Tess Talley sparked outrage when she posed for a photo with a rare, black giraffe she hunted and killed – but she’s now revealed why it’s still her proudest moment and why every animal she’s ‘harvested’ is a trophy.
Nearly a year after photos of her proudly posing with the dead animal went viral, the American woman who received death threats after killing a giraffe in South Africa says she has no regrets.
The day she hunted the giraffe in South Africa was an emotional roller coaster for her; she explained that she had barely slept the night before because she was so excited. She was ‘overwhelmed’ with emotion when she killed him.
Tess Thompson Talley, 38, defended her hunting passion in a interview, saying, ‘They [animals] are put there for us, we harvest them, and we eat them!’
When asked about the black giraffe she killed during her South African gaming trip, she laughed and said, ‘He was delicious!’
On the big day, she searched for hours with a guide before finally finding the giraffe she was looking for. They walked over the remains of younger giraffes killed by the old bull – the one they were looking for.
“All of a sudden, I see the old bull making his way through the thick trees, and he has already spotted us,” Tess explained. He wasn’t sure what he was looking at, but that confusion allowed me to set up the shooting sticks, shoulder the rifle, and get him in my scope.
“I was able to get my cross hairs on his neck, about a foot down from his head, as he stood there looking at us and trying to figure out what we were.”
“With a steady squeeze of the trigger, I felt the 30-06 rifle recoil and immediately saw the giraffe collapse!” I’d done it, I’d hit my target, and the bull was down.
“Suddenly, I see the old bull making his way through the thick trees, and he has already spotted us,” Tess explained. He wasn’t sure what he was looking at, but his uncertainty allowed me to set up the shooting sticks, shoulder the rifle, and get him in my scope.
“I was able to get my crosshairs about a foot down from his head on his neck as he stood there looking at us and trying to figure out what we were.”
“I felt the 30-06 rifle recoil and immediately saw the giraffe collapse with a steady squeeze of the trigger!” I’d done it, I’d hit my mark, and the bull had fallen.
Tess isn’t exactly what you’d expect from a stereotypical trophy hunter.
The blonde, petite 39-year-old Texan works as an accounts administrator. She’s a dedicated wife, a caring stepmother, she has a Boxer dog named Gunner whom she adores, and she also enjoys hunting and killing animals. So far, more than 20.
Images of hunters proudly posing with their kills will always make people smile, but for Tess, it’s more than just a photo opportunity. It’s what she’s always known. It’s a way of life for her.
Tess told LADbible that, while she considers herself a hunter, she believes the term “trophy hunter” is used incorrectly.
“When I go hunting, every animal I kill is a trophy to me,” she says. “Every hunt is a labor of love. “Not every hunt is a success.”
Tess began participating in the sport as a child. “I was raised in a hunting family, and I have several hunters in my family and among my friends.” I knew I wanted to go hunting after seeing the excitement and hearing stories about it as a kid.
“Hunting and the outdoors have always appealed to me.”
“I am so grateful for each and every one of my hunts,” she says. “Whether it’s a giraffe or a whitetail doe. They are all respected and honored in the same way.
“However, if I had to pick just one, it would be my giraffe hunt.
“The prayers before the hunt were heard, the first shot was successful, and the experience will be remembered forever. Emotions were running high, and my favorite part was that the herd was actually growing! That’s what I mean by “positive outcomes.””
She continued, saying: “I’ll never regret any of the hunts that I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of! It’s who I am and what I enjoy doing. I will never apologize to those who disagree.”
Tess explained where the majority of her criticism comes from: “Aside from the obvious animal rights activists – overreacting PETA – I get a lot from Germany and Italy.”
“Instead, I wish someone from Italy would just give me an amazing homemade spaghetti sauce recipe – it’s delicious with wild game meat.”
Tess is candid about some of the online abuse she receives from trolls. She posts screenshots of death and rape threats on her Instagram page, some of which are, shall we say, creative.
Tess explained that the majority of her criticism comes from Germany and Italy, “aside from the obvious animal rights activists – overreacting PETA.”
“Instead, I wish someone from Italy would just give me an amazing homemade spaghetti sauce recipe – it goes great with wild game meat.”
Tess is open about some of the troll abuse she receives online. On her Instagram page, she posts screenshots of death and rape threats, some of which are, shall we say, creative.
“Everyone has the ability to make their own decisions and eat from their own plate; it’s a blessing I call ‘being an American.'”
And for Tess, going hunting is much more than just the end result; she even makes jewelry out of the hides of the animals she’s killed.
For $20, you can get a pair of Axis hide earrings. She also sells elephant hide ones on her website, and she makes sure to use all parts of the animals she kills.
No part of the animal is discarded. “It’s a great feeling to fill your freezer with fresh, hormone and antibiotic free meat,” Tess says.
And, while many of them have a bad reputation, Tess believes there is no such thing as a ‘bad hunter.’
“Every hunter is good,” she said. “I refuse to believe there is such a thing as a bad hunter. To be a good hunter, you don’t have to use the same tactics or weapons as me. We’re all on the same page, out in the field for the same reason, hoping for the same outcomes.
“Do we always get positive results?” No. No, we don’t. It’s hunting, so there’s no guarantee that we’ll catch an animal on every trip. But every trip is well worth it, and there are never any regrets!