The Viral Huntress: Britt Longoria.

We sit down with Britt, who apart from being a renowned huntress for her ethical hunting, she is also an entrepreneur as she has her own clothing brand which specialises in cashmere shawls made with wild game feathers. However Britt became worldwide famous because Victoria's Secret Models condemned her in social media for a picture she took with a Leopard she had just hunted in Africa. Britt has always been very low profile when it comes to hunting, however someone stole the picture from a private website and the media treated her as a poacher but the truth is, she is probably one of the most responsible hunters in the world. Is the general public educated on what hunting really means?

1. Where were you born and where do you live?

I was born and raised on the southern coast of Maine, lived in South Africa and completed university there, and now live on a ranch outside of San Antonio, Texas.

2.Who introduced you to hunting?

My father, Joe Hosmer. I grew up training bird dogs (pointers and setters) and my love of hunting small game grew into hunting big game as I got older.  It specifically blossomed when I went to South Africa to work for a hunting safari company during my high school summer holidays.

3.What guns do you hunt with and which is your favourite?

I’ve hunted for the past 15+ years with Blaser straight action rifles.  In after, I have harvested the most game with a .375 H&H Blaser, I feel that it’s one of the best calibers for Africa.

4.Why is it so special for you to hunt?

For me it’s about the wilderness.  I crave to be in wild places with the people I love - specially my father and my husband, Ricardo Longoria.

5.Hunters and Vegans have a lot in common, for instance taking care of nature and animals, what else do you think brings us closer?

I have worked in the international nonprofit industry for about 15 years.  Most of my work focused around wildlife and conservation programs.  One the the most “agreed” upon topic between hunters and non hunters is the issue of illegal poaching and the need for privatized anti-poaching efforts.

6.Of all the places you have hunted, which was your favourite and why?

I love central and Western Africa, but currently my husband and I have been hunting a lot in Asia.  In the past 18 months we have traveled three times to Pakistan for mountain hunts.  I have really come to love the culture and rugged, hard hunting.  Additionally, the hints of the old British Colonial elegance that linger today make the experiences unique.

7. What are your top3 favourite clothing brands for hunting and why?

For technical apparel, I wear Sitka women’s gear because the fit a woman’s physique in motion.  For beautiful upland attire, I love the Kevin’s Catalog Huntress line, everything is very tailored and has the classic field sports aesthetic. Not so much “hunting clothing” but certainly hunting inspired is my line of luxury cashmere and game bird feathered shawls - Hawkhurst South! I’ve got to give a little shot out for that, too! :-)

8.Have you had any close to death experience? If so, what happened?

There has been certain times hunting dangerous game that things don’t go as planned.  When I lived in South Africa, I trained and worked as a field guide, which requires extensive rifle training with a minimal caliber of a .375 H&H to guide in dangerous game areas on foot.  Animal behavior knowledge, personal rifle competence, and trusting in your back-up shot have all kept me safe and out of danger.

9.Who inspires you in your life and why?

My life has been blessed with unbelievable journeys and guides. I am grateful for the path my spirit has chosen to interweave with theirs.  My Mother, Sandy Hosmer, is deeply religious, Russian Orthodox, and has taught me about the internal journey, the power of meditation, and mystical depth of our Eastern religion.  My Father, Joe Hosmer, has given me my confidence to explore the external  and venture forth into the wild, to feel the spirit of place, and to seek out the other side of the mountain. 

My husband, Ricardo Longoria, because of his encouragement and love, I hunt harder and climb further. His dedication to his passion of bow hunting is inspiring, not just for his knowledge and skill, but also his integrity and incredible achievements.

10. A leopard picture from one of your hunts got stolen and went viral. People who don’t understand hunting, started a campaign against you but a lot of hunters defended you. What lesson did that chapter of your life teach you?

The pro-hunting arguments perspective are factual numbers, dollars, and percentages of researched statistics; all of which present beneficial results to wildlife populations, poor and rural communities, and growing economies. But let’s be very clear, hunters do not hunt to save the world. So why is the first defense of hunters to fight from the head and justify an internal passion and culture with logic? Especially, when the opposing anti-hunting side is fighting with powerful emotion and heart. These two opposing views are not even hearing each other, they are speaking different languages.

Within all the noise of the two sides, the real discussion is belittled and at best trivialized. Explaining the benefits of hunting does not in any way explain why hunters hunt, and ‘why hunters hunt?’ is the question, really, that most people are asking.

For me, and many modern hunters, hunting is a spiritual experience saturated in respect. Hunters generally have special feelings towards the animals they hunt and especially dreams. Most native people believe they set up a hunt in their dreams by connecting with the animal spirits. To non-hunters, it may be surprising how many moderns, have pre-hunt dreams and visions. Such experiences are part of the awe of hunting. Unless a person has hunted he or she may not comprehend the idea of this tradition and hunter being spiritually united with one’s ancestors and environment. In the book Mediations on Hunting, Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset says, “Life is a terrible conflict, a grandiose and atrocious confluence. Hunting submerges man deliberately in that formidable mystery and therefore contains something of religious rite and emotion in which homage is paid to what is divine, transcendent, in the laws of Nature” (106, 1995). The mystical attitude towards an animal as well as the hunting process is not different for a modern hunter than it is for an indigenous person such as an African Pygmy or Canadian Inuit. Though most hunters today have not been raised in a culture of “making sacred” and here within lies the fault; the hunter’s fault.

11.How can hunters be good ambassadors for our industry through social media? Any tips?

True hunters openly condemn anyone who doesn’t hold these beliefs and that tarnish this beautiful tradition through poaching for meat or trophy, unlawfully and/or unethically killing, and those who simply do not respect the lives they take. Those people should NOT be considered “hunters”. Again, it is the hunter’s fault that we have not communicated better with the general public.

I hope that hunters from around the world hear my words and start speaking from their hearts, not their heads. The welfare of wildlife is benefited by the broadest support possible by all segments of the public.  The collaboration of the pro-hunting and non-hunting kinds depend on need to understand each other. At the end of the day we agree on more than we disagree on.

I respect ALL hunters who hunt ethically, legally, and in my opinion, most importantly, with heart and soul.  The heart and soul needs to be shown in all forms of storytelling, starting first with the photos we publicly share.

12. What is next in your bucket list?

When I was little, there was an outfitter who came to the local Maine Safari Club International Chapter, and did a slide (proper photography slide film!) presentation on the Central African Republic (CAR). Specifically, the Lord Derby Eland stood out for me - the incredible colours, the striking size of the body, the landscape.  It’s always been on my wish to hunt.  However, with the political unrest in CAR, we will be hunting the savanna of Cameroon in spring 2020 for Lord Derby Eland.