Free-ranging vs. preserve

Exotic, or non-native, animals thrive in the wild in much of the U.S. and New Zealand.

The most common exotic is the feral hog, which is considered a game animal in some places, such as California, and vermin in many states.

Texas is home to perhaps millions of wild hogs as well as many species of horned and antlered exotics.

Many exotics in Texas are roam free on cattle ranches where the only fences are low barbwire or sheep net. Others are managed intensively on preserves where they are restrained by high, game-proof fences, some of them eight to 10 feet tall. Some of those ranches are enormous.

Hunters on the biggest preserves say that hunting on them is virtually identical to hunting on free range.

New Mexico offers unique opportunities to hunt oryx (gemsbok), ibex and aoudad (Barbary sheep) on public and private land. Some hunts there are so popular that a hunter may take part only once in a lifetime.

Exotic big game

Free-ranging axis deer

Hunt low-fenced Texas ranches


Texas nilgai (blue bull)

16,000 acres, low fences


Free-roaming Barbary sheep

Top-rated outfit, huge acreages


New Zealand red stag

Free-ranging and preserve hunts. Add tahr, fallow deer or chamois.


New Mexico oryx

Hunts on and off missile range.