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15 Exotic Game Animals You’ve Likely Never Heard Of

These unheard-of exotic game animals can be hunted in the U.S. and abroad.

Image via Joe Riekers

Safari Club International, a worldwide hunting and conservation organization, lists 73 species of exotic animals that can be hunted under the category of “Introduced Species.” It can be a vastly different experience from native hunting, and therefore a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

There are at least a dozen other exotic species that can be hunted in Texas that are not on SCI’s list. Some of these exotics are governed by C.I.T.E.S. – Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species. In order to hunt these animals a permit that is issued by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is required. A percentage of the hunt cost is returned to the animals country of origin to be used for conservation efforts.

Exotic game hunting offers year-round opportunities. 29 States in the U.S., plus Puerto Rico, offer at least some exotic hunting. For example, Ox Hunting Ranch has over 50 species alone to hunt of the exotic variety.

For comprehensive information on why and where to hunt exotics, private and public exotic hunting, clothing and gear for hunting exotics, and stories regarding hunting exotic species, check out the only book available about exotic hunting in the U.S. – Hunting the Introduced Species in the United States.

Check out the photos to learn about some of the unheard of species.


Photo by Joe Riekers

The Addax is originally from the Sahara Desert. It was once abundant in North Africa, particularly Chad, Mauritania and Niger. Male Addax weigh between 200 and 300 pounds. They are thriving in Texas where there are more Addax than in their native homelands.

Afghan Urial

Wild Sheep Foundation

Afghan Urial are a species of wild sheep that originate from western Central Asia. Iran, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and India have stable populations. The Afghan Urial has been successfully introduced in the United States in hot, arid and rocky areas.


All About Exotics

Also known as Swamp Deer, “Barasingha” loosely means “12 -tined,” referring to large number of antler tines that stags have. Interestingly, stags typically have from 10-14 tines (5 to 7 on each side). The Barasingha is extinct in Pakistan and Bangladesh where they were originally recorded by explorers. There is a small population in Nepal. The Barasingha thrives in the Southwest U.S., including some free-ranging populations in South Texas. These are pretty big deer, as a male can weigh 500 pounds.

Beisa Oryx

Photo by Joe Riekers

The Beisa Oryx is sometimes referred to as the East African Oryx. It is a sub-species of the more common Gemsbok oryx. They weigh 300-400 pounds and both males and females have horns.

Besoar Ibex

Photo by Joe Riekers

Also known as the Bezoar Ibex, this large mountain goat is native to Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, Russia and Turkey. In the U.S. they have been introduced to the Florida Mountains of New Mexico.

Eld’s Deer


The Eld’s deer was first discovered by explorers in Manipur, India in 1839. The scientific name of Cervus Eldi was coined in 1844 in honor of Lt. Percy Eld, a British Officer. There are fewer than 3000 Eld’s Deer living in the wild, primarily in two sanctuaries, one in India and one in Burma. There are more Eld’s Deer in the United States now than in the native territories, with over 5000 in Texas alone.

Reeves Muntjac

Photo by Joe Riekers

Originally from China and Taiwan, the Reeve’s Muntjac has been introduced in Netherlands, France, Belgium, UK, Ireland and the United States. It is named after John Reeves who was the Assistant Inspector of Tea for the British East India Company in 1812. These little deer make a barking sound like a small dog. They have horns that can be seen along their snout under the skin before they protrude out the top of their head. They also have 2-inch “fangs” for canine teeth.

Dama Gazelle

Photo by Brandon Riekers

The Dama Gazelle is a species of gazelle originally from the Sahara Desert. Natural populations only remain in Chad, Mali and Niger. There are Dama Gazelle hunts offered in Texas.

Dorcas Gazelle


The Dorcas Gazelle is a small gazelle sub-species of African and Arabia. They only weigh around 50 pounds. Currently Israel, Sudan, Iraq and Egypt have stable populations. Cheetahs, leopards, wolves, lions, serval and caracal are all predators to Dorcas Gazelles. In the United States, the lack of these predators and the management of local predators, like mountain lions and coyotes, allow these gazelles to flourish on privately managed lands.

Goitered Gazelle


Also known as a Black-Tailed Gazelle, these animals come from Azerbaijan, parts of Iran, parts of Iraq, southwestern Pakistan and the Gobi Desert area. Goitered Gazelles have longer horns than other types of gazelles. They get their name because the males neck swells up during the mating season making it appear that there is a “goiter” in the neck. These animals are distributed throughout the southwest United States on private property.

Hog Deer


The Hog Deer, or Indian Hog Deer, is spread throughout the Indo-Gangetic Plains of Pakistan, northern India, Nepal, Bangladesh, the southwestern Yunnan Province of China, and all the way to western Thailand. Introduced populations also exist in Australia, the United States, Sri Lanka and parts of South America. This deer gets its name from the posture in which it walks, typically with its head head very low like a hog.


Photo by Joe Riekers

The markhor is an exotic wild goat that is found in northeastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The markhor is the national animal of Pakistan. Markhor hunting is available in Texas.

Pere David Deer

Pere David deer are extinct in the wild. They prefer semi-aquatic areas and marshland but they do well in Texas and the southwest where water is present. In 1866 a French Missionary working in China obtained the carcass of this deer and presented it to the Western world. This missionary was Armand David, thus the name of the deer. Adults weigh near 400 pounds. These deer are abundant on private property in the United States.

Exotic Sitatunga

Photo by Joe Riekers

Also known as a Marsh Buck, the Sitatunga is flourishing in Central and East Africa. They prefer swampy and marshy habitat but can thrive anywhere there is heavy cover and a constant water source. They typically weight around 250 pounds. Their coats are water resistant. When they emerge from water, their coat sheds off the water and they are dry almost instantly. These animals are commonly hunted in Africa and the United States.

West Caucasian Tur

This mountain dwelling goat-antelope is only found in the wild in the Caucasian Mountains. They tend to live at high elevations of 3,000-13,000 feet above sea level. Males live solitary lives except during breeding season. Females live in small herds. The wild population is approximately 6,000 animals. The West Caucasian Tur does well in the U.S. in the West Texas mountains, New Mexico and other small private areas with rocky terrain.

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