Subscriber T. Geppert used a .338 win Mag to take this Texas nilgai.
By Tim Jones, Editor
Our subscribers are truly among the most experienced and able hunters in the world, and we love it when they weigh in on something we've published, adding their perspective to make the picture clearer. In our June issue
, we published two subscriber reports on hunts in south Texas with Wildlife Systems (325-655-0877; www.wildlifesystems.com
). In one of those reports, subscriber M. Davis noted that he used the .416 that he was planning to take to Africa to make a one-shot kill on his nilgai at 165 yards.
That information prompted a phone call from subscriber John Frick who told us he has hunted nilgai in south Texas and believes a .416 is inadequate. "Nilgai are extremely tough animals, every bit as hard to bring down as anything in Africa," says Frick. "Their hide is so dense that a wound will seal, which makes them extremely hard to track. I shot my nilgai at 150 yards with a .458 Win Mag and tracking it was not difficult at all. A .458 makes a hole big enough to leave a blood trail."
Though some South Texas outfitters require at minimum a .300 Win Mag caliber, Frick says outfitters he has talked to believe that even .338s are too small to make a good exit wound. A .458, in Frick's words, "will blow a hole straight through and leave definitive blood trail for tracking." He reports his outfitter had never seen a .458 Win Mag used on nilgai but had also never seen the kind of blood trail it left.
We asked Editor-at-Large Mike Bodenchuk for his thoughts regarding the choice of caliber for nilgai. He reports, "I have now shot (culled for disease surveillance) a total of eight nilgai; my employees have shot another 12 on multiple projects. In addition, we have shot and lost three others (and nearly lost my last). We shot them with .308s and 7 Rem Mag with the right bullet placement, but bigger is definitely better....