When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead at a West Texas ranch on Feb. 13, he was on a getaway with high-ranking members of an elite hunting fraternity whose origins date back to 1695.
Even after the high-profile judge's death, the names of the 35 other guests at the remote Cibolo Creek Ranch that weekend – some of them confirmed members of a secretive Austrian society called the International Order of St. Hubertus, according to a review of public records conducted by The Washington Post – remain largely unknown.
Members of the worldwide, male-only organization had gathered at the ranch at least once before, The Post reports. The hunters, some of whom hold titles like Grand Master, Prior and Knight Grand Officer, wear dark-green robes inscribed with a large cross and the motto "Deum Diligite Animalia Diligentes," or "Honoring God by honoring His creatures," according to the group's website. The Order, named after Hubert, the patron saint of hunters and fishermen, was founded in 1695 in modern-day Czech Republic. It is a "true knightly order in the historical tradition," according to its website.
It's unclear what Scalia's connection was to the group, but Cibolo Creek Ranch owner John Poindexter, and C. Allen Foster, a prominent Washington lawyer who flew to the ranch with Scalia on a private plane, where both leaders in the society.
Poindexter told The Washington Post in an email that he is not aware of any association between Scalia and 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," he wrote.
A Scalia family attorney did not respond to The Post's requests for comments.
Poindexter told reporters after Scalia's death that he met the justice at a "sports group" gathering in Washington, D.C. The U.S. branch of the Order of St. Hubertus, founded in 1966 at the Bohemian Club in San Francisco, now lists its headquarters as a suite on M Street NW in D.C. – but the address is only a mailbox in a UPS store.
The ranch owner told The Post that Scalia traveled to Houston with his friend, the lawyer Foster, and U.S. marshals. Foster and Scalia then broke off from the marshals and chartered a plane to the ranch.
According to the Presidio County Sheriff’s Office incident report obtained by The Post, Poindexter told the sheriff that he and Scalia "had supper and talked for a while" on the eve of his death, before the judge "said that he was tired and was going to his room for the night." When Scalia wasn't at breakfast the following morning, Poindexter said he went looking for the justice and found him dead in his bed.
Law enforcement officials told The Post they didn't know of the International Order of St. Hubertus or its connection to Poindexter or any of the guests at the ranch the weekend Scalia died.