Outrage Erupts Over Footage of Trophy Hunter Shooting a Sleeping Lion

March 20, 2019 Updated: March 20, 2019

A man shown in viral video shooting dead a sleeping lion has been identified by multiple news outlets as a trophy hunter from Illinois—and no stranger to controversy.

The shooter is seen taking aim in a video posted by the Twitter account @Protect_Wildlife on Monday, March 18, and then firing at the animal several times until a guide says “OK, OK, don’t do any more.” The man has been identified by The Daily Mail as 64-year-old Guy Gorney.

The clip is believed to have been recorded in Zimbabwe in 2011 but was posted online only recently.

“This ‘hunter’ sneaked up on a SLEEPING #Lion and killed it! How brave, how sporting – HOW [expletive]!!!,” read the tweet that included the video, sparking outrage.

Gorney, of Manhattan, Illinois, told CBS in a 2015 interview that he was puzzled why people reacted with outrage at the trophy hunting of exotic animals.

“I have a hard time understanding, if you have a picture of somebody with a deer, nobody seems to care. But if it’s an elephant, it’s a big problem. If it’s a lion—especially now—it’s a huge problem,” Gorney said at the time.

“But to me, either way, I’ve stopped a beating heart,” he added.

Gorney was cited in the CBS article as saying that he follows the law when he hunts and that trophy hunting is not poaching.

He also argued that hunting can be a form of conservation, saying, “You can say, why’d you shoot a lion? I love zebra, so shooting a lion probably saves 70 zebra a year, give or take. There’s all these kinds of balances in nature.”

He also lashed out at people who make threats against hunters for pursuing their hobby legally.

“I don’t see the logic of making a physical threat against somebody who’s proficient with firearms and wouldn’t hesitate to defend himself or his family,” said the trophy hunter.

“It’s like, are you insane?”

Controversial Video

In the video, which has been widely shared on social media, the lion is seen asleep in a clearing as the hunter alleged to be Gorney carefully points his rifle.

Off camera, the guide is heard coaching the man about where on the motionless animal’s body the shooter should take aim.

hunter takes aim
In a still from the video, the hunter is seen taking aim at the unsuspecting lion. (@Protect_Wildlife/Twitter)

The hunter fires one shot, and awakes the lion, which arches its back in pain and looks around in confusion.

lion looks around
The lion arches its back in pain and looks towards the line of fire. (@Protect_Wildlife/Twitter)

The shooter fires two more rounds before the person giving instructions in a southern African accent tells him to stop, saying, “OK, OK, don’t do any more.”

The guide then shakes the gunman’s hand and says “That, Mr. Gorney, is a very nice lion.”

“A very nice lion,” the guide continues, while laughing and patting the hunter on the back.

guide congratulates hunter
The guide congratulates the trophy hunter, identified by multiple media outlets as Guy Gorney of Illinois.(@Protect_Wildlife/Twitter)

The clip then cuts to the guide prodding the lion with the butt of the rifle to make sure it’s dead, saying, “Well done, sir, a very nice lion, beautiful. That is an exceptional lion.”

guide prods dead lion
The guide prods the dead animal to ensure it is no longer alive. (@Protect_Wildlife/Twitter)

The Twitter account of Protect All Wildlife, which posted the video, cited the African Wildlife Foundation in saying lions are predicted to vanish from the African continent by 2050 if hunting continues at the same rate.

The account that shared the video is an animal rights advocacy account, based in the United Kingdom, according to the information on the page.

“I expose animal abuse and abusers wherever they are. I will NEVER stop fighting for better animal rights and welfare,” according to the biography.

Angry Comments

Some users responded with outrage to the footage, which was also shared by an account listed as belonging to “Danny Smith” under the username “@doglab.”

“A sleeping lion, wow what a big man! [angry, cursing face emoji],” wrote one user.

Others objected to trophy hunting in principle.

“This is not hunting, or sport…it’s murder #stoptrophyhunting #Fightforyourworld,” wrote user @verdiKate.

Gorney can be heard advocating for hunting in a video from an “open mic night” at the Book and Bean Cafe on May 3, 2018, where he talks about killing a lion that had harmed humans.

He also said he won praise for killing a buffalo that had injured a person.

“When I killed that buffalo that had hurt somebody, the people that had benefited from the death of that animal cheered. Clapped,” he said.

As for his motivation, Gorney said it’s the thrill of the chase.

“The ‘why’ is just the—I call it the adventure of it. Same reason Teddy Roosevelt did it.”

Follow Tom on Twitter: @OZImekTOM