Dad Defends His Decision To Let Daughter Shoot And Bite A Deer’s Heart

New Zealand father Johnny Yuile’s post of his eight-year-old daughter biting the “warm quivering heart” of her first kill sparked outrage on Facebook. The father-and-daughter tandem went on a hunting trip at the Makapua Station in Hawke’s Bay. Situated on the country’s East Coast, the station is deemed a famous spot for deer hunters.

Makapua Station New Zealand [Image via Makapua Station]“Proud of this pink ninja princess. Shot her first deer (a young stag) all by herself in the bush she stalked in and made a tricky shot down hill. Then she took a bite from its warm quivering heart,” read the post.

Using her father’s rifle, the girl managed to kill the deer. Yuile, a police officer, shared photos of their trip and was lambasted by social media users for the “sick” and “barbaric” act. NZ Stuff reports that despite the backlash, the father is not “fussed about other people’s opinions” and maintains that it was nothing but a mere ritual done to honor someone’s first kill.


According to the post, the girl had been accompanying her father outdoors since she was eight months old. She got the idea of biting from the deer’s heart after seeing her uncle. Yuile is aware that not everyone understands hunting. He claims that they only hunt for meat and that the essence of the trip is the chance to spend some time with his child.

He adds that he educates his daughter about firearm safety, and that he carries the firearm for her as it is too heavy. One of the photos shows Yuile and his daughter posing with the bloodied deer.

The post was met with mixed responses. Facebook user Adrian Rowe finds it disheartening that parents are not teaching their kids the value of compassion.

“It’s sad to see a child being taught to kill for fun as parents we should teach them compassion and to value life. Otherwise, they grow up with a psycopathic outlook and have no empathy.”

Some, on the other hand, believe there is nothing wrong with taking children back to nature. L.J. Mill defends Yuile by saying that it wasn’t a trophy hunt to begin with.

“For everyone who finds this appalling, I take it you don’t eat meat? Otherwise, you’re a hypocrite. It’s not a trophy kill. For those claiming only city slickers would find this appalling… I’m one and I don’t. I hate trophy killers but those who hunt for food have my respect. He is teaching his daughter to fend for herself like any great father should. How is that appalling?”

Commenter Kerianne Moar echoes Mill’s sentiments. She emphasized that “city people” just wouldn’t understand the tradition.

“This is such an old tradition, one that’s full of pride and praise. A child or adult for that matters first hunt and kill. City people won’t understand or condone it because they have been brought up very different. I can guarantee you this father is so proud of his daughter and has a love and respect for nature and its animals.”

New Zealand’s Rod and Rifle magazine featured Yuile last year and called him “Yuilie the Mule.”

“When it comes to carrying a deer, there are few that I have seen do it better than him,” read the post.

Bill O’Leary of the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association told TVNZ that biting the heart of one’s first kill is “not necessarily a tradition within the general hunting fraternity.” The common tradition is to place a piece of any vegetation in the animal’s mouth as its symbolic “last meal.”

Nonetheless, he agreed that everyone had their own rituals and wished Yuilie and his daughter good luck.

[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]