Woman defends hunting after she's slammed for shooting mountain lion

‘I don’t feel ANY remorse’: Hunter, 46, furiously defends blood sport against critics after being slammed for killing a mountain lion and a bear – then proudly posing with her trophies

  • Jennifer Tomsheck Hawes, 46, from Montana, began hunting at just five-years-old – when she killed a gopher
  • She went on to shoot her first deer at age 12 – and she’s been hooked ever since. She has now killed elk, bear, and even an 150-pound mountain lion 
  • Jennifer does everything herself, including killing the animal, skinning it, and chopping it up. She then stores it in her freezer for her family to eat
  • She also got her two kids – Ellie, 17, and Jaden, 19 – involved with the hobby when they were toddlers. They both killed their first animals at age 12 just like her
  • She defended herself against online haters, claiming she hunts ‘to help with the management of the population of other animals’
  • She said she doesn’t feel ‘any remorse’ over killing the animals since she is using their meat to feed her family, which ‘gives the animal a new purpose’
  • A hunting-obsessed woman, who taught her kids to shoot when they were just 12 years old, has vehemently defended her hobby after she was slammed online for killing an 150-pound mountain lion.

    Physician Jennifer Tomsheck Hawes, 46, from Montana, grew up on a ranch near her hometown, where she began hunting at the tender age of five – when she killed a gopher. She went on to shoot her first deer when she was just 12.

    After her first deer hunt, Jennifer recalled feeling ‘accomplished and proud’ as the adrenaline rushed through her body – and she’s been hooked ever since. She has now hunted elk, bear, and even mountain lions.  

    A typical day of hunting involves waking up in the early hours of the morning and going to a nearby field – where she will walk for miles at a time and stalk the animals, watching their movements and making a plan.

    Jennifer usually goes hunting alone, and once she’s got her kill, she will then skin and process the entire animal by herself. She will then chop it up and put it into her freezer for her family to eat across the next year.

    A hunting-obsessed woman, who taught her kids to shoot at only 12 years old, defended her hobby after she was slammed online for killing an 150-pound mountain lion

    A hunting-obsessed woman, who taught her kids to shoot at only 12 years old, defended her hobby after she was slammed online for killing an 150-pound mountain lion

    Jennifer Tomsheck Hawes, 46, from Montana, began hunting at just five-years-old - when she killed a gopher

    Jennifer Tomsheck Hawes, 46, from Montana, began hunting at just five-years-old – when she killed a gopher 

    She went on to shoot her first deer at age 12 - and she’s been hooked ever since. She has now hunted elk, bear, and even mountain lion

    She went on to shoot her first deer at age 12 – and she’s been hooked ever since. She has now hunted elk, bear, and even mountain lion 

    Jennifer tries to hunt at any chance she can get, and will usually take a few weeks off of work during the main deer and elk season in September to get her fix.

    She also got her two kids involved with the hobby. Ellie, 17, and Jaden, 19, were first introduced to hunting when they were just toddlers, and killed their first animals at 12 years old. 

    Despite feeling accomplished with her hunts, Jennifer has had a few negative comments from people online, such as, ‘How can you kill such a beautiful animal?’

    However she defended herself against her online haters, claiming she hunts ‘to help with the management of the population of other animals.’ 

    She said she doesn’t feel ‘any remorse’ over killing the animals since their death is ‘quick and painless,’ and she is using their meat to feed her family, which ‘gives the animal a new purpose.’ 

    She also said she wished people would understand that hunting is no different to being a meat eater – since what animals go through on farms is ‘much less humane.’

    According to reports, there are only 20,000-40,000 mountain lions in the U.S. and about 5,000 of them in Montana – where Jennifer lives – while there are over 25 million deer across the country and more than 500,000 in Montana alone.

    There are about 55,000 wild grizzly bears in America, and only 1,000 of them are located in Montana. As for elk, on the other hand, there are approximately one million living in the U.S. today, and around 136,000 in Montana.

    ‘I began hunting in September 1986, as I grew up on a ranch near my hometown and was introduced to the hobby from a young age,’ said Jennifer.

    ‘I used to love being outdoors and at just five-years-old, I hunted my first animal which was a gopher.

    ‘As I wasn’t of a legal shooting age, I didn’t hunt for the first time using a rifle on my own until I was 12-years-old, where I shot a deer.

    ‘I felt so alive after my first real hunt and as a sense of accomplishment ran through my body, I became hooked on hunting.

    Jennifer does everything herself, including killing the animal, skinning it, and chopping it up. She then stores it in her freezer for her family to eat

    Jennifer does everything herself, including killing the animal, skinning it, and chopping it up. She then stores it in her freezer for her family to eat 

    Jennifer works full-time as a physician, however, she is forced to take a few weeks off of work during the main season, to get her hunting fix

    Jennifer works full-time as a physician, however, she is forced to take a few weeks off of work during the main season, to get her hunting fix 

    She also got her two kids - Ellie, 17, and Jaden, 19 - involved with the hobby when they were toddlers. They both killed their first animals at age 12 just like her

    She also got her two kids – Ellie, 17, and Jaden, 19 – involved with the hobby when they were toddlers. They both killed their first animals at age 12 just like her 

    ‘A typical day for me starts off waking up in the early hours of the morning and driving by my nearest gas station to grab coffee and snacks to help fuel me for the long day ahead.

    ‘I will then travel to a nearby field or forest and begin stalking any animals I can spot, so that I can analyze their movements ready to make a plan for the morning.

    ‘There’s lots of hiking involved and sometimes if you have no luck, you usually stop off for lunch and then head back out ready for the evening hunt – it’s an action-packed day.

    ‘Although I still enjoy hunting for the same reasons, I also love being able to provide fresh meat for my family for the next year to come.

    ‘As I usually go alone, I tend to do the whole process from start to finish myself where I will skin the animal, chop it up and then store it in my freezer for the next few months for my family’s dinner.

    ‘I wanted my kids to find a love for hunting at a young age just like I did, so when they were toddlers I used to take them out with me where they would hike for miles as they were too young to shoot and watch me hunt.

    On his first time hunting her son shot a deer and an antelope

    As for her daughter, she also shot a deer on her first hunting trip - from just under 300-foot away

    On his first time hunting her son (left) shot a deer and an antelope. As for her daughter (right), she also shot a deer on her first hunting trip – from just under 300-foot away

    Jennifer said her daughter 'doesn’t care for shooting anymore but still tags along for the journey'

    Jennifer said her daughter ‘doesn’t care for shooting anymore but still tags along for the journey’

    She said she doesn't feel 'any remorse' over killing the animals since she is using their meat to feed her family, which 'gives the animal a new purpose'

    She said she doesn’t feel ‘any remorse’ over killing the animals since she is using their meat to feed her family, which ‘gives the animal a new purpose’ 

    ‘Most people ask if I was nervous taking them out – especially whilst doing such a dangerous sport – but I wasn’t nervous at all, I was actually excited to teach them and make them my hunting partners.

    ‘During my son’s first hunt when he was just twelve-years-old, he hunted a deer and antelope which was extremely impressive and I now believe that he is a better hunter than I am.

    ‘Although my daughter enjoyed her first hunt, where she shot her first deer from just under 300-feet away, she doesn’t care for shooting anymore but still tags along for the journey.’

    Jennifer loves hunting so much that she tries to go at any chance she gets. Since she works full-time as a physician, however, she is forced to take a few weeks off of work during the main season, to get her hunting fix.

    ‘Since I started hunting, I have hunted an elk, bear and a big tom mountain lion which weighed 150-pounds,’ Jennifer continued.

    ‘Despite this, I believe that it isn’t the size of the trophy that matters, but the experience of hunting the trophy, as this is what brings the greatest sense of achievement.

    A typical day of hunting involves waking up in the early hours of the morning and walking for miles at a time. She stalks the animals, watching their movements and making a plan

    A typical day of hunting involves waking up in the early hours of the morning and walking for miles at a time. She stalks the animals, watching their movements and making a plan

    Despite feeling accomplished with her hunts, Jennifer has had a few negative comments from people online, such as, ‘How can you kill such a beautiful animal?'

    Despite feeling accomplished with her hunts, Jennifer has had a few negative comments from people online, such as, ‘How can you kill such a beautiful animal?’ 

    She defended herself against her online haters, claiming she hunts 'to help with the management of the population of other animals'

    She defended herself against her online haters, claiming she hunts ‘to help with the management of the population of other animals’ 

    'I believe that if you eat meat, you cannot criticize hunters,' she said. 'A well placed shot means a quick and painless death - more humane than what some animals [on farms] go through'

    ‘I believe that if you eat meat, you cannot criticize hunters,’ she said. ‘A well placed shot means a quick and painless death – more humane than what some animals [on farms] go through’ 

    ‘I do have difficulties sometimes being impatient, where I constantly have to tell myself to slow down and take my time as you have to have a careful eye and steady balance when it comes to hunting.

    ‘After I started posting my hunting images online, I did have a few comments from colleagues in other areas of the country who didn’t agree with what I was doing, but were still respectful with their words nonetheless.

    ‘However, I once had a comment that really angered me from a complete stranger who commented, “How can you kill such a beautiful animal?” which infuriated me as they were referring to a mountain lion that I once killed.

    ‘If they knew that I hunted this predator to help with the management of the population of other animals, I think they would’ve thought twice about their comment.

    ‘Despite this, I have had some lovely comments such as, “Your kids are so lucky to have a mom like you” which puts a smile on my face, as I’m a single parent and I like doing the best I can for my kids.

    ‘I don’t feel any remorse over the animals I kill, as I put my hunting to good use and use their meat to feed my family, which gives the animal a new purpose.

    ‘I believe that if you eat meat, you cannot criticize hunters. Cows and pigs have it far worse than the free-range elk that I hunt and a well placed shot means a quick and painless death – much more humane than what some animals go through.’

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