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Old 01-23-2017, 01:10 PM   #134
JFRITZ06
Four Point
 
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Wharton
Hunt In: Sonora/New Mexico/Colorado
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Originally Posted by JFRITZ06 View Post
Just a follow up...

I returned from my hunt today and this is how it went.

I arrived Thursday morning and it did not get off to a good start. Even though we were told we could scout the day prior to the hunt, they had all the gates locked. The "lead" ranger, Marion was by no means friendly and made it very obvious she did not want to cater to the hunters. She was a whole different person when she interacted with the two groups of bird watchers that I had to wait on before getting any attention. She said I was free to scout within the open units on foot or by bicycle. After getting the Refuge manager Boyd involved, Marion was instructed to open the gate that allows access along unit 8. She definitely expressed her feelings at this point.

I walked all of unit 8 and most of 3. I found some animals in 8 and planned on hunting there opening day along with a few guys I met down there. (I got to meet some really cool people and look forward to future hunts with these guys) After a full day hunting the only encounters I had was hunter after hunter after hunter walking up and down the roads. (No wonder the harvest rates are so low) On day two, I decided to hunt unit 2 with another TBH and get as far away from roads and hunters as possible. This strategy paid off. After a very heavy blanket of fog lifted, it wasn't long before we started seeing Nilgai. I had a group of 5 cows/calves run across one of the flats I was overlooking and stop in the brush about 50 yds behind me. I elected to pass in hopes of a bull showing himself. Just minutes later a mature bull emerged from the same trail the cows took to cross the flat. He made it half way across the flat and stopped to mark a scat pile. That was his last move. I shot him straight on in the center of the chest flipping him over backwards. He jumped up stood there briefly and fell over to expire. During all the commotion, another large heard of Nilgai ran out of the brush and crossed the flat. It was an awesome experience. On the other hand, what was to follow was just the opposite of awesome. Gutting, quartering, caping and hauling a 500 lb animal out 2 miles in 91 degree weather in one trip wasn't too awesome.

After checking in the animal, I had to wait a few hours for the inspectors to get there to inspect for ticks on the cape. This gave me a chance to visit with the Federal game warden as well as some Reduge employees. We spoke about the hunts that are run out there and compared them to some of the state park hunts I have been on. (There is no comparison)

I gave them some simple ideas of how they could more efficiently run these hunts and drastically increase the hunter success rate based off what I've seen at the state park hunts. They all had the same look on their faces, the you're wasting your time look. The Federal Warden spoke up and said " We do not benefit from these hunts. We do not make any money off the tags and the hunters are not killing enough animals. It is just easier for us to do helicopter hunts. Eventually we will probably go to strictly to helicopter hunts. "

This was all after our conversation of trying to get more hunters out there and trying to increase success rate as well as talking about donating the meat harvested by the helicopter hunts to the locals instead of allowing it to be sold.

Needless to say, long story short, the future of Nilgai hunts on the refuge does not look good. I was very disappointed in the attitude and mentality of the individuals conducting this hunt.

As far as the actual hunt, I had a great time and got to meet some great guys. Good luck to the future hunters. I hope they take the advice everyone is giving them and improve on all that was mentioned above.

Thanks for all the advice and info. I'll post pictures as soon as I can. The site is not allowing me to at this time.


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