A woman in Texas has built a following on social media for her hunting prowess -- but it hasn't always been positive.
Nikki Tate, a lawyer in Dallas, has amassed over 11,000 followers on her Instagram with pictures of herself and her hunting dogs posing with carcasses of deer, hogs and waterfowl.
The 27-year-old attorney started hunting “about 10 years ago” at her uncle’s ranch in South Texas, The Daily Mail reports.
“It was then when I shot a bow for the first time. I loved the challenge, and given my athletic history and competitive personality, I instantly became addicted,” she said, The Daily Mail reported.
Her addiction started with bucks and then moved on to waterfowl.
“Ever since that moment, I have been hooked. I’ve hunted several animals, but my favorite by far is waterfowl,” Tate said.
“I was always told to stay away from waterfowl hunting or else I would never go back to hunting anything else. Well, they were right,” she added.
Tate uses her social media presence to show her kills, as well as share tricks of the trade and endorse products that she uses on her own hunts – and, perhaps most importantly, explain the reasons behind her hunting lifestyle, which some have taken issue with as being controversial.
“We eat everything we kill, unless we are hunting predators,” Tate said. “My husband and I skin everything ourselves, and if we can’t eat everything, we donate it to organizations that are aimed at feeding the homeless.”
“We pride ourselves in only taking ethical shots, and work hard to make sure that it happens,” she added.
Tate has a revolving arsenal for her different hunts. She uses a 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun for duck and dove hunting, a Ruger.270 rifle for deer, and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle for predator hunting.
Tate says she spends “almost every weekend waterfowl hunting,” but does try to “get a few deer hunts in a year to help fill the freezer,” naming a 170-pound buck as her largest kill. That particular deer fed her family for nearly six months, she said.
Aside from meat, Tate says she hunts for conservation concerns and predator control.
“Hunting helps maintain animal populations at levels that are compatible with human life/activity. For example, hogs are insanely overpopulated and can cause serious damage to agricultural products, fields, and other vegetation, which can harm livestock. We also hunt coyotes and bobcats for purposes of predator control,” she shared.
Tate has received a lot of support from the hunting community both on and offline, but she still has had her detractors. Some of those morally opposed to hunting have issued death threats Tate via social media. But, Tate continues doing what she loves and trying to teach respect.
“I pride myself in respecting others for their beliefs and practices, regardless of whether I agree with them,” she said.
“I hunt for food, conservation, friendship, and so much more, all of which are very important to me. If I can respect others’ beliefs, values, and reasons (even those that involve human life and death), please respect mine.”
Tate plans to continue moving forward by sharing her hunting stories and "shedding a positive light” on the reasons behind them.
“I am who I am and I am not going to change that," she said.