Members of the worldwide, male-only society wear dark-green robes emblazoned with a large cross and the motto “Deum Diligite Animalia Diligentes,” which means “Honoring God by honoring His creatures.”
When Justice Antonin Scalia died at a West Texas ranch, he was among high-ranking members of an exclusive fraternity for hunters called the International Order of St. Hubertus, an Austrian society that dates to the 1600s.
After Scalia’s death Feb. 13, the names of the 35 other guests staying at the remote resort, along with details about Scalia’s connection to the hunters, have remained largely unknown. A review of public records shows that some of the men who were with Scalia at the ranch are connected through the International Order of St. Hubertus, whose members gathered at least once before at the same ranch for a celebratory weekend.
Members of the worldwide, male-only society wear dark-green robes emblazoned with a large cross and the motto “Deum Diligite Animalia Diligentes,” which means “Honoring God by honoring His creatures,” according to the group’s website. Some hold titles, such as Grand Master, Prior and Knight Grand Officer. The Order’s name is in honor of Hubert, the patron saint of hunters and fishermen.
Cibolo Creek Ranch owner John Poindexter and C. Allen Foster, a prominent Washington attorney who traveled to the ranch with Scalia by private plane, hold leadership positions within the Order. It is unclear what, if any, official association Scalia had with the group.
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“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,” wrote Poindexter in an email. “I am aware of no connection between that organization and Justice Scalia.”
A lawyer for the Scalia family did not respond to requests for comment.
Two other private planes that landed at the ranch for the weekend are linked to two men who have held leadership positions with the Texas chapter of the Order, according to a review of state business filings and flight records from the airport.
After Scalia’s death, Poindexter said he had met Scalia at a “sports group” gathering in Washington. The U.S. chapter of the International Order of St. Hubertus lists a District of Columbia suite on M Street NW as its headquarters, although the address is only a mailbox in a UPS store.
The International Order of St. Hubertus, according to its website, is a “true knightly order in the historical tradition.” In 1695, Count Franz Anton von Sporck founded the society in Bohemia, which is in modern-day Czech Republic.
The group’s Grand Master is “His Imperial Highness Istvan von Habsburg-Lothringen, Archduke of Austria,” according to the Order’s website. The next gathering for “Ordensbrothers” and guests is an “investiture” in Charleston, S.C., on March 10.
The society’s U.S. chapter launched in 1966 at the famous Bohemian Club in San Francisco, which is associated with the all-male Bohemian Grove, one of the most notorious secret societies in the country.
In 2010, Poindexter hosted a group of 53 members of the Houston chapter of the International Order of St. Hubertus at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, according to a Houston society publication. A number of members from Mexico were also part of the ranch festivities that included “three days of organized shoots and ‘gala’ lunches and dinners.”
For the hunting weekend this month, Poindexter told The Washington Post that Scalia traveled to Houston with his friend and U.S. Marshals, who provide security for Supreme Court justices. The Post obtained a Presidio County Sheriff’s report that named Allen Foster as Scalia’s close friend on the trip.
Sheriff Danny Dominguez confirmed that a photograph of Washington attorney C. Allen Foster is the same man he interviewed at the ranch the day of Scalia’s death.
From Houston, Scalia and Foster chartered a plane without the marshals to the Cibolo Creek Ranch airstrip. In a statement after Scalia died, the U.S. Marshals Service said Scalia had declined a security detail while at the ranch.
The friend, Louisiana-born Foster, is an attorney with the Washington firm Whiteford, Taylor & Preston. He is also known for his passion for hunting and is a former spokesman for the Safari Club hunting group.