Hunting Show Host Under Fire for Posting Lion Trophy Photos to Facebook


The host of a Minnesota-based hunting show recently found herself in hot water with animal lovers everywhere after she posted a photo of herself posing with a lion she had just killed to her Facebook.

Melissa Bachman hosts the Pursuit Channel’s “Winchester Deadly Passion,” which chronicles her travels around the world hunting everything from whitetail deer to crocodiles. (And often concludes with her posing for photos with some big ol’ dead thing.) The show had a loyal following of hunting enthusiasts but little recognition in the larger world.

That changed after Nov. 1, when Bachman posted images from a South African hunting expedition, including several of her posing with a “beautiful male lion” she had just shot — Bachman even made one of the shots her profile photo.


Fellow hunters commenting on Facebook were routinely congratulatory, but not so much the rest of the world. A South African conservationist has already gathered 15,000 signatures on a petition calling for the government to ban Bachman from ever returning to the country.

“She is an absolute contradiction to the culture of conservation this country prides itself on,” reads the petition. “As tax payers we demand she no longer be granted access to this country and its natural resources.”

Bachman herself hasn’t addressed the controversy yet, but administrators of the conservancy where she shot the lion said in a statement that it was part of a carefully monitored program to maintain a sustainable wildlife population. The African lion is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, with a population of about 30,000 — a decrease of nearly 90 percent from the 1970s.

Trophy photos have caused trouble for a wide range of public figures, from the CEO of GoDaddy’s elephant takedown to the California Fish and Game commissioner who lost his job after posing with the body of a mountain lion he had just killed and was about to eat.

(via ABC News via SLR Lounge)

Image credits: Photograph by Melissa Bachman

  • MattB81

    Actually my comment if you read the other part of it explains the relevance – canned hunting is not like they are in a cage it’s first off still open range hunting. Second more are bread than are hunted. Third managing that population allows the managed growth of the other endangered animals that the predator preys on like the Antelop. Now it’s true not all of them do transition some of the animals to the protected parks but many do – and the funds from the hunts help to keep the protected parks.

    You should actually look into what the canned hunting industry does as well :)

    Further, I’m glad you’re one of the top marksmen in the world and can take those balls off a mouse at 150m. I know it was your rhetoric trying to make a point – but lets be completely honest here.

    Her ego, whether you like it or not or even given she likely had no good intentions at all has now provided additional funding to the protected reserves, provided funding to the canned hunting reserves, provided food to locals, and put money into the local economy.

    Aside from putting money into your local camera and printing store how many of our photography hobbies do the same? I’m not saying there are not ways for us to – what I am saying is that few do it.

    Also you say it’s not sport and it’s just an execution, roughly 55 yards (50m) is an easy distance for a lion to close, it’s also a lot easier for the lion to get away. To stalk that close and not get noticed is not exactly an execution. That said I’m sure they would have taught you something about tactics in the military, or were you the guy in the unit who just went charging up the line guns blazing because hiding and sneaking up on your pray is just not a level playing field. [sarcasm – I hope you get my point]

    You want to argue against how unfair it is to the animal lets talk about the beef in your burger, the milk in your fridge and the side of bacon.

  • the_gator

    They are not hunting over populated deer, they are hunting endangered species. I am not against hunting if you going to eat the meat but to hunt just for the sake of hunting and killing majestic animals is totally wrong. Species have already disappeared because of over hunting and people just wanting a trophy.

  • Stan B.

    You continue to respond in probabilities and possibilities- all I asked you for were the facts concerning one of those theoreticals… that you yourself raised!

    I have no problem with conservation, but we all know (or should know) how the best laid plans of mice and men are so often, and regularly bent, thwarted and ignored for the almighty dollar— not to mention the completely unregulated slaughter that is committed every day by poachers.

    Finally, finally (finally)- you’d hope that people in this day and age would grow up enough to not take such great pride in slaughtering such magnificent animals for the sake of boosting and glamorizing their sorely deficient egos.

  • the_gator

    If you want to kill and help eliminate an endangered species I don’t mind the animal having some physical advantage since humans are supposed to use their brain. What is the difference between when a unarmed person was put in an arena with a lion or you use what is basically a sniper rifle on a lion.

  • VINERI_13

    All-Seeing Eye, lol

  • MattB81

    The only theoretical I raised was the distance which I looked up and posted another reply confirming it was within 60 yards, noted as 50m which is roughly 54-55yards.

    I also agree with you on the issues of poachers, and even the canned hunting reserves contribute to stopping poaching. Granted their motives are that they want people paying to hunt, at the same time it affects the numbers they are allowed to have hunted.

    That is where the major difference is – poaching is illegal and is being fought – this was not poaching. You can’t tie this to poaching there is a difference. Poaching lines one mans pockets and has no regulation and causes the further endangerment of a species – game hunting is heavily regulated.

    And to your final statement, you know, you’re doing a lot of cloud walking there. The animal was slaughtered which is actually a much better thing than being hunted. While you’re trying to use the word slaughtered to mean that it was ruthlessly killed for no purpose the definition of the word is actually to kill an animal for food. Now if you want to argue against Deer and Duck hunters that’s another story those are hunter for population control.

    It’s the process of using a trait you may not desire in a person to instead have a good effect. Yes a lion was killed, yes the hunter as it typically does had the advantage over the prey, and yes this has the impact of putting food on the tables of those who need it, money into the economy that needs it, money into the protected lands that help continue even that species to grow, and money to keep the cycle going.

  • John Whitby

    The point I am making is that there is absolutely no glory in what she has done, but take a look on her website and at the comments on there … She revels in her ‘exploits’ and so do her bloodthirsty followers … all negative comments are quickly removed and the page is basically a shrine to the massacre of relatively defenceless animals …. Oh and as for the chance of her missing and being mauled by an attacking lion …. Not a chance, they have experienced rangers at these shoots who have their weapons trained on the animal just in case that happens … and especially with television crews around.
    As for the money from these shoots being used to breed more lions … yeah they may do …. but most of them are shot too!
    And as for the harm the lions may do to locals, they usually take place in wildlife parks where there are few people living anyway, and those that do are more than capable of dealing with them.
    Finally if you actually knew anything about lions rather than getting your info from hunting sites, you’d know that male lions rarely kill livestock or people, it is the females that do the hunting whilst the male saves his strength for the prolific sex he partakes in with his harem and the fights with the younger males trying to usurp him. Young males tend to pick off carrion or leftovers and far more animals in Africa are killed by hyenas than lions.

  • MattB81

    The human did use their brain, it developed and chose a weapon to switch the advantage.

    In one the kill is for the enjoyment of the crowd and for pure sport with no defense and no escape, the other is sport and feeds the crowd, provides funding to protected and game reserves, funding to continue the breeding of the species, and funding to regulate the hunting to insure more are bread than are killed with at the very least the ability to escape based on the skill of the predator stalking it.

    Also game hunting is not helping to eliminate an endangered species which is the misconception that everyone commenting here seems to have – game hunting actually puts money into reserves as well as their own grounds, they help to feed the local communities by freely providing meat, the are closely regulated to insure more are raised than are killed and that those that are killed are the older of the species.

    Where your problem seems to be is in thinking of it as poaching which it is not. Poaching is illegal, there is no regulation and all bets are off. That is where the animal has zero chance as vehicles, traps, and large groups of mean take on an individual animal with weapons.

    There is a significant difference.

    To be clear on it all I don’t hunt, I don’t even carry a fire arm. I prefer to do my shooting with a camera. All that said I recognize the difference between game hunting and poaching.

  • MattB81

    Actually I don’t get my info from the hunting sites but the conservation sites, and places like the WWF.

    They didn’t go out hunting with a television crew, you’ve been watching a little too much reality TV mate if you think they all go out there like that. They do go out with one to two rangers with them, and no their weapons are not trained on the animal at all times.

    Also you’re wrong in that “most of them are shot too”, some of them are shot – not all of them. That is where the regulation comes in and that is in part why the population numbers have been coming up. The hard part is the areas that the animals are being driven out of, as well as the areas their prey are being driven out of – that actually has a greater impact on the population of the species than you seem to think the game hunting does.

    Also you seem to think that the parks are small (they aren’t) and that the animals never get out (they do) and that there are none in the wild outside of the parks (there are) and that the parks just allow large groups to go in camera crews in tow and shoot’em all up (they don’t).

    You know why people remove negative comments because that’s all there was. When I first read this story yesterday that’s all I saw.

    You don’t like hunting that’s fine, you want to pretend this did more harm than good, well you’re wrong and the facts prove that but also fine. That said I hope you’ll think about the senseless slaughtering of animals the next time you order a bacon cheese burger, or carve into your holiday turkey, or get that Italian sub for lunch. Or am I wrong in thinking they had a chance?

    Removing the distaste in the hunt itself the only defense left is the limited population of the animal, one that has been going up along with others that were actually even more endangered thanks in large part to the game hunting industry and it’s regulation.

    I don’t hunt it’s not my thing but you all want to vilify someone for something without knowing all the facts while overlooking the even more ridiculous things undertaken to provide you with the things you have in everyday life and take for granted. Please continue to pat yourself on the back for being a good human being.


  • the_gator

    Game hunting has eliminated species, poaching is not much different from game hunting if you’re just doing it for sport. One does it for fun another for profit. Kill an animal for sport is barbaric, to kill an animal for food is out of necessity. There are millions of honest hunters out there, but unfortunately you have the others who give everyone else a bad name and she is one of them.

  • MattB81

    Also you should do a little more catching up as over the past few years as they’ve watched them more and are able to set up things like remote cameras – Male lions actually do join in on the hunt at times. There are articles on WWF and Discovery going into that subject. :)

  • John Whitby

    Did you actually look at the post properly … They did have a tv crew … she is the frontsperson for a program on the Pursuit channel called Winchester’s Deadly Passion. A program glorifying the killing of all kinds of animals, from small deer to 1000lb alligators.
    Secondly I never said anything about the parks being small, you thought that up by yourself, but compared to the size of the country they are only a very small percentage of the total area.
    As for the burger industry etc., I don’t particularly like the industry and I’m not proud that I eat meat, but at least here in the UK it is well regulated and no-one takes ‘trophy photos’ of their kills, or boasts about it on facebook.
    So in actuality, I don’t need to know every single fact to vilify this woman … just the fact that she and her tv program glorify the massacre (and if you look at her page, it is a massacre) of animals for nothing more than her own pleasure … and she makes no bones of that either.
    One last point, from one of your earlier comments, no I wouldn’t be the one who runs in all guns blazing … UK forces are trained to avoid that except as a last resort …. we just leave that to the US army!!

  • MattB81

    It [game hunting] has eliminated species, that’s a fact, with no regulation it will, which is why there is such heavy regulation on it. This is also why they use every bit of the animal from the kill, nothing goes to waste. This is why they limit how many can be killed based on how many are born and raised and overall population of the animal [for most like in South Africa the number is based in large part on the population growth of the species], they limit the age at which they can be hunted so that it’s the older that are hunted rather than the young, and even how often they can be hunted they only do so many a year and only so many at a time.

    How are you saying she gives them a bad name? What is your definition of that. She did not go out poaching, and just skin it and leave the body there or bring the head home to mount on her wall. The meat was donated, the money goes to help the protected reserve and local people.

    I’m sorry how is that worse than killing a deer to hang it’s antlers on the wall or killing a duck to stuff and mount? That’s nothing more than sport, it helps no one but that makes up the majority of your hunters in the US.

  • the_gator

    My last reply. Killing a lion does help eliminate the species, killing a deer for just the antlers is also wrong. As a retired LEO I have delt with both good hunters and bad. When you pose in front of a kill like that now a days with what we know about animals being eliminated is plain stupid. To be proud that you can take a sniper rifle and kill an animal for no other reason but for the kill in my opinion is sick.

  • 6cmzumquadrat

    This is a painfully stupid comment. On the plus side, you’ve wonderfully laid out how insanely evil globalization and free-market capitalism are in practice.

    Murdering a lion for conservation makes about as much sense as fucking for the sake of virginity.

  • Somu

    What a lowlife. Disturbing how killing an animal can give a human being so much pleasure. Equally disturbing is the rumor of Nikon sponsoring her. Dear PetaPixel team, can you clarify if thats true?

  • Stan B.

    Matt- I hope and pray that everything you say is absolutely, 100% true; my general suspicion and mistrust however is based on the long historical track record of human deception and corruption, particularly when you have to kill something to save it- compounded by the influence of the ultimate corrupter… $$$.

    Carbon credits, yet another way to conveniently save our environment, are finally being exposed as the massive joke it was destined to be. Japan kills whales for ‘science.’ The nuclear and fracking industries were both meant to ‘save’ our environment with ‘clean’ energy… Uh-huh……

    I Really Hope everything you say is true, but as long as we have to deal with human beings- I’ll retain my right to remain suspicious and call into account (best as any one person possibly can) those dealing in questionable practices.

  • John Whitby

    Young males do join in at times yes, but they aren’t the ones that are hunted by these people as you yourself said earlier, it is the older adult males, as for filming animals, I do know all about that too, having spent 3 years doing BA Marine and Natural History Photography at Falmouth University where we had lectures from some of the world’s top still and moving image cameramen, whose credits include, Planet Earth, Blue Planet, Frozen Planet and Africa, amongst many other award winning documentaries. I have had 57 years of experiencing some of the best natural history programs ever made, by both the world renowned BBC Natural History Unit and National Geographic as well as many others, so am well up on the natural world thank you.
    What worries me however with all your posts, is that you keep talking about conservation and that you don’t hunt yourself, yet keep supporting this woman who clearly has no interest in conservation at all, but uses it whenever possible to take personal pleasure in killing animals and it is that which I find so objectionable, as do the many thousands of others who have raised posts against her! You have views on canned hunting that I will never agree with, but respect your right to have those views, but I’ll never respect your defence of someone so bloodthirsty as her I’m afraid. Maybe you are worried that if she didn’t assuage her bloodlust by killing animals, she may just perpetrate another Columbine or Sandy Hook …. Jeez on a separate note, I just wanted to make sure I got the correct names there, so googled US school massacres and got a horrifyingly long list of school shootings come up. Over here in the UK we only hear about the really large scale shootings, I had no idea how many hundreds of school shootings and deaths there have been in the past 100 years and especially the past 20 years. Not really pertinent to this discussion, but it does shine a bit of a light on American’s attitude to guns and hunting, which is totally different to ours in the UK. If that is accepted when it comes to kids, then I guess a few animals will be entirely of no consequence ( I hasten to add I don’t mean that Americans don’t care about their children, but that the deaths of so many have not been put above the first amendment right to bear arms. We had one school massacre here and our already tight gun laws were tightened even further, no rifles or handguns allowed outside of licensed gun club premises, shotguns all licensed and locked in secure gun cabinets at all times when not in use, etc.) Certainly nobody other than specialist firearms police officers are allowed to carry a handgun in public, and even they are not walking the streets, but travel in ARV’s or Armed Response Vehicles. Even the army can only carry loaded weapons on military bases or firing ranges in this country.

  • 6cmzumquadrat

    So profit motive makes this okay?

    Please don’t couch this woman’s insatiable thirst for murder as some altruistic crusade to help poor Africans. That’s absolutely disgusting.

  • John Whitby

    All these posts keep making reference to hunting being a sport, it isn’t a sport in any way, take a look at the definition;

    noun: sport; plural noun: sports
    an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.
    “team sports such as soccer and rugby”
    :(competitive) game(s), physical recreation, physical activity, physical exercise;

    The lion does not compete against the hunter, he lies there in the shade for most of the time, sleeping for much of the day and keeping out of the hot sun. As a natural history photographer myself I know that film crews can often drive up to within ten feet or even closer, of these animals without disturbing them. stalking a lion nowadays is relatively easy as long as you stay downwind and keep quiet and once inside of 100m the chances of missing with telescopic sights fitted is almost negligible unless you are so inept with a rifle that you shouldn’t be allowed near one in the first place and given that you can actually see the animal if it’s in long grass … if you can’t see it clearly, then you just don’t shoot until you can.
    Therefore I stick to my earlier comment, it isn’t a sport, it’s an execution!!!

  • Brixton

    Now, how is it an accomplishment to use high-tech guns to shoot an animal walking around in the open. Big accomplishment… *slow clap

  • MattB81

    That’s right Brixton because having the high tech equipment makes it easy, tell me again how everyone who buys a pro or even semi pro DSLR is suddenly a professional.

    That’s right it doesn’t, and really it looks like a bolt action rifle, are we calling that high-tech now? Can you get within 50 yards of a predator without being noticed?

    You truly get it … *slow clap

  • ScarlettFeverr

    I agree with The Oatmeal guy’s take:

    “Ecology aside, politics aside, legality aside, conservation aside, I don’t understand how you can look at a wild animal and find solace in the idea of blowing its brains out with a rifle. I’ve never been at the zoo and thought “I’m really enjoying this experience, but it’d be even BETTER if I could kill the animals.” Or “It’s okay to strangle your neighbor’s dogs and cats, as long as you eat the meat later on!,” or my personal favorite: “Hunting is actually good for conservation because we help manage the numbers and preserve the delicate ecosystem.” Bullshit. No hunter packs up his rifle with the notion that he’s a conservationist. He (or she) does it because they enjoy the idea of shooting an animal. It’s not philanthropy; it’s outdoor entertainment.”


  • Spray and Pray

    it’s sarcasm thus “parenthesis”. but I do agree with you with bare hands.

  • Jaime

    Haha! That’s a fallacy.

    If humans are nothing but animals, how can ANYTHING they do be “unnatural.” Everything that a human does is a part of nature, even if it makes a drastic change.

    Unless you hold to some form of religion, of course. ( :

  • Tomti

    She deserves getting gang raped by a herd of elephants…maybe someone can film that for her show.

  • David Vaughn

    Yes. In this area, wild hogs are hunted for sport, because they are an invasive species that have no true natural predators in this area. Their populations are booming, and what’s even scarier is that there have been reports of hogs breeding with Russian Boars to create these massive beasts.

    They destroy crops, fences, roads, and pose a major hazard for drivers, because they run in groups a lot, so if you dodge one in the road there’s a good chance there are two or three more that you can hit. Not only that, but they’re insanely tough, so if you hit a decent sized hog in a car you could total the car and be seriously injured. It’s not like hitting a deer.

    While hunting for pure sport is generally looked down upon by most casual hunters, I don’t see anything wrong with protecting your livelihood…For sport. That does sound kind of terrible, but when you grow up on a ranch in a small town with nothing to do, killing hogs that threaten our land does begin to seem like a good passtime.

    And no, a better solution would not be to trap the hogs. If they are trapped, they will just be shipped somewhere to be killed anyways.

  • marybearry

    didn’t you think the “beautiful male lion” looked more beautiful ALIVE?

  • tarena1991

    Why do we need to “manage” Lion Populations when their numbers were naturally around 400,000 in the 50’s. If anything, we need to “manage” human populations which are displacing just about every other animal on the planet…..The only reason White Tailed deer populations are exploding is because we “managed” their natural predator when we moved into their territory… and we wouldn’t need to “manage” the Rhino’s natural predator if you trigger happy people didn’t decimate the Rhino population to begin with. Don’t lecture me on conservation as an excuse to support trophy hunting, it’s nothing but a convenient scapegoat.

  • Christian DeBaun

    Had this story been about a 50 year old man, with a beer paunch and a bald spot – killing a lion on the “Pursuit Channel’s Winchester’s Deadly Passion”, it would have typically netted about 6 comments on PetaPixel.

    It gets 130 comments, because she’s 28, has augmented breasts, an inch of Maybeline on her face, and overly whitened teeth. We just can’t imagine Africa Barbie doing such a thing, and it has a tendency to engorge or deflate erections accordingly depending on your moral disposition/turpitude.

    //2 cents.

  • Khürt L. Williams


    “… shooting an unaware animal with high tech weaponry from a distance is not any kind of ‘contest.'” or SPORT.

  • Manip

    Si l’on a deux vies, je lui souhaite de se réincarnée en souris!

  • a

    most companies in the optics (i.e. cameras) business have sports optics divisions that among other things make riflescopes

  • Richard Ford

    I can see the resemblance to the Pekingese. I’d rather go up against the lion than an angry Peke!

  • markus64s

    Profit motive is what yields you more lions. Just like it has yielded more waterfowl in the US. Hyperventilating in the comments section yields nothing.

    This woman has actually taken proven, pragmatic steps that included spending money to protect lions and their habitat. What have you done?

  • markus64s

    Gator, read what I said. This isn’t about predation, its about giving poor third worlders a reason to care. If the lion hunts are a source of livelihood, then the locals will want to protect them and see to it that they thrive. You’ll get more lions this way, it’s already done in with other wild animals in Africa and the US. This isn’t theory, this is a practical, pragmatic approach. If you like waterfowl in the US, thank a duck hunter.
    Now, if you would like a preserve, where animals are not touched – that’s a valid approach, too. But how do you intend to pay for it?

  • markus64s

    You’ve obviously given this considerable thought, to include actual outcomes – not just feelings. I wish more people were receptive to your reasoned responses. Unfortunately, it is just cheaper and easier to be indignant and offer no better solution.

  • markus64s

    Orgainzed, regulated and managed hunting elliminates individuals of a species, yes. But it also results in a larger overall population within that species.
    I also think you may be greatly underestimating the difficulty of tracking and hunting an apex predator. Their job in life is to see, hear and smell other animals coming and going.

  • markus64s

    2. An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.
    3. An active pastime; recreation.

  • Jaime

    You missed the point. Just because humans have the ability to kill everything on earth doesn’t mean it has to happen. Systems of ethics can be developed for self-imposed survival tactics.

    Here, the death of a lion does not put humanity to the brink of extinction – I state this as one small and extreme form of a basis for the ethics of treating animals.

    Regardless of any supposed ethics system, the point is to laugh at humans, who want to pretend like they have some manifest destiny to conserve or destroy certain organic life, as if the process hasn’t already been occurring without humans or will so after humans.

  • Matias Gonua

    He is obviously refering to high tech compared to a wild animal. At least bullfighters face the beast.

  • los zets

    i going to have this bitches skined for my welcome att hahahahah