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Petition against Minnesotan lion huntress racks up more than 173k signatures [PHOTOS]

The photo that launched tens of thousands of outraged e-signatures.
The photo that launched tens of thousands of outraged e-signatures.
@MelissaBachman

Melissa Bachman (no relation to that other M. Bachmann) is just a Minnesota girl. She grew up hunting foxes, ducks, and deer with her family in Paynesville, and after graduating from St. Cloud State University in 2006, she writes on her website, she "dreamed of a way to hunt for a living."

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Bachman found one. Today, she travels the world hunting big game for her TV show, "Winchester Deadly Passion," with episodes that feature her on the prowl for everything from stags to black bears to alligators.

On Nov. 1, Bachman tweeted a photo of her grinning next to her latest conquest: A tawny lion. "An incredible day hunting in South Africa!" she wrote. "Stalked inside 60-yards on this beautiful male lion... what a hunt!"

In the days since, that photo has gone viral, and Bachman has gone from targeting to targeted. The "Stop Melissa Bachman" Facebook page has more than 105,000 "likes."

Others, like Elan Burman, have gone beyond social media outrage and started petitions. Burman's is a plea to the government of South Africa, where Bachman shot the lion in the photo, to deny future entry to the huntress.

"She is an absolute contradiction to the culture of conservation this country prides itself on," the change.org petition reads. As of this writing, it has 173,822 supporters.

Lion hunting is legal in South Africa, where the species is considered "vulnerable" but not officially endangered. The comments on the petition, though, are filled with a disgust that has nothing to do with the law: it's a moral outrage. "Shoot, kill, consume, destroy," reads one from a supporter in Maryland.

Bachman hunts with bows and rifles alike, and both her website and her social media pages host galleries of her, often in braids and camo, posing with her trophy kills.

A brown bear in Alaska.
A brown bear in Alaska.
@MelissaBachman
Bachman with "my biggest bull to date," she tweeted.
Bachman with "my biggest bull to date," she tweeted.
@MelissaBachman
Bachman with a Nyala in South Africa
Bachman with a Nyala in South Africa
@MelissaBachman

Since the photo erupted into a controversy over the weekend, Bachman has not responded to her critics, though she deactivated and then reactivated her social media accounts. A request for comment to the company behind Bachman's hunting show, "Winchester Deadly Passion," was not immediately returned on Monday.

Here's footage of Bachman in action, via the highlight reel from season two of her show.

-- Tips or comments? Reach Olivia LaVecchia by email or on Twitter at @olavecchia


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