Australian Woman Becomes 'Addicted' To Hunting After Moving To US
Warning: This articles features images which some readers may find distressing
A woman who kills bears and uses them to make stew says she is 'addicted' to hunting but insists she loves animals.
Mary Spooner O'Neill Phillips, who is originally from Sydney but now lives in Nashville, says she always had a keen interest in the outdoors and seeing her family's farm growing up fuelled a passion for sustainable living and knowing where her food comes from.
She first started hunting in 2016 after moving to the US, starting out with wild turkeys, and says she initially had mixed feelings towards killing the animals, but that she felt a 'deep respect' for the turkey and would say a prayer for them after.
Now TV host Mary hunts deer, wild birds, fish and even black bears. She uses the dead animals' flesh for steaks, stews and sausages and then uses their hides to make rugs.
Talking about her first hunt, Mary, 32, said: "I just remember thinking that there had been this whole way of life out there that I had been missing out on where you are living with nature and off the land, and connected to the earth. I was addicted from then on out.
"There is a huge sense of pride when you train to make a good shot, harvest an animal yourself, and then eat it. When you buy meat from the supermarket, you have no idea how the animal died.
"I have seen enough YouTube videos to know that their death is not always humane in an abattoir, and can be dragged out for days and hours. It's really torturous for an animal to die that way. I think that's the main reason why I love to hunt."
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When met with a backlash online, Mary points out there is a difference between hunting and poaching.
She said: "For the most part the reaction is positive. I try to make a point of showing the wild game cooking so people can see how we use the animal.
"I've just received negativity on my black bear picture. People get funny about apex predators but I try to explain to them why there is a harvest season and how it is needed for conservation.
"There are over one million black bears in north America. They need to be managed so they don't overpopulate. If they are not managed then a lot will die from starvation, or disease. I also explain that I eat the animal and use its hide. They usually are OK after that.
"If you eat meat and buy it from a supermarket, you are in no position to judge me for getting my meat organically. Hunters are not poachers. Poachers give hunters a bad name.
"Hunters aim to hunt an animal in the most ethical way, in its environment, so the animal has a fast death. We love animals probably more than most people.
"You either choose to believe the steak in the packet in the market just died in its sleep and not care, or you can know where it came from. I know hunting is not for everyone.
"But don't judge those who choose to know more. Conservation is needed to manage wildlife and habitats and hunters provide a huge percentage of money towards funding conservation."
Featured Image Credit: Media Drum World
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