Texas Wildlife Ranch Cancels All Group Hunts After Losing Over 2,000 Deer in Snowstorm

by Jon D. B.
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The ranch, a member of Texas’ Exotic Wildlife Association, lost over half of its axis deer population, alongside 60 percent of their blackbuck antelope.

Texas will feel the sting of their unprecedented Arctic freeze for years to come. Such is the case – tenfold – for Texas Canyon Ranch. The snow and ice storms decimated their exotics, with deer and antelope populations dropping by over half. The ranch, which sits roughly 170 miles northwest of San Antonio in Sonora, says it will take “years” to reach “pre-2021” numbers of livestock.

All told, Texas Canyon Ranch lost over 2,000 of their 4,000 axis deer. In addition, roughly 60 percent of their blackbuck antelope population also froze in the storms. Tragically, many of these non-native ungulates never stood a chance. As the Arctic freeze wreaked havoc across the state, temperatures on the ranch shot down close to 0 degrees. Single-digit temps lingered for days, with the deer and antelope unable to cope.

Texas Canyon Ranch cites that their staff worked “around the clock” to keep their livestock fed during the storms. Despite their survival efforts, however, the freak cold snap would take a terrible toll.

In a press statement updating their patrons, the ranch cites their winter storm damage is so severe that they will be unable to fulfill most hunting throughout the rest of the year. To survive, the organization will continue ahead with “premier” hunts on their 20,000 acres. Within, one to two (max) hunters will have access to their lands alongside private guides. Each of these hunts, too, will have limited harvests.

Oryx, Red Deer, Feral Hogs Survive Winter Freeze – Axis Deer & Blackbuck Antelope Decimated

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Black buck at Tal Chhapar Sanctuary in Churu district of Rajasthan, India. (Photo by Vishal Bhatnagar/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“We are heartbroken by the toll the storm took on our animals,” My San Antonio cites of Bill Hall, business manager for Canyon Ranch.

“Fortunately, few of our Oryx were lost. Although, we can tell they are impacted by how slow they are to move away when approached,” he continues. “They just don’t have the energy to run. No Red Deer were lost, and, needless to say, as always, the feral hogs are doing just fine.”

Moving forward, Hall has hope that February’s devastation will pass and the ranch will return to normal in time. He expects the grasslands and forests to “recover well,” despite the loss of a few trees alongside their crippling livestock losses.

“Canyon Ranch is under a Texas Parks and Wildlife Managed Lands Deer Permits program and performs continuous ongoing rangeland and wildlife habitat management intended to constantly improve the conditions for wildlife,” the local trade continues. They also cite the ranch’s credentials as a member of the Exotic Wildlife Association.

As such, Canyon Ranch is able to stock & breed their exotic species in Texas. Axis deer, also known as the chital or spotted deer are native to the Indian subcontinent and have not evolved for freezing climates. Nor has Texas, so the two are typically a fine match. The same applies to blackbuck, which are native to India and Nepal.

We can only hope alongside Hall that the coming years will be kinder to his beloved recreational and conservational ranch.

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