Travel

These places want you to kill their exotic animals

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Some species are invasive -- take humans, for instance. But while you can't just go all Hunger Games and start mowing down the people you dislike (but God it'd be great to off the worst people on an airplane), you sure can go all Ted Nugent and start shooting up animals for food, depending on the animal and location. In fact, some places encourage it!

To show you where to unload your magazine, or simply cast your line, we've rounded up invasive animals and the places you can visit to hunt them. These are more exotic creatures, so you won't find deer here; but you will find plenty of delicious creatures that can fill up your dinner plate.

Kill: Nutria
Where: Louisiana

Nutria — aka Coypu, aka river rat — is a kind of beaver-sized water rat with weird orange teeth. Seriously, look at that thing. It probably tastes like chicken fried in motor oil.

Whereas killing rodents in your crusty apartment might cost you $5 a pop, in Louisiana you can play whack-a-mole and receive $5 a pop, thanks to the Coastwide Nutria Control Program. Just register to participate (you’ll need a trapping license), and deliver nutria tails to one of the many collection centers that dot coastal Louisiana. It's basically like returning bottles to Maine, but instead of collecting glass bottles, you kill rats. Win-win.

Click here for more info… and tasty recipes.

Kill: Lionfish
Where: Florida, the Bahamas, Belize

Want to make an easy $3,500? Stalk the venomous lionfish, a pesky Caribbean predator, at one of the many Lionfish Derbies sponsored by REEF, which gives out first-, second-, and third-place prizes for the most, the biggest, and the smallest lionfish.

Better yet, spear that ostentatious sucker in the face -- no, really, that's how you kill it without getting stung. The day-long competitions, in which teams collect the funky-looking fish by netting or spearing while scuba diving, free diving, or snorkeling, begins at sunrise, and ends at 5pm when you deliver your catch to scoring stations.

Afterwards, demonstrations on proper filleting and dissection show you how to prepare a lionfish. And of course lionfish tastings follow, because nothing screams manliness like spearing and grilling your own dinner.

Kill: Possums

Where: New Zealand

Kauri Cliffs, said to be one of the world’s most exclusive resorts, offers loads of activities, from beachside barbecues, to surfing lessons, to... nighttime possum hunting. Apparently, possums are a major pest in New Zealand, as they massacre native birds. Just look at those sharp teeth and creepy claws -- you can basically see those beady little eyes honing in on some beautiful bird and shredding it to bits.

But now the shredding's your job, and you'll be eliminating possum once the resort sends you on your way with a .22, a 12-gauge shotgun, and a guide.

Kill: Crown-of-thorns starfish
Where: Palau, The Philippines

Turn your exotic vacation into a good deed by killing the coral-destroying crown-of-thorns starfish -- yeah, it looks pretty, but it's basically killing much prettier coral and ruining everything, kinda like that ex-cheerleader you dated freshman year who turned out to be a starfish of a different kind.

The World Wide Fund for Nature offers a 14-day snorkeling trip in Palau, Micronesia and, while not explicitly meant for the stalking of said starfish, the opportunities for doing so -- with basically a sharpened broomstick that you thrust through the spiky star -- are plenty.

Kill: Wild hogs
Where:
Texas

And no, we don't mean killing John Travolta and Tim Allen. Although...

Hogs are wreaking havoc across the state, so Texas is asking you to retaliate. Apparently, wild hogs are among the most destructive invasive species in the U.S. If you've seen the movie, you'll agree.

Basically, the state allows hunters to go HAM on the swine without pesky rules – shoot 'em from helicopters for all they care, with bows, rifles, whatever, go hog wild, literally. You’ll still need a license, though, since hogs aren't considered game. But lots of ranches allow you to hunt their hogs year-round, for about $1 per pound of murdered meat -- which definitely beats the prices and precision of Oregon Trail's single-pixel shotgun hunting.

Kill: Asian carp
Where: Chicago, IL

In Chicago, hunt like a truly modern man: by making reservations.

Asian carp -- which is weirdly aggressive and often flings its 100lb self at people and boats -- is spreading across the Great Lakes like wildfire… or whatever the wet equivalent of wildfire is. A babbling brook? Waterworld? No? 

Regardless, this pest of a fish has spread so aggressively that it endangers other species in Lake Michigan. Chefs have turned their chef hats into thinking caps, and are trying to incorporate carp into their menus. But so far, people aren't biting.

 Sophie-Claire Hoeller is Thrillist's über-efficient German associate travel editor. She would never kill an animal except in self defense, and even then she’d be super sad about it. Follow her cat tweets @Sohostyle