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Hunting exotics in Texas...

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by marksman13, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. marksman13

    marksman13 Member

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    I’m sure some of you have hunted exotics in Texas. In your opinion, is there much about it that resembles an actual hunt or is it more like riding around shooting cattle? I’d like to hunt some different species, but i’m just not going to fly to Africa to do it. On the flip side of that, I’d like it to be a “hunt” as much as possible. I get that I won’t have the same experience as I would get hunting impala on the plains or audad in the mountains, but do any of these outfitters offer a real hunting experience? Anybody have outfitters they would recommend? I’m looking to take my nine year old daughter after a different species every year while she’s still young enough to want to hang out with her dad. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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    I wouldn't characterize hunting exotics as riding around "shooting cattle". Exotics are not domesticated and possess wild instincts. Main difference is they are contained in a specified area. The ones I've hunted were in 500-to1500 acre areas and was fair chase. These operations are similar to a commercial livestock operation in that they are fed, bred, and managed for disease. You simply pay the fees and pick out which one you want to take. For those with time constraints who don't have two weeks to hunt a trophy animal, it's an alternative way to hunt. Exotics do not count for record book scores, they have their own category for records.

    For the Wall Street executive who has little time and wants a guaranteed take, they can fly in, hunt, and be back in the office on Monday. Ideal for those who have disabilities and handicaps. For an inexperienced youngster it provides an opportunity to take an animal and get a feel for hunting. I'd hate to spend untold thousands on a youngsters hunt to Alaska and get skunked due to bad weather and lack of scouting a particular area. I think it fills a need, probably not for everyone.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
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  3. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    I'll be looking at the responses you get here too.
    I am planning on going on a guided hunt in the next 2-3 years sometime.
    I've wondered the same thing. I have no desire to go to a zoo and shoot animals.
     
  4. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    Back in the late '70s I went to Thompson Temple's outfit near Kerrville to 'hunt' an axis deer. We drove up to a water tank and he stopped the truck and glassed. "There's a nice buck", he said. "Slip out the door and don't close it, maybe you can crawl around the back and get a good shot." So I did. I shot and it dropped.
    "WOW! What a shot. They're usually real hard to kill. CONGRATULATIONS!"

    I got the impression that the buck was hanging around waiting to get fed but don't know that for sure. Was it hunting? .... No. Was it fun? ... Yes, sort of.
    It is what it is. Not everybody's cup o' tea but it's an easy, if not inexpensive, way to have a good time.
     
  5. marksman13

    marksman13 Member

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    That’s the kind of response I was looking for. I had a buddy in college whom went out to Texas to kill a bison for a tv production. He said it was literally like shooting a cow, right down to the feed trough. Some of the hunts I see on YouTube look similar. Some look like there is some degree of difficulty. I had a buddy whom recently went to King Ranch on a Nilgai hunt and said it was an awesome experience, but we haven’t talked much about the actual hunt.
     
  6. marksman13

    marksman13 Member

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    Just talked to my buddy about his nilgai. He says they are definitely wild. One sniff or movement that’s out of place and they are gone.
     
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  7. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    I guess that would vastly depend on the size of the place your hunting. Keep in mind places like the King Ranch are larger than Rhode Island. Can you hunt a entire state and not call it hunting? Lots other places have hundreds of thousands of acres. I certainly couldn't transverse that in a timely fashion, perhaps you could?
     
  8. marksman13

    marksman13 Member

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    It’s more the thought that the animals would be more or less tame from so much human interaction than being fenced into tight quarters.
     
  9. MaxP

    MaxP Member

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    I hunted free ranging water buffalo in Argentina and it was anticlimactic. My dodgiest water buffalo experience happened in Hondo, Texas at Action Outdoor Adventures during our annual gathering there in October. Downright dodgy. Just because there’s a fence around the property doesn’t mean the animals are tame.
     
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  10. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    If the ranch is 100 acres they are probably used to people. If its 100,000 + ac. they might have never seen a human since they were released and or born.


    too many variable to say with 100% certainly.
     
  11. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Call it a weak opinion, but from what little I've seen, Axis deer and Blackbuck antelope don't seem to be as easily spooked as whitetail. Less likely to take off at wide-open throttle.
     
  12. Blnt4rcetrauma

    Blnt4rcetrauma Member

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    My dad has owned 75 acres in Texas Hill country since I was 3 years old. I’m 34 now. In the past ten years the across the road property was sold and the guy put a fence around his 130 acre plot and cleared most of the shrubs and manicured it to be easily traveled. No big deal. But now he has exotics on his land and they seem so docile. Not sure if he hunts them but I couldn’t see it being much of a sport. He has feeders and about 50 ft away deer stands. Where’s the sport in that.

    Our land is still virgin so to speak so we still have much of the native species but as a traditional hunter it would be hard for me to consider waiting in a stand for a deer to come by at dinner time and shoot it.
     
  13. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    The O2 Ranch south of Alpine had (has?) a herd of Oryx. I'd see them standing around near the highway fence of the 100,000-acre east pasture, seemingly counting cars. Stopping to take a picture didn't seem to bother them. The ranch manager finally began feeding them a couple of miles from the highway, worried about drive-by poachers.
     
  14. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    There's a difference between a domestic animal and one that has domesticated. There is also a difference between domestication and taming. Taming is the conditioned behavioral modification of a wild-born animal when its natural avoidance of humans is reduced and it accepts the presence of humans, but domestication is the permanent genetic modification of a bred lineage that leads to an inherited predisposition toward humans. IMHO, most any animal in a high fence operation is going to be more accepting to the presence of humans. Most, especially the trophy animals, did not live their long lives by luck or by the skills at escape. They get big/old because they have been selectively bred(which is a definition of domestication), supplementally fed and nurtured. Size of the high fence area is only relative to the amount of animals contained within it. Most animals in those operations are at unnaturally occurring numbers. One only has to look at pictures of, or observe multiple trophy/dominate animals, tolerating each other in small areas, to realize this is not the normal behavior of most true game animals. Many of the ranches with exotics that first started the craze years ago, actually obtained their breeding stock from Zoos. So as far as it being a quality hunt or a shoot, not only does it depend on the ranch/outfitter, it also depends on your personal definition. Around here folks with large tracts of private land, altho it is not high fenched, supplementally feed deer, limit hunting access/pressure and selectively harvest. While they don't actively selectively breed the local deer herd, they do selectively cull it. Allowing bucks to walk that have committed multiple mistakes that normally would've resulted in them being shot, is in reality, taming them. Feeding them, whether directly or indirectly with food plots, is in reality, taming them to a point. They not only learn to tolerate human presence, but they don't fully learn how to survive in the wild. So, it's not just the fence that matters.

    There's a reason most record books do not recognize animals taken at high fence operations. Whether you agree with them or not, again depends on your own personal opinion of what constitutes a quality hunt. I've hunted wild pheasants that gave me my limit relatively easily and I've paid for released birds that gave me and my very good bird dog the slip. The quality of the hunt did not depend on the birds being wild, but depended on the conditions they were hunted in. Many high fence operations give you a 100% opportunity guarantee. This is not something that would occur naturally for most of us hunting in the wild. This has to tell folks something. I have nephew that shot a 1800# water buffalo with a crossbow when he was 12. First animal he ever shot with it. Why did his dad pick that animal for him, didn't have anything to do with the challenge....cause it gave them the most meat for the buck. It also gave the boy an experience and memories that he otherwise would not have experienced, altho he may at some point later, not really think of it as a hunt, or if he doesn't hunt much, may consider it the hunt of his life. Again, it's a personal thing. Anyone who seriously considers this kind of hunt, probably would enjoy it, at least a little.
     
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  15. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    Truth be told, there isn't a plug nickles worth of difference between the exotic hunt operations in Texas and some of the high fenced hunt operations in South Africa. I'm not saying you can't find extremely good hunting in South Africa and the vast majority of hunting farms in South Africa are high fenced. I've been on places that are a hundred thousand acres or bigger with a perimeter fence, I've been on some places that are fifty thousand acres with a high fence. I've also seen some tiny little hundred acre or less places that are purely put and take. If you've seen or done a lion hunt in the country of South Africa it's about a 90% chance that it is a captive bred, released lion in an enclosure of some size. There are very few wild free range lion hunting opportunities in the country of South Africa, same goes for cape buffalo in that country. If you want to hunt a wild free range lion you've got to go to Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Zambia or possibly the Caprivi Strip of Namibia.

    I've hunted South Africa several times and I've been on the bigger places that approximate a real hunt. But the truth of the matter is that a high fence always ruins the experience for me. Which is why I prefer to hunt truly wild government blocks up in Zimbabwe or Tanzania. If you want to shoot some exotics in Texas I say go for it. I've not got a problem with it, and it's not my cup of tea. Now that being said I'd love to hunt Nilgai on the King Ranch as those are pretty much free rang and there is no other possible hunting opportunity for them in their home range. I've got no problem hunting free range exotics like Barbary sheep in West Texas or New Mexico or Oryx in New Mexico where they were released decades ago into the wild and are truly self sustaining and free range.
     
  16. Tradmark

    Tradmark Member

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    How wild and wary the animals are has nothing to do with the size of the fence. That has more to do with the hunting experience if those things are importance. I dont wanna run into a fence at every turn, and lions leopards etc dont respect fences. Cape buff can go straight thru whenever they want. That said, ive been charged more in texas behind a fence than in africa. This last year in africa the cape buff i shot treed the trackers without having fired a shot. Very very aggressive. Huge property. Well over 100k hectares (2.5 acre/hectare). Do it how ya want. Pick the appropriate ranch that gives you the type of hunt you want. Ive tagged out on elk in new mexico in two hours before. Ive gone home without my elk as well. In texas ive been on easy shoots and ive also chased wary game to no avail. Theres all types.
     
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  17. marksman13

    marksman13 Member

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    My buddy says his nilgai hunt at King Ranch was a true hunt. Says they were very wary and with any sight or smell of human presence and they were gone.
     
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  18. MaxP

    MaxP Member

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    I agree completely. I hunted Cape buffalo in the Eastern Cape last year and it was a tough, physical hunt. Cape buffalo are programmed to run and run they do when they wind you. One particular bull we chased for hours ran right through a property line fence without slowing a bit. Some of my scariest moments hunting have taken place in Texas as well.
     
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