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Trophy animals abound in Texas, but hunters are staying home

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Written by Jennifer Hiller at San Antonio Express-News


INGRAM — As the year’s first big cold front blew through on a December afternoon, hunting outfitter Aaron Bulkley drove across rocky soil dotted with gray-green live oaks and pointed out a United Nations of grazing animals.

They were all on sale.

Here were North American elk, the Asian antelope nilgai, a herd of pregnant scimitar horned oryx, native to North Africa, and the elegant fallow deer from Europe, whose broad antlers fan out like a palm with fingers extended. A bachelor herd of blackbuck, an Indian antelope with long horns in a tight spiral, sped across the landscape and vanished like a mirage, gone as fast as they were spotted.

There were native Texans, too, among 20 species on the 3,500-acre White Cross Ranch, where hunting is a bargain and revenue is down about 50 percent this year. Turkey gathered and a white-tail buck, whose rack and meat are prized by hunters, nestled in high grass.

Bulkley gestured to an Iranian red sheep with horns that curl like commas.

“We used to shoot these for $3,750. Now we’re down to $2,900,” Bulkley said and shrugged. “Again, price drop.”

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