Out of all of the places in the world to hunt, there is no place quite like the great state of Texas. With year round hunting opportunities for exotic deer, African game and many other big game animals to hunt, what’s not to love? What makes it even better is that there are no draw or lottery systems involved with hunting in our great state. Simply find your favorite exotic game hunting ranch (and there are more than a few out there) and book your hunt! What’s more is that there are many free-ranging exotics in Texas that offer even easier access to these fine species. Did you know that American Bison and Rocky Mountain Elk are considered exotic game animals in the state of Texas? It’s true!
Deep in West Texas, for example, you can find outfitters that book hunts for free ranging Aoudad hunts and, for a challenge both mentally and physically, these hunts are hard to beat. Wes Mundy from Double Diamond Outfitters guides hunts like this every year and any many other free-ranging pursuits. A free ranging herd of Axis deer is one of the benefits of hunting at Joshua Creek Ranch deep in the Texas Hill Country aside from their incredible upland bird and waterfowl hunts.
One of the many roles I play in the outdoor industry is as a marketing and outside sales rep for a hunting ranch located near where I live in Central Texas, DB Hunting Ranch. Through my work with DBHR, I have had the opportunity to take several exotic animals such as a Texas Dall Ram, a Barbado Ram, a Catalina Goat and a Red Stag. There were all trophies in their own way. All of these animals were challenging hunts. I had them all shoulder mounted and they hang in my home office today, representing many great memories with friends and family over the years.
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Getting kids in the outdoors is one of my passions and a ram hunt of just about any species is hard to beat for a kid’s first exotic animal harvest. On most hunting ranches, rams are usually a slam dunk hunt for youngster as they are approachable and easy to set up a shot on in the field at relatively close proximity. You can even hunt an exotic animal and, after a successful harvest, have it entered into the Record Book of Exotics, started by Thompson Temple. Another goal you might pursue is a “Ram Slam” which includes successfully bagging the 5 main species of rams. DBHR has been the host of more than a few Ram Slam success stories.
It is hard to beat the majestic glory of an American Elk or Red Stag. Having harvested a Red Stag in the past, I think I will consider the Rocky Mountain Elk next on my personal exotic hit list. After all, you most likely won’t likely have to draw a tag for a bull elk and hunt in the mountains for 7 days to even see one in Texas. The truth is you can even shoot a better bull or stag in Texas without having to hike the mountains of Colorado or New Zealand. The same goes with African game. Now if these are destination hunts for your bucket list, please don’t let me stop you. Hunting Texas for trophy animals of this caliber is typically going to cost you less and net you more time at home with your family. You also get to keep most of your meat which is usually not the case if you hunt Africa or other places outside the states. I love to hunt hard as much as the next guy but the truth is I live a busy life and hunting trophy exotics close to home fits my schedule better and fills my freezer year round.
As we have discovered, many exotic meat and trophy hunts can be found on high fence exotic hunting ranches and these are pretty cut and dry. However, I have a couple of tips from over a decade in this business world of hunting ranches, guides and outfitters. Beware of kill fees and trophy fees when booking hunts with the ranches or outfitters you choose. Ask for the TOTAL COST of your hunt and, of course, figure in a nice tip for your guide. I usually tip 20% of the cost of the hunt.
For table fare, Axis and Blackbuck Antelope are probably some of the best meat pound for pound in exotic hunting. There are also more numbers of these two animals in Texas than in their home countries of India. All of this is due to the sport of hunting. Next on the list, on the African side, I like Scimitar Horned Oryx meat as well as a variety of other African animals plentiful in our great state.
However you approach hunting for exotics remember that this is a great way to get meat for the freezer and there are bag limits or seasons for exotics. In my humble opinion, Texas is the best hunting destination in the world. I know I am a little biased over here but man do we have it good here! Thank you as always for watching, reading and listening and have an awesome day in the outdoors!
Story by Dustin Vaughn Warncke