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  #1  
Old 03-26-2005, 07:45 AM
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South Texas Nilgai Hunt


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I'm back from my nilgai hunt on the Yuturri Ranch (U-terry) near Raymondville, TX! The hunt was setup to run from Thursday afternoon through this evening (Saturday) but I brought it to a close the first afternoon. This is the hunt I booked two years ago!

These free ranging critters are only available on a few of the large ranches that join the coast South of Baffin Bay and East of US Highway 77. The nilgai is a native of India and was brought to this area by the King Ranch in 1934; they swiftly spread to all of these large low fenced ranches.

These are some pretty strange critters. They can out pace our antelope and are tougher than our elk. Everywhere I checked into hunting them required belted magnum cartridges 30 caliber or greater. Greg Simmons of Wildlife Systems, Inc., my outfitter, listened to my argument for the 444 Marlin and took my case to the hunting operation on the ranch which allowed me book the hunt.

Thursday at noon, two other hunters and I met Greg in Raymondville and proceed into the ranch. The hunting camp sits about 7 miles East of the highway and as we headed in I was the third truck traveling in line down the gravel road. I had eased back to let some of the dust settle and right a way saw a nilgai bull stick his head out of the brush to watch the first two trucks travel off. I saw this bull at about 40 yards and began to have doubts about the caliber and bullets performance! They are enormous and stand taller than a large horse. Their shoulders, neck and hump are massive!

We quickly unpacked at the hunter’s camp and went to the range behind the camp. Everyone had to shoot their rifles and the other two hunters were shooting 338 Win Mags. The Ranch's head guide talked to me a bit about the 444 and it was obvious that he had done some homework on the caliber. They had never had a cast bullet shooter so we talked a bit about cast bullet performance. He also wanted to know my expectations of the caliber and I talked about the exterior ballistics of the 444 and my decision not to accept a shot over 130 yards. I really expected him to say I would need to hunt with a ranch rifle but he said "good luck and good hunting!"

The ranch has a policy of the hunter shooting until the animal is dead. After the first hit, the guide will shoot before the animal enters the brush. These guides have hunted all the NA critters and say nothing absorbs lead like the nilgai and once they are in the brush they are gone. The guide’s follow-up with 375 H&H Mags.

By now I had seen about 50 nilgai and I was really apprehensive that I seemed to be representing the big bore - leveraction - cast bullet crowd to this ranch... I didn't want to screw up. After driving several miles from the camp, we walked about a mile through a thorn thicket that opened up to a coastal savannah. It was a scene from India or Africa as I looked out and saw nilgai for miles in every direction. We did some more maneuvering through the brush to put the wind at our advantage. During this we found the skeleton of a bull that had been shot and lost. It gave me the knowledge that I needed to place a killing shot... what luck! When we came back to the savannahs edge we saw a lone mature bull that was about 800 yards distant.

Our stalk across the open to get within shooting range of this bull took two and a half hours. When Greg and I reached 115 yards there was not one stick or blade of grass between us and the animal. When the animal looked away, I rose to a braced sitting position and shot the animal through both front shoulders. I heard and saw the Lee TLC432-285-RF impact the bull and it immediately fell. Just as quick, it was back up and thundering towards the nearest brush with two busted shoulders. Greg rose and fired twice with the 375 H&H, I wasn't sure if he was hitting it as it was falling each time its front hoofs hit the ground but quickly rebounding. I rose, and shot right at its anus and hit it a few inches above in the spine. The whack the bullet made echoed across the plain as the animal fell dead. The two cast bullets from my 444T were the only two that connected. I was pleased.
Attached Thumbnails
South Texas Nilgai Hunt-nilgai-hunt-003.jpg   South Texas Nilgai Hunt-nilgai-hunt-013.jpg   South Texas Nilgai Hunt-nilgai-hunt-026.jpg  
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Last edited by Ranch Dog; 03-26-2005 at 02:09 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-26-2005, 10:03 AM
The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
 
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Hey - Great going, Michael!!!

Have heard those critters are tough - you just proved it. Sorry you didn't get the full bore hunt, but - a bird in hand is worth two in the bush!

An animal that hardy surely will be like eating shoe leather - be kind enough to let us know how it eats!

OK, time to get back to hawg and turkey huntin'.
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Old 03-26-2005, 11:30 AM
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Melt those bullets down and shoot some hogs with them - nothing like recycling!!!
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  #4  
Old 03-26-2005, 06:41 PM
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That was impressive. I visited the King Ranch on a buisness trip back in the 90s. I did not see any Nelgei but I did see one on a Merposa bowhunting vidio by Indian Archery.

That is a hunt I would like to go on but I am sure it is out of my price range.

What scope is that on the 444? Banner 1.5-4.5.

Great Hunt Michael!!!
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  #5  
Old 03-27-2005, 05:15 AM
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Chief... The hunt is probably the best deal in hunting South Texas, less than half of a quality whitetail hunt and you take home several hundred pounds of good eating. I booked the hunt through Wildlife Systems, Inc. These are the fellows that I hunted mule deer with and I'm very pleased with them. As a group, they have a strong hunting ethic that matches my sense of fair chase and the ranches they manage are some of the best. Even though I have my own place, I plan on hunting antelope, mule deer, and whitetails with them as long as I can.

A King Ranch tour would not get you South and East enough to see the animals. You have to get South of Baffin Bay and East of Highway 77. There are four large ranches with free ranging nilgai: The King, Kenedy, Armstrong and Yturria. There are quite a few high fenced places around Texas that have the animals but these four ranches have the original free ranging animals and represent about 750,000 acres! These ranches are also low fenced except where small neighbors put excessive hunting pressure on the fence line; they then high fence their border. For instance, at the Yturria we went along a high fence for about a mile and I asked them about it. The guide said that the neighbor admitted to killing 54 nilgai in one year along that stretch. No more nilgai or anything crossing the fence.

The Yturria is the only place that doesn't "truck" hunts its critters. They have some nice hunting vehicles but you are going to have to use your feet to hunt them. The owner is a pursuit’s and wants you to have the same experience that you would expect if you where hunting in India. This is same for whitetail deer or any other game, not one feeder on some 37,000 acres. The other two hunters had been on a nilgai hunt on one of the other ranches and all they saw from the trucks was the butts of bulls as they hit the brush.

You know that's a Banner 1.5-45X32 on my 444T! I love those little scopes and they take a beating. The guide on the Yturria noticed that scope and made a few interesting comments about Bushnell. He said it is the only optic product they use now. Quite a comment for an outfit that is on their feet hunting from September 1 through May 31.

Here is a couple of more pictures... A map with a dark area representing the location. Dinning room. Private rooms for each hunter.
Attached Thumbnails
South Texas Nilgai Hunt-raymondville.jpg   South Texas Nilgai Hunt-0-023.jpg   South Texas Nilgai Hunt-0-019.jpg  
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Last edited by Ranch Dog; 03-27-2005 at 05:34 AM.
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  #6  
Old 03-27-2005, 06:34 AM
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Thumbs up

Michael,
Great going congrats.
May you have many field reports on that 444 of yours.
Visiting these boards and reading these reports from the field really make me feel like booking a hunt in Texas.
Keep up the good work.
Webfoot
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  #7  
Old 03-29-2005, 06:04 AM
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Michael,

A HUGE congrats on a most sucessful hunt that you had been looking forward to for 2 years. You make us proud!! Be sure to post about your hunt on MO.

Your influence is far reaching as one of the hunters on the Hogfest hunt purchased the Bushnell you use because of your say so.

Dave

p.s. I see the knee surgeon in a couple of hours as my other knee when out during Hofgest.
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  #8  
Old 03-29-2005, 07:20 AM
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If the nilgai eats good, I'm gonna go get me one!!!
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  #9  
Old 03-29-2005, 07:35 AM
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VTDW... Sorry to hear about your knee and waiting for a report on the hog hunt!

MikeG... Supposedly these things eat pretty good. Guides did everything they could to talk the hunters out of the meat. Funny thing was they couldn't keep the smirk off their face. I'll let you know soon.
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  #10  
Old 03-29-2005, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeG
Melt those bullets down and shoot some hogs with them - nothing like recycling!!!
Outstanding idea! Now we need to have some bumper stickers made up stating the same!
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  #11  
Old 03-29-2005, 08:47 AM
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Hoping your knee gets fixed up and heals quickly Dave.
Quote:
Originally Posted by VTDW
Michael,

A HUGE congrats on a most sucessful hunt that you had been looking forward to for 2 years. You make us proud!! Be sure to post about your hunt on MO.

Your influence is far reaching as one of the hunters on the Hogfest hunt purchased the Bushnell you use because of your say so.

Dave

p.s. I see the knee surgeon in a couple of hours as my other knee when out during Hofgest.
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Old 03-29-2005, 08:51 AM
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Thumbs up

Thanks for posting the pictures and story of your hunt, I really enjoyed reading everything, and "Way to Go!" from me personally on the whole experience.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranch Dog
VTDW... Sorry to hear about your knee and waiting for a report on the hog hunt!

MikeG... Supposedly these things eat pretty good. Guides did everything they could to talk the hunters out of the meat. Funny thing was they couldn't keep the smirk off their face. I'll let you know soon.
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  #13  
Old 03-29-2005, 03:51 PM
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Yeah - another good luck wish on the knee surgery, Dave.

For some unknown reason, always thought the first thing to wear out with Okies was the elbows from being propped on the bar railing!!
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  #14  
Old 03-29-2005, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdub
Yeah - another good luck wish on the knee surgery, Dave.

For some unknown reason, always thought the first thing to wear out with Okies was the elbows from being propped on the bar railing!!
Bah-dumpum, tssseee!
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  #15  
Old 04-23-2005, 08:45 PM
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Nilgai

I am new to this site. I have been to that ranch I was one
of the first to hunt that lease. I see you met Fred the head guide. I stayed in the same cabins. Were you told why you could'nt hunt the weekend. Thats for family , they get the weekends. Very good ranch , low fence animals come and go as they please. We took some realy big deer off thev ranch.
The ranch is boardered by the king and his Uncle, the Uncle don't alow hunting on his ranch. I want to go back for Black Buck.
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  #16  
Old 04-24-2005, 05:53 AM
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blaserman...

My hunt ran from Thrusday through Sunday... I just finished up on the first day. I heard about the uncle and met the older fellow that owns the place or that is married to the daughter that owns the place. Very likeable fellow, a retired airline pilot so we had a lot in common.

I know they have lease hunters for deer but also do the guided hunts. Were you a lease hunter? If so, I'm curious how they work the lease.
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  #17  
Old 10-31-2007, 09:06 PM
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That is actually my Uncles land (the Yturria's). We own the land across the highway. We offer Nilgai hunt packages with experienced guides. And by the way, Nilgai meat is UNBELIEVABLE. Call me for specifics. Our prices are much more competitive and I know you will have a good time.

Call me, I love to talk hunting.


___________
Richard Heath

Last edited by Ranch Dog; 11-02-2007 at 05:26 AM. Reason: Removed business links...
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  #18  
Old 11-01-2007, 11:16 AM
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Richard,

Welcome to the forum. We don't normally allow commercial advertising here, but I see you were responding to Ranch Dog's question.

We thank you for the information and hope you'll stick around the forum and contribute.

Yes, indeed.... the nilgai meet is VERY good.....
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  #19  
Old 03-28-2008, 09:48 AM
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I went hunting nilgai on the Norias division of the King Ranch for the second time back on February 2nd, 2008. This is a drive, park and stalk type of hunt.

I shoot a Remington 7mm mag. The first time I went I had to shoot the cow twice before she dropped. A third shot put her down. That was with a 150 grain Remington CoreLokt round. The second time I researched it a little better. I used a bullet with what they called a Nosler partition. The bull was quartered away and on the run at about 100 yards. One round behind the shoulder blade and it ran about 50 yds and piled up under a tree...dead. Next time I go I will definitely use these Nosler partitioned rounds again. I'd much rather put an animal down with one round rather than having to see it suffer while I pump multiple bullets in to it. Just thought I'd share the info.

And yes...the meat is fantastic...and VERY lean. The bull I shot was 294 lbs field dressed so probably about 420 on the hoof. After processing I received approximately 98 lbs of meat. If you shoot a bull and want to get it shoulder mounted...the place I took mine to takes 10 months and runs around $1,000. But all in all it's a great hunt. Much more challenging than white tail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranch Dog View Post
I'm back from my nilgai hunt on the Yuturri Ranch (U-terry) near Raymondville, TX! The hunt was setup to run from Thursday afternoon through this evening (Saturday) but I brought it to a close the first afternoon. This is the hunt I booked two years ago!

These free ranging critters are only available on a few of the large ranches that join the coast South of Baffin Bay and East of US Highway 77. The nilgai is a native of India and was brought to this area by the King Ranch in 1934; they swiftly spread to all of these large low fenced ranches.

These are some pretty strange critters. They can out pace our antelope and are tougher than our elk. Everywhere I checked into hunting them required belted magnum cartridges 30 caliber or greater. Greg Simmons of Wildlife Systems, Inc., my outfitter, listened to my argument for the 444 Marlin and took my case to the hunting operation on the ranch which allowed me book the hunt.

Thursday at noon, two other hunters and I met Greg in Raymondville and proceed into the ranch. The hunting camp sits about 7 miles East of the highway and as we headed in I was the third truck traveling in line down the gravel road. I had eased back to let some of the dust settle and right a way saw a nilgai bull stick his head out of the brush to watch the first two trucks travel off. I saw this bull at about 40 yards and began to have doubts about the caliber and bullets performance! They are enormous and stand taller than a large horse. Their shoulders, neck and hump are massive!

We quickly unpacked at the hunter’s camp and went to the range behind the camp. Everyone had to shoot their rifles and the other two hunters were shooting 338 Win Mags. The Ranch's head guide talked to me a bit about the 444 and it was obvious that he had done some homework on the caliber. They had never had a cast bullet shooter so we talked a bit about cast bullet performance. He also wanted to know my expectations of the caliber and I talked about the exterior ballistics of the 444 and my decision not to accept a shot over 130 yards. I really expected him to say I would need to hunt with a ranch rifle but he said "good luck and good hunting!"

The ranch has a policy of the hunter shooting until the animal is dead. After the first hit, the guide will shoot before the animal enters the brush. These guides have hunted all the NA critters and say nothing absorbs lead like the nilgai and once they are in the brush they are gone. The guide’s follow-up with 375 H&H Mags.

By now I had seen about 50 nilgai and I was really apprehensive that I seemed to be representing the big bore - leveraction - cast bullet crowd to this ranch... I didn't want to screw up. After driving several miles from the camp, we walked about a mile through a thorn thicket that opened up to a coastal savannah. It was a scene from India or Africa as I looked out and saw nilgai for miles in every direction. We did some more maneuvering through the brush to put the wind at our advantage. During this we found the skeleton of a bull that had been shot and lost. It gave me the knowledge that I needed to place a killing shot... what luck! When we came back to the savannahs edge we saw a lone mature bull that was about 800 yards distant.

Our stalk across the open to get within shooting range of this bull took two and a half hours. When Greg and I reached 115 yards there was not one stick or blade of grass between us and the animal. When the animal looked away, I rose to a braced sitting position and shot the animal through both front shoulders. I heard and saw the Lee TLC432-285-RF impact the bull and it immediately fell. Just as quick, it was back up and thundering towards the nearest brush with two busted shoulders. Greg rose and fired twice with the 375 H&H, I wasn't sure if he was hitting it as it was falling each time its front hoofs hit the ground but quickly rebounding. I rose, and shot right at its anus and hit it a few inches above in the spine. The whack the bullet made echoed across the plain as the animal fell dead. The two cast bullets from my 444T were the only two that connected. I was pleased.
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  #20  
Old 03-28-2008, 04:34 PM
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RanchDog,

Congratulations on the hunt and for convincing the outfitters that you had a big game rifle! Would you give us other t4 owners some of your reasoning for using the 285 gr bullet instead of the 265 or 300?
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