Bill Richey, co-owner of J & R Outfitters, gives a tour of his hunting grounds in Indiantown.
INDIANTOWN - Two exotic red deer stags on the hunting grounds of J & R Outfitters in Indiantown. The fair chase exotic game hunting operation is on nearly 3,000-acres, most of which is part of the federal Wetlands Reserve Program. Hunting on the grounds provides owners Bill Richey and Joe O'Bannon a means to pay for everything needed to maintain and preserve the lush, natural wetlands. Hunters, who come from all over the world, pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars to hunt exotic animals such as Nilgai antelope, Barasingha, axis deer, water buffalo, wild boar, Père David's deer and much more.
INDIANTOWN - Owning a home where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play costs a lot of money, said Bill Richey, a partner in J&R Outfitters, a 2,800-acre hunting lodge and preserve.
"The most important part of the hunting is paying for all the good work we do," Richey
"We provide, we think, one of the best wildlife habitats around.
Our animals are very healthy.
There's no way to support this kind of property unless you have oil and gas, or you have a hunting camp operation."
Raising cattle or crops would not cover the costs of maintaining the 4-square-mile tract of native habitat that varies from Everglades-like wetlands to dense pine forests, Richey
, a longtime hunter and nature enthusiast, flatly rejects the contention that J&R Outfitters runs canned hunts.
"We are licensed as an exotic hunting operation by the State of Florida," Richey
has gone to great efforts to keep the habitat pristine and manage the animal herds, Richey
And hunting is a form of "ecotourism" that makes the land sustainable financially.
"I'm very proud of what we do out there," Richey
"The modern science of wildlife management says you're going to have to cull these herds.
It's a whole lot better to cull these herds in a way that makes economic sense.
By that I mean in a way that allows animal hunters to pay for the expenses of the preservation of the land."
WHO IS BILL RICHEY?