As a disclaimer, I would like to say that this post may offend some animal rights’ activists, so please read at your discretion. Also, the name of the hunting ranch has been changed, for confidentiality purposes. The following is a first-time hunter’s experience, through the eyes of a Nutrition student:
Having grown up in the typical suburb of Arlington, Texas, I never got to hunt when I was a child. In some ways, I wish I would have been a minimalist country boy. Life would have consisted of sitting around, eating hearty food, and shooting animals. Heck, I would love to be able to pee off of my back porch.
I recently went with two friends on a private hunting trip on Marietta Selleck Ranch (MSR) in Cotulla, Texas. The hunting trip was not exactly what you might imagine. The package we paid for included a whitetail buck, a doe, and unlimited hogs and whatever else they thought we could shoot. Along with that, we had all meals cooked for us, excellent lodging, and pretty much full range to do whatever we wanted on the 3000-acre property. Aside from the abundance of open, dry, South-Texas fields, the owner of MSR had built a large slaughtering barn, an apartment complex for paying hunters, a 4-person luxury lodge, and a personal farm-style house with an outrageous “trophy room” (more on this to come). The ranch has 500+ white tail deer, your typical Texas game (hogs, javelinas, etc.), and plenty of exotic animals for really big spenders. Aside from the delicious meat that I took home, I left the hunting trip with a lot of perspective on food systems, specifically in the meat sector.
The Main Attraction in the Trophy Room
Upon arrival, we walked into the “trophy room” and were absolutely blown away. The professional hunters travel to Africa quite often to hunt the types of animals you see in The Lion King. The mounted animals include antelope, lions, leopards, hippos, crocodiles, and pretty much every African animal you can dream up, mounted 3 stories high. They want to bring back a giraffe eventually. Even crazier, we got to watch the guys work with the fresh zebra skin. They purchased the zebra with the intent to have them around the house as pets. The zebras turned out to be wild and not too friendly. In effect, the wife said that she would prefer them to be turned into rugs! The week before my friends and I arrived, a group of nine hunters from Michigan shot about $300,000 worth of animals. MSR threw in two zebra kills as a bonus, but the ranch kept everything, of course.
Storing the zebra skin in a cooler
After some initial rifle practice, a hunting guide and I went into the deer blind, which is a closed-in stand on top of a tower from which you scout the area. I was thinking there would just be an abundance of deer surrounding the corn feeder after it went off, but that was not the case. A few does and bucks may walk by, but they do not flock to the deer feeder. You may sit for hours and only see a couple of deer, but there is something very calming about waiting for the perfect animal. I sat in the deer blind a few times over the weekend and just cleared my mind as I waited for my championship buck to make his appearance. Just sit quietly as the wind bites at your face, and a sense of stalking your prey will overtake you. A few deer trickled in, here and there, but I think I only saw about 5 bucks total. As a first time hunter, I was obviously anxious to shoot the first potential buck. Continue reading