When Antonin Scalia was found dead 11 days ago at Cibolo Creek Ranch in a remote area of West Texas, officials said then that Scalia was there at the invitation of the ranch’s owner, John Poindexter.
Most of his companions, numbering a dozen or so, were not publicly identified.
Would you believe us that it was because they are members of a centuries-old, all-male, secret society of elite hunters?
It emerged Wednesday that among those people, however, were, in fact, members of a centuries-old all-male secret society of elite hunters, known as the International Order of St. Hubertus, the Washington Post reported. Scalia himself does not appear to have been a member, though the Post reported that Poindexter and C. Allan Foster, a prominent lawyer, held leadership positions in the group. Foster had traveled by private plane to the ranch with Scalia.
Scalia spent the night of February 12th with Foster, Poindexter and others at the ranch, eating dinner with Poindexter before retiring to bed and later dying in his sleep. It’s unclear what ties Scalia had to the order, though Poindexter said that he had “no connection” to the group.
“There is nothing I can add to your observation that among my many guests at Cibolo Creek Ranch over the years some members of the International Order of St. Hubertus have been numbered,” Poindexter tells the Washington Post. “I am aware of no connection between that organization and Justice Scalia.”
The ranch, known for its remoteness and discretion, would be appear to be a good fit for the secretive order, which was founded in 1695 by Count Franz Anton von Sporck in the Kingdom of Bohemia, or what is now the Czech Republic, according to its website, which also outlines a colorful history for the all-male group.
The order was banned by Hitler in Germany after refusing to accept Nazis as members, their website says, also claiming that members of the order hunted food for rural populations in Austria during World War II, “avoiding not only famine but helping to save the country to falling behind the Iron Curtain.”
The order appears to touch on many of Scalia’s interests, which included not just hunting but also opera.
“Count von Sporck was also a prominent patron of music, having commissioned numerous Vivaldi operas and the four Bach minor Masses for performance at his private Opera House in Prague,” the order’s website says.
The order is named for St. Hubertus, the patron saint of hunters, as well opticians, mathematicians, and metalworkers. Its motto is “Deum Diligite Animalia Diligentes,” which translates to “Honoring God by honoring His creatures.”
The United States chapter of the order was established in 1966 at San Francisco’s Bohemian Club, which hosts Bohemian Grove, one of the most famous secret societies in the world.
The ranch, which has also hosted other politicians and public figures over the years, including Mick Jagger, has hosted the group before.
In 2010, CultureMap Houston reported, the ranch hosted 53 members for a hunting expedition.
“Poindexter reports that some of the players went so far as to dress in traditional European shooting attire for the boxed bird shoot competition and for the driven pheasant and chukar shoot, highlight of the sporting events,” CultureMap Houston said.