WHAT ARE EXOTICS AND WHY DO WE HUNTING THEM   Leave a comment

Perhaps one of the more popular exotics is the Blackbuck Antelope.  Thanks to hunter dollars breeding programs in Texas have been able to return them to their native India and Pakistan where they had been wiped out by subsistence hunting.

Perhaps one of the more popular exotics is the Blackbuck Antelope. Thanks to hunter dollars breeding programs in Texas have been able to return them to their native India and Pakistan where they had been wiped out by subsistence hunting.

At a recent gathering of hunting and fishing writers the subject of exotics came up. One man mentioned that he probably has the most complete collection of images of exotics.  It was at this point that he and I realized that we were probably the only two people in the room that knew what he was talking about.

To most of those present the term either meant strippers or those aquatic invasive species found in many freshwater lakes and rivers.

To some hunters the exotics are those species (generally ungulates) introduced beginning back in the 1920’s. They were often zoo animals purchased by the owners of vast ranches mostly in Texas.

Later in the 1950’s they began to view the exotics as an alternative crop for ranches through breeding and limited hunting practices. Many sheep and goat ranches became in need of another source of revenue.

At the same time it became apparent that the wild deer in central and southwestern Texas were suffering from malnutrition. Twenty to 40-percent of them would die off during the winters.

There was a problem with a lack of protein in their diet. Biologists and landowners discovered that they must manage the wildlife.  Mother Nature was being too harsh and needed some help.

Following the introduction of protein pellets that contained at least 20-percent protein, the deer began to thrive. Soo too did the exotics that had just been hanging on up to that point.

Today the production of many exotic (or introduced) species has thrived in the all of Texas. Vast ranches are home to game animals from around the world, many of which are no longer present in viable numbers in their home lands.  Their meat is in demand and often available in local stores and meat processing shops.

Estimates are that there are 1.3 billion exotics now and they provide employment for thousands. For every dollar spent on hunting alone there is an added benefit to the local economy of 9-dollars.  Breeding programs provide for the preservation of many formerly endangered species.

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