Complete Guide to Nilgai Hunting

Nilgai is an excellent game animal to hunt and can be hunted all year round. The best place to hunt Nilgai is in Texas, with many outfitters to choose between. Nilgai is edible and the meat makes for a tasty wholesome meal.

How Much Does it Cost to Hunt Nilgai?

Prices for hunting Nilgai can vary quite considerably and there are numerous other factors to consider when deciding on how much to spend. The average cost to hunt Nilgai is $5000-$6000.

Things to consider when determining the full amount of a Nilgai hunt:

  1. Trophy fee of the animal
  2. Daily rate including lodging, meals, and drinks
  3. Guide service fees, including the skinning and caping
  4. Ammunition and rifle hire, if needed
  5. Meat processing
  6. Hunting licenses and permits

Reviewing twenty hunting outfitters that offer Nilgai hunting, we compiled an easy to view table with the lowest, highest, and average prices for each section.

Nilgai Hunting

Where Can You Hunt Nilgai?

Although the Nilgai is endemic to the Indian sub-continent, it can only legally be hunted in the United States, specifically in Texas. Nilgai can be hunted in India but only under strict restrictions, by citizens of India and not for commercial purposes.

These large antelope were originally introduced to South Texas in the mid-1930s by the King Ranch in South Texas. Since then, numbers have increased steadily, and they can be found throughout much of the State.

Classified as an exotic species by the Texas government, with no bag limit or possession limit, means there is also no closed season and can therefore be hunted all around.

Because Nilgai is classified as an exotic species they must therefore be contained behind a high fence. This means there is no free-roaming Nilgai in the State of Texas, and all hunting takes place on private property. 

How Do You Hunt Nilgai?

Nilgai can be hunted with either rifle or bow, however, they are large animals with adult bulls weighing in close to 600lbs and standing almost four feet at the shoulder.

It is therefore important to ensure that you use the correct equipment when hunting them. A minimum suggested rifle caliber would be a .300 Win Mag with a 180-grain bullet and for a compound bow at least a 65-pound bow with a 350-grain arrow and 125-grain broadhead.

Shot placement on a Nilgai is different from those endemic species of the US such as Whitetail and Mule Deer. The vitals, in this case, the heart and lungs, sit slightly forward in the chest cavity.

Therefore, a recommended shot placement on a Nilgai standing broadside would be directly up the front leg and at the point where the leg becomes the shoulder, place the crosshairs six to eight inches higher. In essence, just below the middle of the shoulder.

With regards to bow hunting, your best angle would be for the Nilgai to be standing slightly quartering away and aim for the fold of skin behind the shoulder. This will allow the arrow to miss the large shoulder joint and hit the vitals.

Mature Nilgai bulls differ from females in that they carry horns about five to eight inches in length with bigger muscular bodies. Their coats resemble an almost blue color as opposed to the females who are light yellow-brown.

Being grazers, they are generally found in open grassland areas feeding. This may make for a difficult stalk and will mean a longer shot. However, they are also comfortable in thick wooded areas finding shelter during bad weather or shade from the Sun.

Nilgai will need to drink almost daily and will frequent watering holes when available. This will help to determine the best hunting method when pursuing them. Nilgai can form herds of up to twenty individuals, so one needs to be alert when stalking a specific animal.

Generally skittish in nature, with sharp eyesight and a keen sense of smell, Nilgai can be tough to hunt. There are various methods to hunt them:

  • In a blind overlooking a feeding and watering spot is the best option

  • Spot and stalk hunting. Finding Nilgai a distance away with your binoculars and then stalking them within shooting range. This is the more difficult method but makes for an exciting experience.

  • At night with the use of spotlights or thermal technology. Be sure to check all State rules and regulations in this regard.

Can You Eat Nilgai?

Yes, you can eat Nilgai.

Nilgai meat is considered a delicacy, with a likening to beef and makes for excellent table far. It is very lean meat with a mild flavor and medium texture.

The tenderloins, ribs, and back straps are the best cuts for cooking with. The meat can also be ground and stewed to enhance the flavors.

As with most meats, handling the meat once the animal has been hunted is important. With a Nilgai being a large animal, it is important to get the meat cooled down as soon as possible.

Conclusion

Nilgai makes for an exciting hunt and great table fare. Nilgai can be hunted throughout most of Texas an have no bag limits and can be hunted year round.