An Aussie woman turned TV host huntress after moving to the United States has ruffled feathers after admitting killing animals is “addictive”.
Originally from Sydney, Australia, Mary Spooner O’Neill Phillips now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, and claims she has always had a keen interest in the great outdoors.
Coming from a farming family, Mary says her passion for sustainable living and knowing where her food has come from was instilled in her from a young age.
“I owned an archery bow in Australia and would shoot it down on my farm, but I never had anyone to take me to hunt,” she told the Mirror.
“When I moved to the USA and started to pursue my career in country music, I was suddenly surrounded by people who lived an outdoor lifestyle.”
As an adult, she says she embraced hunting in a bid to avoid “toxin-filled” supermarket produce.
After her first kill, Mary claims she felt instantly connected to nature.
“I said a prayer and we took the bird back to the home, cleaned it, and ate it. I just remember thinking that there had been this whole way of life out there that I had been missing out on where you are living with nature and off the land, and connected to the earth. I was addicted from then on out,” she said.
Mary hunts deer, wild birds, fish, and has even hunted black bears.
Apart from using the animal flesh for meat which can be used as steaks, sausages and in delicious stews, Mary uses the hides and horns for taxidermy and rugs to honour the animal and ensure that nothing goes to waste.
While Mary insists she has had a largely positive reaction on social media, a recent photo of a black bear she had killed garnered a very negative response.
Messages she received called her a murderer and asked how she could do such a thing, but Mary insists her way of sustainable living ensures the animal dies humanely.
“I have seen enough YouTube videos to know that their death is not always humane in an abattoir, and can be dragged out for days and hours. It’s really torturous for an animal to die that way. I think that’s the main reason why I love to hunt.”
Mary insists that her lifestyle has been particularly useful in light of the recent pandemic.
“After the COVID crisis this year and supermarkets running out of stock and the meat markets getting shut down, I am more certain than ever that this is the lifestyle for me,” Mary explained.
“I had a freezer full of wild game when the pandemic broke out and was able to hunt turkeys so we didn‘t have to step into the supermarket much at all.”