Skip to main content

60 Minutes Tackles Hunting Endangered Species in Texas

Texas isn't as well-known for its population of wild African game as it is for its longhorn cattle, but believe it or not, the Lone Star State hosts a diverse collection animals from Africa, Asia and Europe. And the kicker? For an understandably hefty price tag, you can hunt some of the rarest animals in the world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, some animal rights activists have a problem with this.

On Sunday's episode of 60 Minutes, CBS reporter Lara Logan took a look at the boom in non-native species deep in the heart of Texas, a trend that began over half a century ago when zoos dumped their surplus animals into the Texas countryside. As it turns out, ranchers took a liking to seeing the animals on their properties and began cultivating them. The movement has paid dividends, as three species of African antelope have been brought back from the brink of extinction, including the scimitar-horned oryx, which has been classified as Extinct in the Wild in its native habitat.

The animal's rarity drew trophy hunters to Texas, driving up the oryx's value and providing ranchers with the money needed to keep the animals alive -- in the scimitar-horned oryx's case, the price is a whopping $10,000 per tag. The most expensive is the cape buffalo at $50,000. What's more, ranchers make sure no more than 10 percent of the herd is killed per year. According to the report, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed with the hunts, saying "hunting...provides an economic incentive for...ranchers to continue to breed these species," and that "hunting...reduces the threat of the species' extinction."


Click here to watch the entire segment.


Despite the ranches' contributions to the preservation of the scimitar-horned oryx and other endangered species, the movement has drawn the ire of animal rights activists like Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals. Logan asked if the oryx exists in Texas to be hunted, if she would rather see it exist at all. Feral's response? "Not in Texas, no."

Conservationalist Chris Condy told 60 Minutes that the ranchers' movement was no doubt saving the scimitar-horned oryx, citing a population somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 animals, but Feral's position has nevertheless gained legal traction, and in the next few weeks, the U.S. government will make it illegal to hunt the scimitar-horned oryx and two other non-native species without a federal permit -- which is nearly impossible to obtain -- reneging its earlier position that the animals were considered private property.

No doubt, Condy said, this will devalue the oryx, and in a matter of years, it will be extinct in Texas, too.

It's a sad state of affairs, not only because this game animal is once again facing extinction, but because the government is turning a blind eye to facts. Instead of looking at actual, concrete numbers -- which had apparently been sufficient for the U.S. government for years -- Washington has now chosen to listen to the ramblings of an activist with little bearing on the situation other than her own pathos-driven babble.


After all, if the scimitar-horned oryx is thriving in a controlled environment without harming the local ecosystem, who's to say it belongs only in Africa, where poaching could very well wipe the species out -- again? Private business should be allowed to function as long as there is demand, but unfortunately Feral doesn't see it this way.  Soon she may get her wish to see it removed from Texas -- and the planet.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Best Whitetail Shot Placement with a Rifle

Best Whitetail Shot Placement with a Rifle

Craig Boddington breaks down where hunters should aim on a whitetail that provides the best possible margin for error.

Is That a Grizzly Bear?

Is That a Grizzly Bear?

Kevin Steele and Jason Morton are above the Arctic Circle pursuing grizzly bears in Alaska and put a stalk on what they believe is a good one.

Hunting Coues Deer South of the Border

Hunting Coues Deer South of the Border

Former Delta Force Operator Kyle Lamb hikes the rugged desert mountains of northern Sonora in pursuit of the diminutive Coues species of whitetail.

Top Ten Hunts

Top Ten Hunts

Here at Petersen's Hunting we have compiled the 10 best hunts caught on camera from the last 2 years of Petersen's Hunting TV. Enjoy!

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

These trail cameras feature the latest wireless technology.The Best Cellular Trail Cameras for 2020 Optics

The Best Cellular Trail Cameras for 2020

Tony J. Peterson - July 09, 2020

These trail cameras feature the latest wireless technology.

We evaluate the 6.5 in a real-life case study. Is The 6.5 The Perfect Hunting Caliber? Ammo

Is The 6.5 The Perfect Hunting Caliber?

Mike Schoby

We evaluate the 6.5 in a real-life case study.

The outdoor industry gets serious about recruiting new hunters with some curious marketing strategies.Are New Hunter Recruitment Strategies Working? Conservation

Are New Hunter Recruitment Strategies Working?

Andrew McKean - May 05, 2020

The outdoor industry gets serious about recruiting new hunters with some curious marketing...

Technology is taking deer hunters, and their gear, into the future. The Best New Deer Hunting Technology Accessories

The Best New Deer Hunting Technology

Jeff Johnston - May 15, 2020

Technology is taking deer hunters, and their gear, into the future.

See More Trending Articles

More News

Perspective from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.NSSF: Mayors' Blame Game as Lawlessness Grows

NSSF: Mayors' Blame Game as Lawlessness Grows

Larry Keane - July 09, 2020

Perspective from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

In a year trying daily to defy description, even longtime cartoon hunter Elmer Fudd is being affected by the craziness of 2020.As 'Loony' Year Continues, Longtime Rabbit Hunter Elmer Fudd Loses His Gun News

As 'Loony' Year Continues, Longtime Rabbit Hunter Elmer Fudd Loses His Gun

Petersen's Hunting Staff - June 08, 2020

In a year trying daily to defy description, even longtime cartoon hunter Elmer Fudd is being...

Several states have eliminated spring hunts, with more leaning toward additional closures.Hunting Seasons See Restrictions in Face of Spreading COVID-19 News

Hunting Seasons See Restrictions in Face of Spreading COVID-19

Rob Endsley

Several states have eliminated spring hunts, with more leaning toward additional closures.

We've lost 2.2 million hunters since 2011. Here's how to help save hunting.
 Photo Credit: MattThe Hunter Decline and How We Can Fix It News

The Hunter Decline and How We Can Fix It

Andrew McKean - August 20, 2018

We've lost 2.2 million hunters since 2011. Here's how to help save hunting. Photo Credit: Matt

See More News

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now