April 27, 2008
Nilgai hunting with Lomas Chicas
I went Nilgai hunting with two friends Ronnie and Leo, either of whom never saw a nilgai. Actually when we first talked about the hunt their question was "You want to hunt what?" I have hunted nilgai many times, even being a pseudo guide and skinner. It is important to remember my excellent nilgai skills.
Our group arrived late Thursday night and our host Richard was there to meet and greet us. The accommodations and food were excellent.
Friday morning after breakfast we met at the barn and received our orientation. Sam and his guides like large calibers and prefer a spine shot. They showed us a picture of a nilgai and told us where to shoot. We discussed stalking nilgai and we were fired up and ready to go. We split up with our guides, Ronnie with Fred, Leo with Richard, and I went with Sam. The hunting vehicles were in good shape and set up well for hunting. Leo carried a 300 Win Mag loaded with Remington 180 grain extended Range Boat Tail bullets, Ronnie carried a 338 Win Mag with Swift A-Frames. I brought my 416 Rem Mag with Swift A Frames and my 338 Win Mag with Barnes Triple Shock bullets.
Sam and I begin seeing nilgai almost immediately. We spotted a bull and stalked within 40 yards of it and another bull which had joined the first bull. We were never able to get a good shot on the larger bull through the cover and they disappeared. It is amazing how they can just evaporate in the dunes and cover. They can also run fast and far. The rest of the day we spent spotting and stalking nilgai but were never able to get a good shot on a bull I wanted. Even though I did not kill a nilgai, it was one of my best days of hunting ever. We saw at least 50 bulls and many cows.
When Sam and I returned to the barn we found my fellow hunters relaxing with their nilgai in coolers. Ronnie and Fred stalked within 47 yards of a nice bull and dropped it in its tracks with a spine shot. Leo and Richard got within 100 yards of a bull and Leo shot it, just missing the spine but causing massive damage to the lungs and liver. So far the nilgai novices have fired two shots and have killed two nilgai and I, the expert, had killed nothing.
Sam and I got an early start Saturday morning, however we had to wait out the thunderstorm that was pounding us with rain. Once it cleared we began hunting. That morning we saw very few bulls. The weather change affected all the game. We were not even seeing whitetail deer where as we saw probably 250 deer the day before. By noon I am starting to get nervous. Sam told me not to worry that we would get a good bull. At about 12:30 we spotted several nilgai and began about a 500 yard stalk. I brought the 338 in case a longer shot was required. (Not a ballistic thing, I am just really comfortable with the way the 338 shoots) Once we got close they disappeared. I was really beginning to worry. We then spotted another bull nearly a 1/2 mile away across open country with only small undulations for cover. We worked our way within 200 yards, no easy feat. I then worm crawled the last 50 yards to the top of a small rise. When I looked up the nilgai sensed something was not right. I froze flat on the ground for what seemed like an eternity. The bull finally turned away. I slung up the rifle in a prone position (my NRA Highpower experience paid off) and shot him at about 125 yards. For a moment after the shot I became a spectator. Then I remembered what I was hunting. I missed the next shot. The third shot hit him within 3 inched of the first. He finally went down. When I got close I put another shot at the base of the neck and it was over. Sam retrieved the vehicle and I pulled cockleburs and stickers from my arms and legs for a half hour. (Another good use for a Leatherman) I retrieved one bullet when we skinned the animal. Again, the expert four shots one kill, beginners two shots two kills.
Sam really worked hard with me and let me hunt and make the shots when it was time. Richard and Fred went the extra mile and brought Leo and Ronnie sight seeing on the ranch while I hunted the second day. We are all very pleased with the hunt.
7 Year Old Bull Nilgai, The animal kneeling in the back has changed shirts and cleaned up, but still does not look as good as the nilgai.
338 Win Mag 225 Grain TSX (I quess I could have cleaned it a little better)
February 22, 2008
This past weekend the largest squirrel on record was taken at a secret spot near Cow Island Bayou. The hunter, Joe (not his real name, he does not want the publicity) used a .416 Remington Magnum firing one shot as the beast charged the hunter from a giant oak tree. It is believed this ferocious varmint has been killing the local hogs, thus denying a certain individual the joy of mass killing the feral swine.