Trapping Industry & History of Exotics in Texas
How long have exotics been in Texas?
Exotics have been roaming Texas for nearly 100 years. Although many people would guess that axis deer were the first exotics in Texas, it was actually nilgai antelope that started the epidemic of exotics in the state, when a small group was introduced to the King Ranch in South Texas in 1930.
How many exotics are there in Texas?
The first and largest survey study on the exotics population in Texas was conducted back in 1984, revealing an estimated total population of 164,257 animals and 67 different species -- 90,400 of which were found on high-fenced ranches, leaving the remaining 73,857 free-ranging. That is a staggering increase in exotics since the initial introduction of nilgai just 34 years earlier. However, this number has increased exponentially since the time of this study and is now known to be well over 500,000 animals, with more than 125 exotic species.
Where are most of the exotics in Texas found?
Most exotics in Texas - around 70% - can be found on ranches in the south-central region of the state known as The Hill Country, and a large majority of the remaining exotics population resides in other parts of South Texas. This is largely due to the concentration of hunting ranches in these regions, as well as the fact that these parts of the state seem to be where most exotic species can thrive throughout all seasons of the year.
How are exotics viewed in Texas? Are they a nuisance?
We at Sisco D Trapping & Exotics are aware that exotics can be, and are, a valuable asset for many Texas landowners. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department acknowledges this as well and supports the use of exotics as a natural resource, but also knows that it is not actually a natural resource. Certain exotic species threaten the well-being of endemic species and native habitats through competition for resources as well as disruptions to the natural balance of the ecosystem, so the TPWD continues to monitor the impact of exotics in order to insure that they can happily coexist with native animals under the right management practices.
We are supporters of healthy management practices as well, so when conflicts between exotics and native animals (or people) do arise, we are ready to assist with effective exotics trapping and relocation services in order to manage this balance and keep exotics around as a resource for Texans.
What role do exotics play in Texas?
Hunting has been, and always will be, the primary reason for the demand for exotics in Texas. One of the biggest motivations for having exotics on one's property is the year-round hunting opportunities that these animals pose. Without exotics, hunting outfitters can only operate within the spam of the annual whitetail deer season (as the main native attraction), but the hunting of exotics is not confined to any specific hunting season, allowing landowners to generate revenue year-round. Plus, the nature of being "exotic" means that landowners can charge top dollar for the opportunity to hunt these animals, either on a focused exotics hunt or as add-ons to a whitetail hunt, generating even more revenue. This has created a huge, multi-million dollar industry - so big that many ranches in Texas now operate with a sole focus on hunting exotics, or even simply breeding and selling them.
If you are looking to add some exotics to your property, Sisco D Trapping & Exotics can provide any species that you are looking for at a competitive price. Conversely, if you have an abundance of exotics and are looking to remove some of them and make good money in the process, reach out to us for a free trapping and purchasing consultation.
The information on this page has been sourced from an official research project conducted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. If you would like to read more about exotic animals in Texas, download the full paper below.