Inexpensive Nilgai Hunts


Published: March - 1998

Still in Texas, correspondent Ray Sasser tells us there are some wonderfully attractive nilgai hunts available right now on the famed 825,000-acre King Ranch near Raymondville. He writes: "The King Ranch, Texas' most famous cattle spread, is a wildlife paradise that few hunters had ever seen until 1988 when the owners began a limited hunting-lease program. That was followed by so-called package hunting, mostly for whitetail deer. The only problem is, leases and whitetail hunts on the King Ranch are very expensive - would you believe, the latter cost $7,000 or more by the time trophy fees are tacked on? There is, however, an inexpensive way to experience big game hunting on this historic ranch. All you have to do is target one of the ranch's nilgai antelope.

Nilgai were introduced to the King Ranch back in the 1930s, when the ranch owners bought a small herd of these Indian antelope from a bankrupt circus. Seems the dry, temperate climate of South Texas has suited these animals perfectly because today they have multiplied until they are a nuisance animal that competes with the more valuable native whitetails and also with domestic livestock. That's why the King Ranch is now offering one-day guided hunts for only $300, plus a harvest fee of $450 for a bull or $150 for a cow. The up-front fee is per gun and cannot be split between two hunters.

Just don't think it is easy to get one of these animals. They are the wariest and toughest animal on the ranch, and the hunting experience they provide is first-rate. If nilgai were a beautiful color and grew horns like African kudu, the price to hunt them would be more like $9,000. Unfortunately, their horns are mere spikes, like those on a mountain goat, and they deserve their nickname `blue bulls' because their color is indeed bluish. A fully grown animal will weigh as much as 800 pounds but sport horns of nine inches or less. On the positive side of the ledger, nilgai are good to eat and one animal produces a lot of........(continued)

 
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