If you’ve ever been to Texas, you know there’s no shortage of deer. They’re everywhere. But apparently that’s not enough for the elite hunting resorts that artificially maintain a herd of white-tailed deer through breeding farms and stock auctions – they can’t keep up the demand for big bucks due to trophy hunting desires.
But the big deer are expensive and hard to come by from the 1,100 licensed deer breeders inside the state of Texas, thus spawning a massive illegal trade of large antlered bucks from farms in northern states like Michigan. The illegal trade is putting the health of the Texas deer population at risk, all because people feel the need to shoot bigger deer.
The deer risk carrying in diseases such as chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis, neither of which are currently problems in Texas but are rampant in northern states and Canada. Last September, Michigan temporarily closed 559 deer farms after a deer with chronic wasting disease was found at a farm.
While the concept of smuggling larger deer to hunting growns is repulsive to animal rights activists, deer hunters in Texas are also angered by the underground trade. You can’t defend those actions,” said Gary Joyner of the Texas Wildlife Association, a group which advocates “fair chase” hunting practices.
While the benefits of culling deer are sketchy at best, that excuse for hunting the animals seems to only extend to a small percentage of hunters anyway. With $652 million deer breeding industry in Texas, it’s clear that deer culling is not the priority.
The news about the thriving industry comes shortly after Newsweek reported on a study showing that deer populations are suffering due to hunters targeting the largest, healthiest deer. Of course, In any non-human predatory situation, the smaller animals would die, allowing the strongest deer in the gene pool to populate.
Photo Credit: RichardRichard on Flickr under Creative Commons license.