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Starting an Exotic Ranch #7684171 12/09/19 03:42 PM
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This is my first thread so I'm not sure exactly how this works. But I'm going to college this fall for a wildlife management and conservation degree. I want to use this degree to turn the old family cattle ranch into a 5000 acre exotic game ranch in Southeast Kansas. I know, I know, this is a Texas forum not a Kansas forum, but this is a way better built site than anything I've found for my state. And since there's only one or two exotic ranches in Kansas, I feel like this is the right place to go. Does anybody have any advice as to how to go about this? Fencing, good starting species, should I let the exotics mingle with native fauna (ex: letting whitetail deer stay and put fallow deer in the same field.)? Any advise or tips would be greatly appreciated.


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Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: Nickh88] #7684230 12/09/19 04:58 PM
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I've been on a few exotic ranches in Texas, New Zealand, Namibia and South Africa. The number one thing that I've taken from the owners of those places is fencing. Whatever you do, make sure to do it the very best you possibly can because you will never have enough time to keep fixing it and do everything else that needs to be done every day. On my small piece of land, I'm removing every tree where I will build my fence that has any chance of damaging the fence. Trees will always try to destroy a fence, and who can inspect a fence when there is a major storm happening? My neighbor has a couple hundred acres and after one storm, he had trees down and his fence completely destroyed in half a dozen places, with three times that many damaged or supporting branches. He didn't clear anything before putting up his fence and it's a nightmare trying to do it now.

Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: EddieWalker] #7684267 12/09/19 05:29 PM
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Should I use 8 or 6 ft fencing?


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Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: EddieWalker] #7684319 12/09/19 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by EddieWalker
I've been on a few exotic ranches in Texas, New Zealand, Namibia and South Africa. The number one thing that I've taken from the owners of those places is fencing. Whatever you do, make sure to do it the very best you possibly can because you will never have enough time to keep fixing it and do everything else that needs to be done every day. On my small piece of land, I'm removing every tree where I will build my fence that has any chance of damaging the fence. Trees will always try to destroy a fence, and who can inspect a fence when there is a major storm happening? My neighbor has a couple hundred acres and after one storm, he had trees down and his fence completely destroyed in half a dozen places, with three times that many damaged or supporting branches. He didn't clear anything before putting up his fence and it's a nightmare trying to do it now.

great advice, id sat at least 8'


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Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: Nickh88] #7684354 12/09/19 06:40 PM
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hey man - I have raised exotics and am heavily involved in the hunting industry. Absolutely use 8' fence. One of my best friends can help you with both the fencing and stocking your animals if you are interested. He's a great guy and will not do you wrong.


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Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: Nickh88] #7684549 12/09/19 10:23 PM
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How's the predator situation at the family ranch?

Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: kdkane1971] #7685029 12/10/19 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by kdkane1971
How's the predator situation at the family ranch?

The only predators would be coyotes and maybe hawks if we're talking about fawns.


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Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: Nickh88] #7685039 12/10/19 02:03 PM
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First, welcome! The only advice I would offer besides agreeing on the 8th fence would be to do the research on which exotics can tolerate the Kansas climate. I’m sure this is something you’d do beforehand anyway and I’m sure there are plenty of species to choose from, but hadn’t seen anyone mention it.

Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: Txhunter65] #7685083 12/10/19 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Txhunter65
First, welcome! The only advice I would offer besides agreeing on the 8th fence would be to do the research on which exotics can tolerate the Kansas climate. I’m sure this is something you’d do beforehand anyway and I’m sure there are plenty of species to choose from, but hadn’t seen anyone mention it.

Thank you! There is a game ranch somewhat close to me and they have Fallow deer, Red deer, Elk, Sika deer, and then all sorts of rams. Blackbuck are something I want to look into for sure.


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Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: Nickh88] #7685240 12/10/19 04:35 PM
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I'd start by understanding the costs of high fencing 5000 acres to see if it is something you can do to begin with.


Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: Rustler] #7685293 12/10/19 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Rustler
I'd start by understanding the costs of high fencing 5000 acres to see if it is something you can do to begin with.


5000 acres is definitely the long term goal. I plan on fencing in an 80 acre pasture in the beginning (I know, still expensive) and use that to get started


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Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: Nickh88] #7685306 12/10/19 05:47 PM
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on only 80 acres your going to have a heck of a feed bill unless you plan on only having less than 15 animals. definately put down predator wire buried on outside of fence. Blackbuck don't like cold weather. Bigger the animal more it eats!

Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: doggit] #7685322 12/10/19 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by doggit
on only 80 acres your going to have a heck of a feed bill unless you plan on only having less than 15 animals. definately put down predator wire buried on outside of fence. Blackbuck don't like cold weather. Bigger the animal more it eats!

I'm assuming the feed bill will be close to the cost of the cattle we run now. Is there any certain thing to feed different species or is there some kind of general feed?


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Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: Nickh88] #7685343 12/10/19 06:22 PM
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Guessing the cattle are eating on 5k acres. In 80 acres once they eat all the browse and grass down to dirt then all they will have to eat is feed. That's why I said if you have only a few animals on 80 ac you can supplement feed. You can do a basic pellet feed will cost about 8-10 a bag around here don't know in Kansas. But it will be low in protein.

Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: Nickh88] #7685405 12/10/19 07:10 PM
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I disagree with the gentleman above, I'd want about 12 - 15 acres per au.
Of course not knowing anything about the property that could go up or down depending on too many factors to list.
So on 80 acres 5 to 6 animals.

Just me, to start an exotic ranch with 5000 acres available I'd want to be able to fence at least 1/5 ~ 20% and still be able to afford 10 - 15 animals after fencing costs, they'd have enough room & native browse ( hopefully) to eat & reproduce. Grow your investment in animals with as little input as possible.

Feeding or supplemental feeding wouldn't be as big of a concern, depending on what grew naturally, starting with more acres per animal.

Like I said, I'd start by getting a couple local estimates on quality 8' game fence per foot, yard or mile as a starting point.
Fencing 80 acres is going to be around 1.4 miles of about a 11 to 12 mile job.

Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: doggit] #7685478 12/10/19 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by doggit
Guessing the cattle are eating on 5k acres. In 80 acres once they eat all the browse and grass down to dirt then all they will have to eat is feed. That's why I said if you have only a few animals on 80 ac you can supplement feed. You can do a basic pellet feed will cost about 8-10 a bag around here don't know in Kansas. But it will be low in protein.

Usually we can run 20 head of steers from march to august and then supply mineral for extra growth. The bluestem is great for grazing and they haven't taken the pasture down to dirt yet. From what I've read other threads I should give the exotics plenty of room to run so if they do get spooked then they don't go through the fence.


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Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: Nickh88] #7685498 12/10/19 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Nickh88
Originally Posted by doggit
Guessing the cattle are eating on 5k acres. In 80 acres once they eat all the browse and grass down to dirt then all they will have to eat is feed. That's why I said if you have only a few animals on 80 ac you can supplement feed. You can do a basic pellet feed will cost about 8-10 a bag around here don't know in Kansas. But it will be low in protein.

Usually we can run 20 head of steers from march to august and then supply mineral for extra growth. The bluestem is great for grazing and they haven't taken the pasture down to dirt yet. From what I've read other threads I should give the exotics plenty of room to run so if they do get spooked then they don't go through the fence.


Or start killing each other.

Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: krmitchell] #7685502 12/10/19 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by krmitchell
Originally Posted by Nickh88
Originally Posted by doggit
Guessing the cattle are eating on 5k acres. In 80 acres once they eat all the browse and grass down to dirt then all they will have to eat is feed. That's why I said if you have only a few animals on 80 ac you can supplement feed. You can do a basic pellet feed will cost about 8-10 a bag around here don't know in Kansas. But it will be low in protein.

Usually we can run 20 head of steers from march to august and then supply mineral for extra growth. The bluestem is great for grazing and they haven't taken the pasture down to dirt yet. From what I've read other threads I should give the exotics plenty of room to run so if they do get spooked then they don't go through the fence.


Or start killing each other.

That's a good point. Should I stick to 1 or 2 species and wait until I get more fenced in to diversify?


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Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: Nickh88] #7685521 12/10/19 09:01 PM
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Only issue with high fencing small parcels is the cost per acre...basically the more acres you fence in the cheaper the fence is per acre enclosed. Example:
80 acres square, 7467' of perimeter, at $20,000 per mile that's $28,272. 320 acres...if its square 14,934' of perimeter fence or if its a true half section its 15,840' of perimeter fence so $56,568 or $60,000 respectively. But the moral is about twice the price gets you 4 times the acres fenced. If you were to go up to a section about 2.8 times the cost of an 80 acre fence gets you 8 times the acreage enclosed.

Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: Nickh88] #7685794 12/11/19 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Nickh88
Originally Posted by krmitchell
Originally Posted by Nickh88
Originally Posted by doggit
Guessing the cattle are eating on 5k acres. In 80 acres once they eat all the browse and grass down to dirt then all they will have to eat is feed. That's why I said if you have only a few animals on 80 ac you can supplement feed. You can do a basic pellet feed will cost about 8-10 a bag around here don't know in Kansas. But it will be low in protein.

Usually we can run 20 head of steers from march to august and then supply mineral for extra growth. The bluestem is great for grazing and they haven't taken the pasture down to dirt yet. From what I've read other threads I should give the exotics plenty of room to run so if they do get spooked then they don't go through the fence.


Or start killing each other.

That's a good point. Should I stick to 1 or 2 species and wait until I get more fenced in to diversify?


If you are doing 80 acres why not do 20 acre pens inside that and keep species and/or sex separate. Also could be used down the line for breeding pens, catch pens etc. Easier to keep an eye on breeding and if you have to catch something or dart it, it should be easier. I’m far from an expert on this but have done research on high fencing a small area and have been given the above suggestions.

Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: Nickh88] #7685795 12/11/19 01:40 AM
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You might want to read Exotics on the Range and The Exotic Animal Field Guide both are by Dr Elisabeth Cary Mungall


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Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: Nickh88] #7687677 12/13/19 01:44 PM
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It's interesting there's only 2 exotic game ranches in Kansas. Did they get some special exemption, or is the market just significantly less? Read into local and state laws about what is allowed and what documentation is necessary.

People's taste varies, but most HF ranches here seem to be carrying axis and blackbucks now as they're relatively cheap and make great mounts. Certain animals will fare better than others depending which part of the state you're in and the climate.

Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: TKandMike] #7687741 12/13/19 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by TKandMike
It's interesting there's only 2 exotic game ranches in Kansas. Did they get some special exemption, or is the market just significantly less? Read into local and state laws about what is allowed and what documentation is necessary.

People's taste varies, but most HF ranches here seem to be carrying axis and blackbucks now as they're relatively cheap and make great mounts. Certain animals will fare better than others depending which part of the state you're in and the climate.

At least that's all I've been able to find. There's one in Dodge City and one by Cherryvalle. The prices are a lot cheaper than Texas ranches from what I've seen (they charge a set price of $600 for rams and goats) so I assume the market is smaller. In southeast Kansas, its all plains and woodlands, and the temperature ranges from 5 degrees in the winter to sometimes the high 90's in the summer. Somebody already said that blackbuck don't like the cold which is sad, but I think axis can do better. I'm gonna have to look into that more.


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Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: Nickh88] #7687806 12/13/19 03:27 PM
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You need to do some reading Axis are tropical deer and won't do well in Kansas! There are many more exotic ranches in Missouri than Kansas take a look at what they offer. Also note that some ranches will bring in and release animals to be hunted without expecting them to overwinter.


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Re: Starting an Exotic Ranch [Re: Nickh88] #7687834 12/13/19 03:42 PM
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Please excuse me while I think out loud smile You won't be able to really hunt 80 acres so if you go that route you'll be merely raising exotics- but to what end? Resale market? Without having a huntable number of acres under high fence I don't see the end game to your initial investment. And "family land" has a way of turning nasty with ownership rights etc down the road. That would have to be in writing somewhere. Kansas is a highly sought after whitetail area- what is the deal with your current WT situation? Are you looking to be in the hunting business? What can't you make a run with the native WT ?

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