Continuing subscribers know it's been a while since we've reported on hunting for nilgai, Asia's largest antelope. Originally from India and Pakistan, nilgai (also called blue bull for the color of its hide) weigh up to 600 pounds and stand 52 to 58 inches at the shoulder. Today, there are more nilgai in Texas than in their native homelands, and they can be found free-ranging. Many big game hunters overlook this species because the horns are rather small for the body size. (A good one measures 8½ to nine inches long.) But anyone who has hunted these odd-looking beasts knows they are worthy game animals, as they are exceedingly wary and don't hesitate to clear out at the first hint of danger, even at long range. What occasions this re-mention of nilgai is a report we recently received from subscriber Greg Schubert, who took an SCI Gold Medal nilgai this past January with outfitter Lendall Laxton of L & L Hunting. You may remember Laxton from a report we published on his New Mexico mule deer hunts. Seems Laxton's main business is in Texas, where he offers a variety of hunting opportunities, including free-ranging trophy nilgai.
The hunts take place on ranches near the famous King Ranch, where the nilgai were originally introduced in the 1930s. Laxton has access to about 40,000 acres on private properties here, none of which use game fencing to hold in the animals. Instead, they use high fences to keep them out of agricultural areas. There are so many of the antelope that they can actually be a nuisance to landowners in the region. Laxton says there are approximately 1,500 to 2,000 wild nilgai roaming freely here.
The hunting is conducted safari-style, using a 4wd vehicle to cover ground and spot for mature nilgai bulls. Once a bull is sighted, the hunters proceed to stalk on foot. The problem, according to Schubert, is that the bulls usually start running before you can get anywhere ready to take a shot. Often, Laxton will plan an ambush after sizing up a particular bull on the run. It........(continued)