A Roman Catholic diocese in Pennsylvania has removed a Facebook photo of a nun with a 10-point buck after drawing criticism from anti-hunting and animal rights activists.
The photo posted on the Erie, Pennsylvania, Diocese’s Facebook page shows Sister John Paul Bauer standing at the back of a pickup in her nun’s habit proudly holding her trophy deer by the horns.
Bauer’s score came on Nov. 30, the first day of hunting season. The photo was removed a week later after numerous critical comments, some containing vulgarity, The Associated Press reported.
Anne-Marie Welsh, spokeswoman for the Erie Diocese, said initial comments were positive, but animal right activists began getting vocal as the page neared 1.5 million views.
“We recognize that social media needs to be a two-way conversation, but unfortunately, many of those who oppose hunting posted vulgar comments, using profanity and even an obscene photograph,” Welsh said. “After careful consideration, we decided to delete the post due to its inflammatory nature.”
Bauer recalls the story of the trophy kill on the diocese’s website, saying she had just said the rosary in the tree stands before scoring the 200-pound buck.
“After I realized I got the deer, I thanked God,” she said.
Bauer has killed three bucks and a bear in her 15 years hunting. She said she views hunting as a spiritual endeavor and form of conservation, helping ensure the deer population remains sustainable by the land. She also shared the recent buck’s venison with two families and took the 16-inch rack to a taxidermist for mounting.
Away from the woods, Bauer teaches at Elk County Catholic High School in St. Marys, a city in the heart of Pennsylvania’s deer and elk country. She learned to shoot while in the Navy.
“In St. Marys, this is what you do. You go hunting. Everybody goes hunting,” Bauer told Erie TV station WSEE.