Soon, PETA stepped in as well to condemn his actions. Regarding his posts, a PETA spokesperson said: “Only someone dead in heart and head could fail to see that mountain lions, wild boars, deer, and other animals are thinking, feeling individuals – not “things” to blow away for amusement.”
“Those animals whose lives aren’t taken outright by hunters often endure slow, agonizing deaths, leaving their offspring to starve, as they’re unable to fend for themselves after their mothers have been killed by some human trying to compensate for feelings of inadequacy.”
“All most of us see when we look at a photograph of a hunter who gunned down an animal for “pleasure” is photographic evidence of a small person with deep-seated insecurities.”
However, his defenders, as well as defenders of ethical hunting will have a different point of view. They will argue that the money raised from such hunting helps aid conservation efforts. Ecklund is the host of the TV show The Edge, the website of which identifies him as a ‘fair chase hunter.’ What that entails is that all the hunting he participates in is ‘ethical’ and all the animals are ‘free-ranging,’ meaning they are not confined by gates or barriers.
The website also lists some of Ecklund’s achievements, one of which includes winning the 1999 gold medal at the Canadian national 3D archery championships. It describes hunting as his passion and his ‘motivational lifesaver,’ referring to the fact that he was recently diagnosed and treated for cancer.
Laws in Alberta, Canada, also insist on such hunters holding a recreational hunting license. It states that it is illegal to discharge a weapon at a big game animal while it is swimming, be accompanied by a dog while hunting big game or allow a dog to pursue big game during the winter season hunting season.
While most of Ecklund’s posts attract some attention, his mountain lion kill post was shared over 2,000 times and nearly 1,000 comments; some positive, but mostly negative. One user wrote: “Those who find pleasure in sadistic behaviors such a murder will reap what they sow. The smile of pure joy holding an innocent dead body is purely psychotic.”