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Hunting For Preservation

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Before many have gotten out of bed, the daily routines begin at the Double L Ranch. For owner Charles Lassman, that means feeding more than 130 animals on his 300 acre property.

At first glance, the ranch would appear no different than its neighboring counterparts.

However, travel inside and you come across some exotic species. Species that would make you think you've come across the plains of Africa or Asia.

Zebras, red deer, the endangered scimitar horned oryx and more, are all available to bow hunters.

They range in cost from $1,000 for some sheep and goat species to $4,000 dollars for the African Waterbuck.

Lassman and other ranchers claim the demand for hunting is one of the best methods of species preservation.

"If we kill them all out we won't have anything to hunt so it makes sense that landowners increase the numbers so we always have a species to hunt," he says.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, since being introduced to the Texas Hill Country in 1979, the population of the scimitar horned oryx has grown from just 32 to 11,000 and the number of addax have grown from just 2 in 1971 to more than 5,000 today.

Kate Dylewsky of Born Free USA says this is a misconception of what conservation is.

"If our goal is to have a population of say zebras that only exist in captivity, perhaps they've gone extinct in the wild... then we have a really limited view of conservation," she says.

But Lassman says its these organizations that actually have a negative impact on the animals

He says, "activists think that no one should ever kill an animal but yet they'll wear some boots that are made out of leather or wear a fur coat to the march down there somewhere."

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