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Ever wondered what it is like to hunt nilgai antelope? Do you want to learn how to hunt nilgai antelope? Would you like the challenge of hunting the world’s second bigest antelope in the antelope family?
Nilgai antelope hunting is challenging as they have keen eyesight, a good sense of hearing, a good sense of smell, and skittish behavior. In this article, we share information to help you be successful when hunting this exotic antelope.
Table of Contents
How To Hunt Nilgai Antelope
History of Nilgai Antelope
Nilgai antelope, also called “Blue Bull”, is native to the Indian Subcontinent. It is against the law to hunt nilgai antelope in India. It was introduced into Texas on the King Ranch in the 1920s as a gift to Caesar Kleberg.
They are found on many private ranches in lower South Texas. Nilgai bull grows to more than 600 pounds with horns that can grow to about 12 inches in length. The cows can grow to about 450 pounds. The population of nilgai antelopes in Texas is more than 50,000.
Best Time To Hunt Nilgai Antelope
This exotic and wary animal can be hunted all year round. However, it is often hunted in Texas from December to March. They are big and rugged animals that will test your hunting skills. The mature males become dark in color with a black and blue tone.
With very good eyesight and hearing, you will have experience hunting down these antelopes. They don’t fare well in colder climates and that may be one of the reasons why they are usually found in the valley region of South Texas. Nilgai antelopes breed during the winter months which makes sense for most of the hunting to happen during this period.
Hiring An Outfitter
If you don’t have much experience with nilgai antelope hunting, you may want to hire an outfitter. They have experience hunting this exotic animal and will improve your chances of a successful hunt. Moreover, outfitters have access to many private ranches where nilgai antelopes reside in South Texas.
Moreover, they are aware of the laws and if you are a non-resident, they can be a good resource on nilgai hunts. They also know the best hunting methods and weapons that are used when nilgai hunting.
Some outfitters can also recommend processing services to process your game meat and ship it to your home. They can also ship the horns to you after the processing of the meat.
Nilgai Antelope Diet
Nilgai antelopes feed on grass and herbs. With their height and elongated necks, they can easily eat from trees. These antelopes are often found in areas with short bushes, trees, and grassy plains.
Nilgai antelope hunting is usually done with the spot and stalk method around feeding and watering areas. They are usually active during the day and hunters usually will scout the area for nilgai antelope and when they spot them, that will begin the stalking until they are in a position for a good shot.
Nilgai antelope is often found in open landscapes with low bushes or few trees. This makes it ideal for nilgai hunting to use this hunting method. Implementing this method during the rut is a good time to hunt them as they are less skittish since they are after the cows.
Additionally, some hunters also use the still hunting method for nilgai hunts. They use a ground blind or position themselves in a tree and wait for nilgai antelopes to come close to them.
With the still hunting method, they have scouted the area and are aware that the nilgai bulls are often found there. Bow hunting and African safari type hunting are other hunting methods that are used when hunting nilgai antelope bulls.
Another tactic used by hunters when still hunting them is to set up over their dung piles as they like to relieve themselves on the same fecal pile. If you find a nilgai antelope fecal pile while nilgai hunting, you can position yourself over it and patiently wait for them to come to relieve themselves.
Mature bulls are very careful and are not easily attracted to bait. They have a very tough skin layer which makes it very difficult to take them down with a single shot unless it is a spine shot. The heart/lung shot is also used to take it down.
It is not uncommon for a wounded nilgai bull making a run to not exhibit any blood on the ground. The tough hide covers any entry wounds.
Nilgai antelopes can quickly cover a lot of ground and when they are pursued, it quickly becomes a chase across the landscape between mottes of oak, mesquite, and the south Texas brush.
A minimum caliber of .300 mag is required on nilgai hunts and most guides will have a weapon ready for a follow-up shot to drop the antelope after the first shot. The .375 mag is the common choice for many when hunting them.
If you are a resident of Texas, you will only need a regular hunting license as no special permits are required for hunting in Texas. However, if you are a non-resident, you will need a special 5-day non-resident hunting license that can be purchased over the counter for less than $100.00. There is no drawing or special lottery involved for Texas nilgai antelope hunts.
Many hunters like the challenge of hunting nilgai antelope as it is wary, and have good eyesight and a sense of hearing. Some hunters also like the hunting rewards of pointed horns as hunting trophies.
Additionally, they are fond of nilgai antelope hunts because it is known that its lean meat is one of the tastiest game meats you can get. You will be rewarded with healthy, low-fat, free-range protein nilgai meat. It has a mild flavor with a texture similar to veal.
Hunting sporty game animals is a genuine hunting experience for the hunter who likes the challenge of hunting difficult game animals.
How To Hunt Nilgai in Texas
Texas nilgai antelope hunting is usually done in the Rio Grande Valley below Kingsville, Texas. They are found on private ranches in the South of Texas.
Additionally, you can also hunt them on public lands such as the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge during the fall and winter hunts. This hunt is administered through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and is offered through a drawing system.
The Bottom Line
Hunting nilgai antelopes is challenging and rewarding for the hunter who has it on his bucket list. They are very skittish and have keen eyesight, a sense of smell, and hearing. Nilgai bulls are the second biggest antelope of the antelope family and have a tough hide that makes it difficult to drop them with one shot unless it is a spine shot or a heart/lung shot.
Spot and stalk, still hunting, safari-style hunting, and bow hunting are some of the hunting methods that are used when hunting nilgai antelopes. They were first introduced in south Texas on the King Ranch in the 1920s.
In this article, we shared information about hunting nilgai antelopes to help you successfully hunt this large and rugged exotic game animal. You can also read about the best pronghorn antelope hunting tips how to hunt kudu in Texas, how to hunt oryx in New Mexico, and the best caribou hunting tips.