If you’re planning on undertaking nilgai hunts, there are a few things you should prepare for.
Nilgai hunts can be extremely challenging. Granted, you may get “lucky” and you may see a trophy nilgai, spot him on a dirt road and drop him right in his tracks, all on the first morning.
That sort of thing does indeed happen. But it’s not really fair to call it luck, if luck is preparation meeting opportunity. The preparation part is up to you, and you would be wise to prepare as thoroughly as possible, so that when opportunity knocks you’re ready to meet it.
Nilgai are tough animals, with a strong, elastic hide that can easily make a blood trail practically nonexistent. You really need to be able to hit the animal in the vitals on your first shot. There’s little room for error and most guides have little patience for sloppy marksmanship. There’s no secret to it, simply practice shooting and practice often.
A .270 will be about as small a caliber as you’re likely to use, and some ranches won’t even allow that. A better choice would be a .300 Magnum at a minimum, with .338 to .375 being optimum.
You’ll also want to use well constructed bullets that achieve deep penetration. Don’t skimp on quality bullets, and don’t think that whitetail rounds will suffice for nilgai. They won’t. Purchase Controlled Expansion cartridges and go with something akin to Nosler Partitions, Winchester Fail Safe or something similar.
If you’re bowhunting you’ll want a powerful bow, probably a minimum of 70 pound draw weight, whether recurve or compound. Tough broadheads are the order of the day. Broadheads that work well on whitetail may be too light for nilgai.
But again, more important than caliber or draw weight is accuracy. Study the structure of nilgai from different angles and be able to confidently hit where you aim, every time. Unless you’re hunting from a blind most shots will likely be standing. Occasionally you may have an opportunity for a kneeling shot. But chances are that you will be standing and firing from shooting sticks. It is suggested that you practice shooting with shooting sticks, especially if you’ve never used them before.
Unless you’re hunting nilgai in winter, the weather will be seasonable, so dress accordingly. But wear something that blends well with the foliage of the land. Nilgai have exceptional eyesight and camouflage is important. Soft outer fabrics are also important to cut down on noise.
Of course camouflage and silence are secondary to good hunting technique. Being able to move stealthily and silently through tall grass and tangled brush is paramount, and that skill comes with hunting experience.
Again, if not hunting from a blind, spot and stalk will likely be the order of the day. You’ll drive into the wind looking for nilgai, before settling on an animal. That’s when you’ll begin your stalk of anywhere from a half-mile to a mile or more.
A pair of good, well worn-in boots can make all the difference here. The terrain can vary from relatively easy walking to fairly rough, but you won’t need really rough terrain boots. Something comfortable that allows you to feel the earth beneath your feet.
Make sure you’ve got all of your appropriate hunting licenses as well. If you’re a Texas non-resident you’ll need a Texas General Hunting License and a Non-resident Special Hunting License (either type 107 if you’re hunting more than 5 days or type 157 if you’ll be hunting for 5 days or less).
And of course you’ll be wanting to carry the essential hunting gear you would normally carry: water, knife, hat, spotting scope or binos, rangefinder, small first aid kit, line or rope, etc..
But the best thing you can carry with you is a good attitude and the confidence that comes from knowing your capabilities and your quarry.
Visit Ox Hunting Ranch’s website to learn more about exotic hunting and an awesome experience.