Texas nilgai

I was lucky enough to draw 2 hunts this last season and shoot a young bull in december during the shotgun hunt over on the east lake tract and one bigger bull on the teniente tract with a 45-70.

Best meat I have in the freezer this year.

Super nice bull OP!!
 
We are heading down to Laguna Atascosa NWR for Nilgai next week! Got any advice?
How does this hunt work? Is it your typical points system drawing or is it fair chance and you could be drawn your first time applying, not sure how the NWR drawn hunts work. Thanks
 
Seeing them fight or tearing down heavy gauge fence is something else!
also the skin on a bull is amazingly thick and tough ( they basically have daggers on their heads so need it )
they make a bull elk look like a wimp on taking rifle punches
I have taken them with almost everything from a 338 WM, 338/06, 300 WM, 7mm STW, 30-06, and a few with 6.5 '06 and very stout bullets. They are way tougher than elk and are right up there with the tougher african species like eland. the meat is excellent, very lean and rich. They can't survive cold very well and have never been transferred anyplace else in Texas.
 
How does this hunt work? Is it your typical points system drawing or is it fair chance and you could be drawn your first time applying, not sure how the NWR drawn hunts work. Thanks
It's a regular point system I believe, where you have to apply to accumulate a point if not drawn. Can draw the fist time applying or it might take 10 years. I think we had 2 points going in this time. The draw was 2% or less. It is run by TPWD.

I have a new found respect for these animals. Big as elk but much tougher with eyes every bit as sharp as pronghorn. They are wiley and wild. We had the last of 4 consecutive hunts(2 archery, 2 muzzleloader) and they were super sketchy by that time. When they get spooked they run! And run! And run some more! Right across the lagoon and into the next county and I think they still might be running to this day!

Weather is a factor. It was cold, windy, and raining the entire hunt and they didn't want to move.

I hope to be able to chase them again.
 
I’m one of the lucky ones who gets to rifle hunt Nilgai in January. Where can I find out more about Laguna Atascosa NWR?
Don’t ignore the small chunks of land. Both Nilgai I’ve killed down there have been on the looked over or ignored small portions of the refuge that people walk right by. I also don’t hunt the road. Everyone else will be sitting on the road. I find a really thick area and sit at the base of a mesquite tree. Take snake chaps. I’ve stepped on alligators and rattlesnakes down there year round. Stay out all day. Walk the wind if you can’t sit still or get bored. Shoot as many as you can, I know that sounds wasteful but I ran out of that meat too fast.
 
Don’t ignore the small chunks of land. Both Nilgai I’ve killed down there have been on the looked over or ignored small portions of the refuge that people walk right by. I also don’t hunt the road. Everyone else will be sitting on the road. I find a really thick area and sit at the base of a mesquite tree. Take snake chaps. I’ve stepped on alligators and rattlesnakes down there year round. Stay out all day. Walk the wind if you can’t sit still or get bored. Shoot as many as you can, I know that sounds wasteful but I ran out of that meat too fast.


Thanks for the info Lost Texican. I’ve got a lot more questions but I’ll start with just a few. What caliber/cartridge do you recommend? I have a 7 mm Rem Mag or I can borrow a friend’s 338 Win Mag.
I have a good mountain bike but if I need an E-bike I’ll have to buy or rent one. I’m not concerned with a lot of pedaling but I don’t want to waste time. Last question, what about hauling the game out? Game carts?
Thanks for all that you can share with me. I live up the coast from Laguna Atascosa, about 5 hours away.
 
Thanks for the info Lost Texican. I’ve got a lot more questions but I’ll start with just a few. What caliber/cartridge do you recommend? I have a 7 mm Rem Mag or I can borrow a friend’s 338 Win Mag.
I have a good mountain bike but if I need an E-bike I’ll have to buy or rent one. I’m not concerned with a lot of pedaling but I don’t want to waste time. Last question, what about hauling the game out? Game carts?
Thanks for all that you can share with me. I live up the coast from Laguna Atascosa, about 5 hours away.
Cartridge: I’d shoot something YOU can shoot accurately, somewhat fast, reloads fast. I killed one Nilgai with a factory 12g slug at 1200fps, shot the second with a 45-70 420gr hand load going 1250fps. Nothing fancy. 7 mag with a tough, heavy bullet will be more than enough. A dude was out there with a 450 bushmaster AR15 and shot 6, yes six, bulls in about 20 seconds on the first morning of the hunt. That’s very similar to a 4570 in terms of range and power.

Bike/wheels: used a bike on the first hunt I drew for them on laguna, archery hunt, tires were so muddy that I had to carry the bike. Opted against using it the 2nd and 3rd time I drew that hunt. These things move all day, esp with 15 other guns out there pushing them. I think your feet will be fine.

Game cart: yes. I kept one in the back of the truck. Killed my bull, cut it up and bagged it, walked to the truck, grabbed the cart, dropped off my gun and non needed stuff, went back and made one long heavy haul out. 100% on the game cart, just leave it at the truck. I screwed up by leaving my gun at the truck, looking back. I saw piles of Nilgai on the way back out and I had a pile of work ahead of me but now that im out of meat and hindsighting it, should have shot one more.

This next piece of advice may sound ignorant or flat out stupid….as soon as you shoot as many rounds as you can, walk or jog straight at the animal or the last place you saw it. These things have the thickest hide of any animal I’ve ever shot. They will not bleed much, if any, until they are spraying it out their nose from aspiration. You don’t want to lose sight of them. Tons of stories of guys making good shots and never finding their animal. Down there the buzzards will find it in about 3-5 hours, so that helps.

I live in the Atlanta area but I am from the San Antonio area, both a good haul away from laguna. I’d call a processor now, tell them you’re coming down to hunt and may need freezer space and processing. They fill up and can’t take on anymore. I let Rudy’s meat market handle mine and would again. These folks know how to work these animals. I used Kevin from buckshot studios to mount my bigger bull. I’m sure most shops could handle just about any animal but I’d like to think the folks down there are a little more schooled up on them. Good luck! Wear snake chaps, watch for ticks, don’t be afraid to get in the bushes, shoot a few pigs, don’t speed on the refuge or hurt an ocelot or it’s federal fines and big trouble!
 
Cartridge: I’d shoot something YOU can shoot accurately, somewhat fast, reloads fast. I killed one Nilgai with a factory 12g slug at 1200fps, shot the second with a 45-70 420gr hand load going 1250fps. Nothing fancy. 7 mag with a tough, heavy bullet will be more than enough. A dude was out there with a 450 bushmaster AR15 and shot 6, yes six, bulls in about 20 seconds on the first morning of the hunt. That’s very similar to a 4570 in terms of range and power.

Bike/wheels: used a bike on the first hunt I drew for them on laguna, archery hunt, tires were so muddy that I had to carry the bike. Opted against using it the 2nd and 3rd time I drew that hunt. These things move all day, esp with 15 other guns out there pushing them. I think your feet will be fine.

Game cart: yes. I kept one in the back of the truck. Killed my bull, cut it up and bagged it, walked to the truck, grabbed the cart, dropped off my gun and non needed stuff, went back and made one long heavy haul out. 100% on the game cart, just leave it at the truck. I screwed up by leaving my gun at the truck, looking back. I saw piles of Nilgai on the way back out and I had a pile of work ahead of me but now that im out of meat and hindsighting it, should have shot one more.

This next piece of advice may sound ignorant or flat out stupid….as soon as you shoot as many rounds as you can, walk or jog straight at the animal or the last place you saw it. These things have the thickest hide of any animal I’ve ever shot. They will not bleed much, if any, until they are spraying it out their nose from aspiration. You don’t want to lose sight of them. Tons of stories of guys making good shots and never finding their animal. Down there the buzzards will find it in about 3-5 hours, so that helps.

I live in the Atlanta area but I am from the San Antonio area, both a good haul away from laguna. I’d call a processor now, tell them you’re coming down to hunt and may need freezer space and processing. They fill up and can’t take on anymore. I let Rudy’s meat market handle mine and would again. These folks know how to work these animals. I used Kevin from buckshot studios to mount my bigger bull. I’m sure most shops could handle just about any animal but I’d like to think the folks down there are a little more schooled up on them. Good luck! Wear snake chaps, watch for ticks, don’t be afraid to get in the bushes, shoot a few pigs, don’t speed on the refuge or hurt an ocelot or it’s federal fines and big trouble!
Your posts on this forum have provided the most detailed/useful Nilgai information I've read so far on multiple sites. I appreciate all the info!
 
Your posts on this forum have provided the most detailed/useful Nilgai information I've read so far on multiple sites. I appreciate all the info!
Your posts on this forum have provided the most detailed/useful Nilgai information I've read so far on multiple sites. I appreciate all the info!
Thanks again, LT. Now I have some questions about access. I see on the map provided by the USFWS that areas 2, 3, 4, 5, & 8 are the only ones where rifle hunting is allowed. Is this correct? Since #4 is across the ship channel I won’t be able to hunt there. So if I’m willing to get off the road and get away from the crowd and hike into the bush a ways, what areas would be the most promising.
I’m a little confused about road access. The map shows a ‘vehicle access road’ in red ink which barely traverses the western edge of the refuge. Is it permissible to drive vehicles on the gravel and/or the dirt roads?
 

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