Consider exotics as whitetail season closes

Consider exotics as whitetail season closes

Back in the times when there were more folks living on farms or just in the country, winter was hog killing time. There was no cold storage other than an icebox. That made it necessary to wait until there were a couple of cold fronts to put their annual pork supply to bed. Smoking the meat or using salt in vats were the methods of that day for preserving their meat. We can still do those things, but the use of freezers is a lot simpler. To get that great smoke flavor, we can smoke it for a few hours and it’s ready to put on the table.

In more modern times when more folks live in urban areas, there are still plenty of great hunt situations available. Not only are the once domestic hogs now running wild and becoming feral, but there are imported exotic game animals available to hunters.

The general deer and turkey season will soon be ending in most of Texas. In South Texas, some folks will still be in hunting mode. There are a good number of ranches that offer both trophy and management hunting for various exotic animals. These hunts on private land hunts will vary in price according to your selection of programs.

There are actually way too many species to be included in this article, but there are some very popular ones that are easily available.

One of the more popular exotics is the axis deer. These animals sport great racks when the bucks are mature. Many of the folks that go after an axis buck will do so because they not only make a really nice trophy mount, but they are also excellent table fare. The deer are much the color of whitetail fawns. They are usually light tan with many lighter spots. They are about the same size as whitetails. The does of the species are said by many to be the less gamey meat of all the deer. While the bucks are also a great choice for the table, the does are even better.

There is a large percentage of exotic ranches that offer axis hunts. Being as popular and as easy to manage as they are, the axis has become a favorite.

These animals have become so well populated that they are sold just as cattle are for the meat. The venison that folks are seeing in some meat markets is axis deer. Since they are not native to the United States, they are considered livestock. They are the property of whoever has either purchased or raised them.

The black buck antelope is another very popular exotic. The black buck is a really classy looking quarry. With his dark back and sides and his white belly, he appears to be dressed formally. The buck has long double horns, not antlers. They do not shed them annually. The female is a more drab in color, as with most animals. These animals appear to be much larger in the field than they are upon closer inspection. Besides that, they are extremely fast runners.

The sika is another exotic that is available on many exotic ranches; first glance they appear to be whitetail deer. They are, however, somewhat larger and they make a sound that is much like a dog’s bark. The sika has another unusual trait. They will attack whenever they are cornered. Sometimes they seem to prefer the confrontation to escape. These animals are also sold commercially for meat.

The fallow deer is also a super popular exotic. These animals come in several colors and their antlers appear as small elk. The fallow was originally introduced into England to adorn the castle grounds. Since they have been in the United States and on our larger ranches, the fallow has increased in numbers. By sporting such great antlers and offering several colors, the fallow is one of the more sought after of the exotics. Their flesh is much like whitetail in my opinion. Some folks really enjoy it on the table while others would rather have axis.

There are many, many more exotics that are available on the exotic ranches. There are both sheep and goats, as well as some of the larger African super exotics that are also in huntable numbers.

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