12-Year-Old Utah Girl Says She’ll Never Stop Hunting After Giraffe Kill

It’s well documented that women are increasingly becoming involved in hunting as a sport: 72% more women hunt with firearms and 50% more practice target shooting than just five years ago. But few are taking it to the same extremes as 12-year-old Aryanna Gourdin.

Gourdin recently became Internet-famous after posting a series of photos on Facebook of her trophy hunting safari in Africa. She’s posed smiling next to her kills, including a giraffe and a zebra.

Since then, Gourdin has reportedly received a wealth of backlash and even death threats for her posts, with some commenters calling her a “murderer.”

But the Utah native says it hasn’t dissuaded her passion for the sport.

“I’ll never stop hunting,” she said on Good Morning America. “It’s something I cherish and enjoy and I want other people to see what I experienced… I would never back down from hunting. I am a hunter and no matter what people say to me, I’m never going to stop.”

Aryanna and her father, Eli, argue that they have no moral qualms about big game hunting because it supports conservation efforts.

Others disagree. “Trophy hunting is cruel and does nothing to support conservation in Africa,” said Masha Kalinina of the Humane Society International. “Trophy hunting is short-term financial gain for long-term loss, not just for the animal kingdom but also because killing off charismatic species deprives local economies of ecotourism ­opportunities.”

Nevertheless, the Gourdins have received vocal support from pro-hunting groups. Mark Martineau and Jason Hansen, who run the hunting expedition company Rack Em Up that organized the Gourdins’ trip, have invited Aryanna back for a lion hunt next year.

Aryanna seemed excited for the prospect, and encouraged others to get into the sport. “I want other women and youth to get into the hunting experiences,” she said. “It’s just awesome.”

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