Significance to humans

All species provided a valuable source of meat, hides, and wool to indigenous peoples. The frequent depiction of ibex and other species in rock drawings attests to their importance to early hunters. In addition to meat, they utilized skins and wool for rugs and clothing, sinew, bones, and horn. Virtually all the body parts of Alpine ibex were greatly valued for medicinal use, and over-exploitation drove the animal to the edge of extinction by the middle of the nineteenth century. Blood and many other body parts of serow and goral are widely used for medicinal purposes in Southeast Asia.

Most species of Caprinae have been hunted for trophies as well as meat, and the large and showy horns of wild Capra and Ovis species being especially prized. Commercial sport hunting continues to be popular and managed sport hunting programs in Mongolia and other Central Asian countries have provided a valuable source of income. The larger horns of wild sheep and goats are used for decoration and a variety of other purposes. In southern Arabia, horns of Nubian ibex are placed on the corners of houses to ward off evil spirits. In the northwest Himalaya, large numbers of horns from both wild

A pygmy goat ewe with lambs in Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Animals Animals ©Ralph Reinhold. Reproduced by permission.)

and domestic species are placed on village altars and on cairns on top of passes as votive offerings.

Without doubt, the greatest significance of Caprinae for humans lies in their role as the origin of domestic sheep and goats. Wild goats were first domesticated about 2,700 years ago in the Middle East, serving ever since as a valuable source of meat, milk, and leather. Domestic sheep and goats now exist in hundreds of varieties and are found on all continents, except Antarctica. They number in the millions and far exceed populations of all wild Caprinae. They provide a source of meat, milk, wool, and hides for people throughout the world and, especially in the case of sheep, are farmed at commercial levels and their products exported. On the negative side, overgrazing by domestic sheep and goats has been widely blamed for degradation of extensive areas of the Mediterranean region and the Middle East.

1. Mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus); 2. Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia); S. Himalayan goral (Naemorhedus goral); 4. Northern chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra); 5. Serow (Capricornis sumatraensis); 6. Blue sheep (Pseudois nayaur). (Illustration by Emily Damstra)

Emily Capra

1. Takin (Budorcas taxicolor); 2. Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica); 3. Arabian tahr (Hemitragus jayakari); 4. Musk ox (Ovibos moschatus); 5. Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis). (Illustration by Emily Damstra)

Hunting Mastery Selected Tips

Hunting Mastery Selected Tips

Deer hunting is an interesting thing that reminds you of those golden old ages of 19th centuries, where a handsome hunk well equipped with all hunting material rides on horse searching for his target animal either for the purpose of displaying his masculine powers or for enticing and wooing his lady love.

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