Column: Boycott hunting in the United Kingdom

By now you’ve probably heard that Sarasota’s professional huntress and angler, Larysa Switlyk, host of Larysa Unleashed, has been reported for an alleged gun charge in Scotland, which stems from a mountain goat hunt she took more than two months ago.

Larysa posted a picture of the critter on Twitter, and then all hell broke loose.

More than 20,000 people castigated her on social media.

Now, it appears as though the Scottish police have succumb to the social media pressure and have reported her for an obscure weapon offense to prosecutors, along with an unnamed 41-year-old American man who accompanied her during the shoot.

However, a person familiar with the incident told me no one from any UK law enforcement agency has contacted her about any alleged violation.

According to the BBC:

She was reported under section 11a of the Firearms Act 1968, which refers to authorized lending and possession of firearms for hunting.

The acts says anyone borrowing a firearm from another person must:

  • Be borrowing the rifle or shot gun for the purpose of hunting animals, shooting game or vermin or shooting at artificial targets
  • Comply with any conditions specified in the lender’s certificate
  • Be accompanied by the lender or someone who holds the relevant certificate

A spokesperson for the force said: “Following several complaints of wild goat ‘trophy’ hunting on Islay in September, Police Scotland can now confirm that a 33-year-old woman and a 41-year-old man from the USA have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal for firearms offences.”

I know Larysa. She follows local laws and regulations religiously.

I cannot help but wonder as to the sexist nature of the outrage — and the resulting threat of a criminal charge.

If the hunter in the photo were an older man, as opposed to a young blonde woman, would this have even become an issue?

Would charges have even been considered?

The UK receives millions of American dollars annually through its hunting offerings.

In fact, many large family-owned estates would be shuttered were it not for the income derived from bird and game hunting.

Some examples:

  • A five-day “first class” red stag stalk in the “heart of the Scottish Highlands” retails for $3,500.
  • Four days of “Rough Shooting” in Brechin, Scotland, which includes pheasant, partridge, hares, woodcock, rabbits and pigeons, retails for $2,400.
  • Four days of “luxury hunting” in Melrose, Scotland, which includes duck and goose, sells for $3,100.

I’ve never hunted in the UK and have no plans to do so, especially now.

Why would I?

I doubt any estate in the UK could compete with stalking whitetail in Northern Minnesota, or pheasant hunting in South Dakota.

Until officials in the United Kingdom can guarantee that well-meaning hunters — regardless of their nationality — won’t face obscure criminal charges filed in response to social media pressure, I think it’s time we all just stay home.

#BoycottUKHunting

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About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

1 Comment

  1. Gabriel de la Prada on

    I grew up in England,and I’m really not very proud of it,gun laws there are so restrictive that, you guessed it you either have to be rich or buy one illegally which by the way is really easy, so these are my choices, become a millionaire or a criminal,mmmmmm

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