An exotic hunting adventure awaits you at 303 Ranch Outfitters with our Texas Nilgai Hunting trips. We offer you over 2,000 acres of terrain. Home to a huge number of whitetail deer, Javelina and Rio Grande turkeys, and, of course, Nilgai antelope.
Nilgai hunting may be one of the most exciting adventures you can embark upon. They have a reputation for being extremely resilient and tough to put down. Have thick hides and leave little to no blood trail. Very rarely will a shot drop them in their tracks, unless it’s a spine shot or brain shot. More often than not, they will run after being hit, and, boy, can they run! They have been clocked at a top speed of 29 mph.
If you’re interested in a hunt that is guaranteed to make your heart race with excitement, 303 Ranch Outfitters is the choice for you.
What Are Nilgai Antelope?
The Nilgai, or blue bull, is the largest Asian antelope and is native to the Indian subcontinent. It is a sturdy thin-legged antelope characterized by a sloping back, a deep neck with a white patch on the throat, a short crest of hair along the neck ending in a tuft, and white facial spots. A column of pendant coarse hair hangs from the dewlap ridge below the white patch. Females and juveniles are orange to tawny in color, while adult males have a bluish-grey coat. Only males possess horns, measuring anywhere between 5 and 10 inches long.
Nilgai typically stands between 3.3–4.9 ft at the shoulder, and the head-and-body length is usually between 5.6–6.9 ft. Males weigh between 240–635 lbs. The maximum weight recorded is 679 lb. Females are lighter, weighing 220–470 lbs.
The Nilgai is active mainly during the day. The animal’s band together in three distinct kinds of groups: one or two females with young calves, three to six adult and yearling females with calves, and all-male groups with two to 18 members. They typically herd in small groups of about 10-12 animals, but it is not uncommon to see larger groups of about 20-50.
Males and females are usually separated, with bulls joining the cows only during the breeding season. Females can conceive as early as 18 months of age, but only a few mate before 3 years of age. Bulls mature earlier, around 2 ½ years of age, but do not compete with other males until about 4-5 years of age. The cow’s gestation period is from 240-258 days and usually produces twins or triplets.
Though generally quiet, Nilgai has been reported to make short guttural grunts when alarmed, and females to make clicking noises when nursing young. Alarmed juveniles below 5 months, give out a coughing roar that lasts half a second but can be heard by herds less than 1,600 ft away.
They prefer areas with short bushes and scattered trees in scrub forests and grassy plains, although they can adapt to a variety of habitats. They are grazers and browsers, with grass as the main source of their diet. In Asia, they eat mainly woody plants. In Texas, they eat mesquite, oak, partridge peas, croton, nightshade, and a variety of grasses.
Nilgai antelope were first brought to Texas in the 1920s, primarily as a gift to Caesar Kleberg of the King Ranch it being the custom of the time. This first pair did not yield any offspring, so a decision was made to obtain 5 bulls and 7 cows from the San Diego Zoological Garden. From those few animals back then, the Nilgai population in Texas is now up to more than 50,000.
What Makes Nilgai Antelope Unique?
Nilgai are big animals. Mature females average 300 to 400 pounds while mature bulls will get close to 700 pounds. The adult males tend to be a darker bluish grey coloration, which also gives them their other name, “blue bull.” The legs are black. Females and young animals are paler brown. They can live up to 20 years in the wild.
Only the males bear horns, which are 6 to 10 inches in length, smooth, black, slightly curved either forwards or backward and quite sharp. They are frequently tagged as “devil horns.”
Nilgai have very keen eyesight, remarkable hearing, and an eerie sense of approaching danger. They are creatures that are constantly moving, as well. The animal’s hide is extra thick, not unlike that found on wild boar.
These innate characteristics of the Nilgai make it an animal that is as challenging and rewarding to hunt as any exotic animal out there. The thrill of the hunt and the promise of its exceptional-tasting meat are more than enough reason to join a Nilgai hunt.
How Should You Prepare For Nilgai Hunting?
Mature Nilgai bulls are difficult to bring down. To ensure a successful hunt, here are a few points for you to consider when preparing:
- Practice makes perfect. Practice shooting from a standing position, kneeling position, or from an adjustable tripod.
- Check your firepower. Having plenty of guns is important, and many Nilgai hunting operations have a minimum caliber requirement of a .300 magnum. Optimal calibers like .338 – .375 are perfect.
- It is also a must to have well-constructed bullets that provide adequate bullet expansion, at the same time, retaining most of the bullet mass. Highly recommended are Nosler partitions, Barnes Triple-Shock, Swift A-Frames, Winchester Fail-Safe, Trophy Bonded Bear Claws, or Equivalent type bullets.
- Patience is a big key to success. Expect to cover some territory and expect to take long shots, as well.
- Don’t forget your Texas hunting license if you are a resident, and for non-residents, a 5-day special hunting license is required.
- Most important of all, prepare to fill your freezer with exquisite Nilgai meat for you to enjoy if you are successful! It is quite possible to take a couple of hundred pounds of meat off a good-sized bull.
When Is The Best Time For A Nilgai Hunt?
The Texas government categorizes Nilgai as exotic, meaning that there is no closed season, no bag limit, and no possession limit on the animal. You can hunt them whenever you want so long as you have a valid hunting license.
Another hunting option is to hunt Nilgai during their rut when, like most animals, they become less concerned with caution. You are more likely to find success stalking to within range during this period as bulls have their attention on the cows. This breeding season usually occurs from November through to April.
What Hunting Method Is Most Effective?
Most successful Nilgai hunts are done either safari style or spot and stalk. Safari-style is done from high-racked 4×4 trucks driving slowly into the wind, looking for bulls at distance, unaware of any presence. Spot-and-stalk hunting is usually done in and around feeding and watering areas.
Another area where Nilgai can be vulnerable is where they relieve themselves. They usually do this on the same spot and behave in an unusual manner. They stand with their legs about a yard apart, their rumps lowered, and their tails almost vertical. They will remain in this position for around 10 seconds after finishing relieving themselves, making for an easy target.
Texas Nilgai Hunting At 303 Ranch Outfitters
Our all-inclusive Nilgai hunts are comprised of 3 days 2 nights lodging, Big Texan meals, expert one-on-one guide, field lunch and drinks during the day, transportation of your Nilgai to our local meat processor, and transportation of your cape and horns to our taxidermist.
Have that thrilling hunting adventure you have long been yearning for. We make your dream hunt a reality, call our office today.