when TV star Melissa Bachman tweeted a picture of herself with an African lion.

It is a tough move for many to understand. Lions are iconic, especially to westerners. Though endangered in some places, the South African government actually urges a limited number of individuals to shoot lions, as villagers and livestock are regularly preyed upon by them.

The fee to hunt wild lion is steep, ranging from $50,000 to $140,000 for a safari in South Africa. Funds from hunters like Bachman off-set costs for rangers to defend lions from avenging villagers and would-be poachers. They also help repay natives for losses due to lion kills.

Hunting lions may not be something everyone supports, but with 300,000 women joining the ranks of hunters in the last five years, such animosity toward double-X chromosome carriers is certainly unanticipated.

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