Nilgai
 
   

Nilgai Antelope also known as Blue Bulls were first introduced to Texas in 1930 and again in 1941 onto the Norias Division of The King Ranch. From this relatively small stocking the Nilgai have flourished and now occupy most ranches along the Gulf Coast from Baffin Bay to Brownsville. There are now estimated to be more than 150,000 Free Roaming Nilgai on South Texas ranch lands.

Nilgai are very challenging to hunt. Their keen eyesight and  uncanny sense of approaching danger, make them very difficult to approach. Nilgai are native to India and Pakistan and are the second  largest member of the antelope family. Mature bulls can weigh 400 to 600 lbs and should not be taken lightly. They have a thick elastic hide that covers there neck and chest area that’s up to one inch thick which offers them protection in severe breeding battles. This thick hide also covers up entrance and exit wounds leaving little or no blood for a blood trail which makes tracking very difficult. Nilgai are notorious for taking multiple shots and are extremely difficult to take down. An average mature bull will have 8 inch horns or better with bases approaching the length.  Horns that measure 8.5 -11 inches long are exceptional. Nilgai have a average live span of 20 years in the wild, this may be one reason they are so smart.

The Nilgai hunting method that yields the most success is to hunt Safari Style from high racked trucks driving slowly into the wind. Once a potential Bull  that is unaware of of your presence is spotted, the hunt is on foot the rest of the way. Most stalks are to a mile, some longer, and it  may take you up to an hour to get into a shooting position. Most shots will be in the standing position off of shooting sticks at 100-200 yards. There is no secret in putting these tough animals on the ground one accurate shot at close range is all it takes, but you better quickly have another round ready if he looks like he's going to get up.  Having a backup shooter is always advisable.

Hunting success greatly increases when the hunter is familiar with his or her rifle. Practice off of adjustable tripod shooting sticks. Most shots will be from a standing position due to the tall grass and brush but, there are times a knelling shot will present itself so practice both positions. Remember there are no shooting benches out here so don’t practice on one. We suggest a minimum caliber of a .300 magnum and larger is better. A .338 Win Magnum or .375 H&H Magnum is not too much gun. Well built bullets are also necessary and the bigger the better. Nilgai have a lot of mass and it takes a heavy well constructed bullet to get deep penetration.

Nilgai meat is “tender and tasty”. They have a low fat content – less than 3% versus 12% for beef, and have 1/3 the fat of chicken. With a successful Nilgai hunt you get not only a trophy, but a freezer full of delicious and healthy meat.


 
   
 
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