Sunday, November 5, 2017

The market for hunting exotic animals without traveling to exotic places

The NY Times has a story about the Ox Ranch, which describes itself as offering  "18,000 acres of the best Texas Hill Country Hunting."  Some of the prey on offer are not native, however, and the business model arouses repugnance in some quarters.

Blood and Beauty on a Texas Exotic-Game Ranch

"The price to kill a bongo at the Ox Ranch is $35,000.

"Himalayan tahrs, wild goats with a bushy lion-style mane, are far cheaper. The trophy fee, or kill fee, to shoot one is $7,500. An Arabian oryx is $9,500; a sitatunga antelope, $12,000; and a black wildebeest, $15,000.
"The ranch’s hunting guides and managers walk a thin, controversial line between caring for thousands of rare, threatened and endangered animals and helping to execute them. Some see the ranch as a place for sport and conservation. Some see it as a place for slaughter and hypocrisy.
"The ranch has about 30 bongo, the African antelopes with a trophy fee of $35,000. Last fall, a hunter shot one. “Taking one paid their feed bill for the entire year, for the rest of them,” said Jason Molitor, the chief executive of the Ox Ranch.
"To many animal-protection groups, such management of rare and endangered species — breeding some, preventing some from being hunted, while allowing the killing of others — is not only repulsive, but puts hunting ranches in a legal and ethical gray area.
“Depending on what facility it is, there’s concern when animals are raised solely for profit purposes,” said Anna Frostic, a senior attorney with the Humane Society of the United States.
"Hunting advocates disagree and say the breeding and hunting of exotic animals helps ensure species’ survival. Exotic-game ranches see themselves not as an enemy of wildlife conservation but as an ally, arguing that they contribute a percentage of their profits to conservation efforts.
We love the animals, and that’s why we hunt them,” Mr. Molitor said. “Most hunters in general are more in line with conservation than the public believes that they are.”
The ranch also offers other activities, including these related to guns, which in the U.S. are sometimes regarded simultaneously (by different parts of the population) as both repugnant and protected transactions.

Guns & Shooting

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