"To me, when I hunt, every animal I harvest is a trophy," she says.
Trigger warning: Some images and content in the story might be disturbing to readers.
Tess Talley posed with the limp body of a rare black giraffe back in 2017, and the image went viral a year later, prompting a lot of outrage from animal rights advocates, as per CBS News. However, the criticism and comments don't affect her. An unfazed Talley said she's "absolutely" still going hunting. According to Ladbible, killing the giraffe was one of her proudest hunts. She says the night before she hunted the giraffe, she could barely sleep as she had a hard time containing her excitement. She was consumed by emotions after her hunt.
"The feeling of success was overwhelming. I began to shake and actually cried because I was so relieved that this hunt was not only successful, but it was a quick, clean, and ethical shot and the giraffe was killed immediately with no unnecessary suffering." She justifies her hunting the controversial kill was part of a conservation hunt, a plan drawn up to manage the wildlife in the area. "It's a hobby, it's something that I love to do," she said. "I am proud to hunt. And I am proud of that giraffe."
Talley isn't exactly what comes to your mind when you think of a huntress. The 39-year-old from Texas has a regular job where she works as an accounts administrator. According to her website: "Tess Talley is just your average oilfield wife, a stepmother and a dog mom. She has a deep passion for the outdoors. As a member of the SCI and Wildlife Women, she shares her lifestyle as an avid Hunter with a strong passion for conservation. In her spare time, you can find her out camping, fishing, traveling, hitting the trails in her Jeep, shed hunting, or preparing for an upcoming hunt."
Talley strongly believes that being called a "trophy hunter" is rather out of context. "To me, when I hunt, every animal I harvest is a trophy," she says. "So much is put into every hunt. Not all hunts end in success."
The Texan got into hunting when she was a child. "I was raised around hunting, I have several hunters in my family, along with friends. Seeing the excitement and listening to stories growing up around hunting, I knew I wanted to experience the same thing. So, hunting and the outdoors have always been appealing to me."
She added: "I will never regret any hunts that I've been blessed to be a part of! It's who I am and what I love to do. I will never apologize for it to those that disagree."
Needless to say, Talley is subjected to a lot of abuse from online trolls. Some of them include rape and death threats, but she's never been one to give in to those comments. Nothing people say will stop her from doing what she wants to. "If you choose to hunt, knit, play a particular sport, or be someone that makes you stand out from others, go for it," she said.
"Do not let negativity and bullying from others make you change who you are! Stand up for what you believe in, let your light shine! God made you be exactly who you are and be proud of that! Just because someone chooses to live their life different from yours or if they choose to eat differently than you, that does not make you the bad person. Everyone can make their own decisions, eat off of their own plate, it's a blessing I call 'being an American'."