And we’re not just talking about the dancers that those boys may or may not have thrown some dollar bills at during some point in their lives. We’re talking about the hunting action.
Texas has become a hot spot for the exotic hunting industry, a cornucopia of exotic species of wildlife have assimilated nicely to the sprawling ranches and wide variety of habitat types found throughout the state. Exotic species are managed separately from native wildlife like deer and turkeys, so in most instances they can be hunted year round which makes Texas one of the most opportune places in the world to hunt.
Three of the state’s most popular young redneck rockstars took advantage of those awesome hunting opportunities earlier this week when they hit the woods with Ace Outfitters, pulled the trigger a few times, and put some meat in the freezer.
Koe Wetzel was lucky enough to whack a scimitar horned oryx, one of the most magnificent exotic species found in the U.S.
“Huge thanks to Ace Outfitters for letting me come out and take my first Oryx, and Fierce Firearms for getting the job done from a ways out!”
Scimitar-horned oryx once roamed free over vast expanses of North Africa, but unfortunately the species was declared extinct in it’s wild home range in 2000 due to several ecological factors and aggressive poaching. Before going extinct in Africa though, herds of the majestic antelopes were let free to roam the Texas hill country.
The first oryx introduction in the Lone Star state took place in 1979 when 32 of them were unleashed. There are now more than an estimated 11,000 scimitar-horned oryx running through the Texas hills, which means more oryx exist in Texas than anywhere else in the world.
With such a booming population, the opportunities to hunt oryx in Texas mean that hunters can still cross a bucket list species off their list despite the species ecological collapse in its home range.
Koe wasn’t the only one to have a successful hunt though, as Cooper and Hurley doubled up on the buffalo meat. Each of them had successful bison hunts that they celebrated with an ice cold beer and a tractor.
Kolby didn’t let the good times stop rolling there though, he took down a scimitar-horned oryx of his own and an exotic mouflon ram.
Mouflon sheep are native to the Caspian region of eastern Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iran. The species is believed to be the ancient ancestor of all modern domestic sheep breeds. Texas is now home to a large exotic population of the sheep as well, and ranches across the state offer premier hunting opportunities for them.
With so many big game animals successfully harvested, there’s bound to be a lot of fresh meat to go around. In order to ensure that no meat from so many successful exotic hunts ever goes to waste, the Texas State House of Representatives recently passed a bill that allow for hunters to donate ethically harvested exotic game meat to food pantries.
The proposed legislation is awaiting deliberation in the State Senate now.
According to the Sportsmen’s Alliance, a hunting and conservation focused advocacy and government affairs organization, the state of Texas does not currently allow for the donation of exotic wild game meat to help feed the states hungry residents in need.
“Current Texas law does not allow the donation of exotic game meat to foodbanks. This commonsense legislation will ease the burden that food banks constantly face, especially in times of emergency, such as the recent storms that wreaked havoc on the Lone Star State or COVID-19.
In 2017, a well-known foundation, which had been processing over 100,000 pounds of ground meat for distribution to orphanages, churches and others in need at no charge, was told they could not process and distribute exotic game unless they were granted an exemption. After applying for the exemption to continue to help feed Texans in need, they were denied.
“We were deeply saddened and, quite frankly, downright confused when we found out the foundation would now be limited in their ability to continue to feed children and families in need,” said Joe Betar, Executive Director, Houston Safari Club. “It should not have taken a national pandemic to realize just how important this issue is to the community, and we will work with Rep. Frullo to get this important bill passed.”
In early 2018, the Sportsmen’s Alliance and the Houston Safari Club (HSC) began working together on this important issue. When COVID-19 struck, an emergency exemption was granted, but when the pandemic’s threat eases, the exemption will expire. HB 2213 will provide a permanent exemption, and the Alliance and Houston Safari Club are taking the lead to get this legislation across the finish line.
“The Sportsmen’s Alliance, our members and, I imagine, every Texan applauds Rep. Frullo on this legislation that will help to feed countless men, women and children in need,” said Bruce Tague vice president government affairs at Sportsmen’s Alliance. “This is exactly the type of commonsense legislation that is needed across the country during these trying times.”