New Law Could Be Boon To Antelope Hunts In Texas

Scimitar horned oryx. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)

(March 20, 2014) A new law authored by U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, that went into effect this week makes it easier to hunt endangered African antelope raised on Texas ranches.

The new law eliminates two federal permits that once were required for three species of antelope in Texas, the scimitar horned oryx, addax and dama gazelle.

The total cost of the two permits was $700.

“These ranchers are conservationists who have proven they know how to save these animals,” Carter said.

“This law opens the door for owners and ranchers to handle their own herds, including selective harvesting, without the federal government stepping in with burdensome regulations that could ultimately be detrimental to the growth of these breeds,” he said.

The antelope are native to North Africa where hunting and habitat loss have greatly diminished their numbers.

Carter says Texas ranchers now will be motivated to breed more antelope because they can profit from them through hunts.

Critics say there's no scientific basis for claiming that hunting captive animals contributes to restoring wild populations.