Canadian TV host targeted in cougar hunt controversy

Ottawa (AFP) –


A Canadian television host faced a backlash Thursday over a legal cougar hunt, including from the wife of a former prime minister who launched a sharp personal attack over his killing of the big cat.

Steve Ecklund, host of "The Edge" outdoor show, posted on his Facebook page several images of him posing with the cougar's bloodied carcass and later cooking the meat in a stir-fry.

He'd shot the animal earlier this month in northern Alberta, saying in an online post it was "an unreal ending to a fun-filled season."

A firestorm of criticisms quickly erupted on social media, with people calling Ecklund a "sick goof," a "scumbag" and other unflattering epithets.

"What a creep," Laureen Harper, the wife of former prime minister Stephen Harper, said in a Twitter message.

"Chasing a cougar with dogs until they are exhausted then shooting a scared, cornered and tired animal. Must be compensating for something, small penis probably," she added.

The former leader's wife went on to note that hunting and fishing have long been traditions in her family, but strictly for food and insisting that no part of the animal should be wasted.

"Killing for fun makes me sick," she said. "I was really angry that some guy flies all the way to Alberta to kill a magnificent cougar, so he can make a stir fry."

Ecklund reportedly said he has received mostly positive feedback on the hunt, but also a few death threats.

A handful of people posted online in his defense that hunting predators such as cougars help to maintain wild deer and mountain goat populations.

Cougar hunting is legal in Alberta from December 1 to the end of February for non-residents.

Neither Ecklund nor the Wild Television Network which broadcasts his show in Canada and in parts of Europe were immediately available for comment.