Here’s what hunters need to know about this unique member of the antelope family.
The nilgai, which originated in India, is the largest antelope in Asia. The species was imported to the King Ranch in south Texas in the 1930s, and now nilgai antelope are concentrated to about a dozen private ranches in the state’s hill country.
Nilgai Antelope Hunting
Nilgai hunting is not allowed in India, so you’ll have to stay stateside to tag a trophy blue bull. Texas Parks and Wildlife considers nilgai an exotic species instead of endemic game animals, so you can hunt them year-round with a special hunting license – which is also good for javelina, blackbucks, and eland. Breeding typically occurs in the winter months, so most outfitters schedule nilgai hunts between December and March. This cooler time of year allows for better preserving of nilgai meat, which is lean with a beef-like flavor.
Skittish, fast, and difficult to attract with bait, nilgai also possess keen eyesight, a strong sense of smell, and excellent hearing, so they’re challenging to chase and will provide you with a real-deal hunting experience.
Nilgai antelope have a thick skin protecting their vitals and are incredibly difficult to take down with a single shot, unless you hit the spine. While you can attempt bowhunting and safari style hunts with some outfitters, most offer spot and stalk hunts with a minimum caliber restriction of .300 magnum to avoid long blood trails and wounded animals.
Nilgai hunting packages are available in the $3,000-$4,000 range, with some considered free-range hunts while others are exclusively high-fence operations. Prices for Nilgai cow, cull, or meat hunts can be significantly less. Nilgai meat is, according to some, even better than whitetail deer venison.
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