How many animals are there in Texas?

Exotic animals in Texas: ranches for breeding and hunting are booming

The owners of the Y.O. Ranch in Mountain Home agreed to meet me in 2019, contrary to their friends' advice. “We love America, we love the military, and we love our animals,” says Byron Sadler. Questioning one is like questioning all three. In other words, owning exotic animals is not an issue here.

Gilroy is more open to journalists. “If we don't tell our story, someone else will,” he says.

The exotic wild animals in Texas are not domesticated and mostly do not require a lot of individual care. But they're not really wild either. In contrast to the native white-tailed deer, elk and bighorn sheep, they are not legally classified as game - even if they are often hunted. Instead, like farm animals and pets, they are considered property.

Some of the species on these ranches are critically endangered or even extinct in the wild, such as the saber antelope. But like almost all exotic ungulates in Texas ranches, they are legal to hunt as most of them are not in the U.S. Endangered Species Act are listed. This is because this primarily focuses on the protection of native species. Under Texas law, exotic species are classified as livestock - so the owners have to meet certain animal welfare requirements, but there are hardly any regulations beyond that.