Frequently Asked Questions
Does conservation hunting allow for “fair chase?”
- Yes. Most ranches span hundreds, if not thousands of acres. There is plenty of space for the animals to flee, hide, find cover, and get away.
Are the animals domesticated and tame?
- No. While these animals have spent their lives on the ranch, ranchers will tell you firsthand that these are wild animals that are unpredictable. Some animal rights groups claim conservation hunting ranches present an unfair environment for hunters and that animals housed there are tame and domesticated. Nothing could be further from the truth.
How do you manage the animals’ populations?
- On most ranches, only 10 percent of the herd is hunted every year. This allows farmers and ranchers to maintain the species and continue to breed them and replenish the herd. This has been particularly important in raising exotic wildlife. Thanks to these efforts, animals that are extinct in the wild are now thriving on conservation hunting ranches.
Is disease more common on conservation hunting ranches?
- No. In fact, when there is a communicable disease in the general wildlife population in the area, ranch animals are less likely to catch it because of the protective fencing. If disease does arise on the ranch, including those diseases that are naturally-occurring, affected animals can be properly quarantined. This stops the disease more effectively from spreading than in the wild.
Isn’t this just “shooting fish in a barrel?”
- No. The people involved in this business are absolutely against any practices that could be considered “canned” hunting. These are wild animals that have acres and acres where they can roam. And even more important than the acreage is the terrain. This is what can make hunting on ranches particularly challenging.
Is conservation hunting cruel?
- No. Next time someone tells you conservation hunting is wrong, ask them if they support any type of hunting or whether they even eat meat. Chances are that they don’t. The groups leading the charge against the families operating conservation hunting ranches tend to be animal rights activists who have a vegan agenda and want to ban all forms of hunting. We are simply their first target.
Isn’t altruism better than hunting?
- Just take a look at the numbers. One particular preserve in Africa set up by a group that opposes conservation hunting has about 175 scimitar horned oryx. In contrast, ranchers have expanded the population of oryx to 6,000 to 10,000 animals. There’s nothing wrong with altruistic efforts, because our ranches are participating in those as well, but there’s nothing wrong with conservation hunting, either. It’s a proven success.
How can hunting an animal save the species?
- Incentives matter. Owners of conservation hunting ranches need to make a living just like everyone else. It’s a relatively simple calculation: Outdoorsmen are willing to pay to hunt exotic wildlife. This money is then spent on the food and other supplies necessary for maintaining and growing the herd. An average of 30 animals per year are harvested on each hunting-only exotics ranch. Many ranches don’t allow more than 10 percent of the herd to be hunted in a year. This lets the ranchers to grow these numbers each season. Ranch owners spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to maintain the ranch, and many spent that or more in the initial capital investment.
- When the market is allowed to work, conservationists, hunters, and ranchers all agree that threatened species can thrive. And their success isn’t just good for the animals or for the owners themselves. Conservation hunting ranches and the related industries are responsible for tens of thousands of jobs that support many rural communities across America.