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Old 10-29-2020, 03:34 AM   #1
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Default Bahia Grande

I was lucky to get drawn on the second draw (Feb 5-7). I guess we will all be veterans after this hunt. Unlike the Atascosa, I have no idea where to start. Are we going to be able to drive down the road or will it be bike access only? It is a pretty big area to tackle with a bike and with only 3 days to hunt it.
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Old 10-29-2020, 08:17 AM   #2
ppeeks59
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I'll be there Feb 5-7 too. A ranger has said the unit has never before been hunted and is "infested" with Nilgai. He also said due to the lack of any hunting there, and perhaps its proximity to town, the Nilgai are supposedly "less skittish" than in the Atascosa area. Still, if we can't drive the almost 9-mile access road from the entrance on 48, that's going to be an exceptionally tough hunt as we will simply push all of the animals north as we all enter together. Also, I don't see any parking at the 100 end and the first mile and a half of the dirt road ("Pennsylvania Ave - Woods Side" on the map) is in the no-hunt zone.
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Old 10-29-2020, 08:29 AM   #3
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It is far from clear to me how we are even supposed to access the upper western section of the BG unit. It appears that there is a path (footpath? dirt track?) but there is no parking at the road end of that path either, and that part of the unit is separated from the rest (and the main entrance gate on 48) by water.
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Old 10-29-2020, 10:19 AM   #4
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Spoke to the park service. We will be allowed to drive in there but will need to stay on the main road. The only entrance and exit will be through highway 48. That is not bad. Some areas in the Atascosa are farther.

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Old 10-29-2020, 06:21 PM   #5
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Thanks for doing the asking, RGV Hunter. Not bad at all. In fact, the farthest you can walk from the main access road and still be in the hunt area is 2.2 miles by my figuring, unless you want to hunt the western segment. The closest we'll be able to park a truck to that western segment area is about a 3 mile hike, and that's just to get to the beginning of the hunting zone. You can still walk another 3.5 miles or so from there. So if you are the hard-core type who really feels the need to hunt that side, and don't mind a 3 to 6.5 mile walk or bike ride across rattlesnake infested sand back to your truck in the darkness, that western segment is for you!
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Old 10-29-2020, 06:33 PM   #6
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You lucky dogs. Out of all the hunts i applied for, this was my number pick and I didn't get it. Get a kill boys!
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Old 10-29-2020, 11:00 PM   #7
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Keep in mind, that we only have 3 days for this hunt. I would recommend picking a spot and hunting it. We will not have much time to explore. It will be in February so it will be cold for Rio Grande Valley standards. At least you should be able to carry the meat for a bit without having to worry about spoilage.

I have a hunt in next week at the Atascosa and it may be hot so anything that is killed will need to be taken out pretty quick like I would say. At least that has been my experience when I get drawn on the early hunts.
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Old 10-30-2020, 10:07 AM   #8
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... . I would recommend picking a spot and hunting it. ...
Totally agree. Look at the area on Google Earth -- there's no shortage of potentially promising spots to pick.
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Old 10-30-2020, 10:36 AM   #9
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In. Drawn for the Feb 19-21
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Old 10-30-2020, 10:39 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by RGV Hunter View Post
Keep in mind, that we only have 3 days for this hunt. I would recommend picking a spot and hunting it. We will not have much time to explore. It will be in February so it will be cold for Rio Grande Valley standards. At least you should be able to carry the meat for a bit without having to worry about spoilage.

I have a hunt in next week at the Atascosa and it may be hot so anything that is killed will need to be taken out pretty quick like I would say. At least that has been my experience when I get drawn on the early hunts.
What temp is "cold" for down there?
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Old 10-30-2020, 12:10 PM   #11
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What temp is "cold" for down there?
On an extremely cold day maybe 40 degrees but mostly in the 60s for a few days. Not that it has never snowed here but don't hold your breath.
I think February is probably the coldest month of the year.
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Old 11-03-2020, 09:07 AM   #12
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Spoke to the park service. We will be allowed to drive in there but will need to stay on the main road. The only entrance and exit will be through highway 48. That is not bad. Some areas in the Atascosa are farther.
Did you get clarity on leaving the car in the unit while hunting? I was under the impression that you could drive in to drop off and pick up, but had to park near the entrance otherwise.
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Old 11-04-2020, 01:44 AM   #13
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Did you get clarity on leaving the car in the unit while hunting? I was under the impression that you could drive in to drop off and pick up, but had to park near the entrance otherwise.
They said we could drive up to the turn around but I don't know where that is.
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Old 11-04-2020, 08:34 PM   #14
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They said we could drive up to the turn around but I don't know where that is.

Dis yíall download the brochure?


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Old 11-04-2020, 08:37 PM   #15
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Laguna Atascosa.pdf


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Old 01-15-2021, 01:10 PM   #16
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Is anyone else getting excited about the first hunt in decades in the Bahia Grande Unit? I broke a rib or two about a month ago but that's not stopping me from this incredible opportunity.
About driving in -- it is my understanding we can drive in and leave our trucks anywhere along the main road, and we cannot drive off the main road either. It is almost nine miles from the entrance on Hwy 48 to the turnaround near Rte 100, and in most places there is land extending at least a half mile perpendicular to the road in one direction or the other, sometimes more and sometimes both, so there is A LOT of virgin huntable territory. The funny thing is that people sometimes see nilgai right behind HEB in town, so in theory you could just get a donut & coffee in the morning and walk behind the supermarket and start your stalk into the Unit, except that the strip of land between town and the Reserve is private property.
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Old 01-17-2021, 03:08 PM   #17
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OK folks, now that this is in just a couple of weeks, has anyone given any serious thought to how we are supposed to hunt the Bahia Grande Unit? There is almost no cover anywhere. Even where there seems to some taller brush, it is extremely sparse. So getting down from the stand without being seen is going to be tough. I'm beginning to wonder if it even makes sense to set up the tripod stand. Maybe stay low and play hide-and-stalk on the ground the whole time makes more sense? Any thoughts?
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Old 01-18-2021, 02:15 PM   #18
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OK folks, now that this is in just a couple of weeks, has anyone given any serious thought to how we are supposed to hunt the Bahia Grande Unit? There is almost no cover anywhere. Even where there seems to some taller brush, it is extremely sparse. So getting down from the stand without being seen is going to be tough. I'm beginning to wonder if it even makes sense to set up the tripod stand. Maybe stay low and play hide-and-stalk on the ground the whole time makes more sense? Any thoughts?
One of the ideas I've been toying with is a turkey blind in/around the brush if there are any dung piles around. I drew for the muzzle loader weekend, so it is a bit more viable than for the bow hunters before me. Otherwise, I've had the same debate that hide-and-stalk might be a good plan. I would worry about the snakes down there if the weather gets warm enough.
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Old 01-18-2021, 02:39 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by ppeeks59 View Post
OK folks, now that this is in just a couple of weeks, has anyone given any serious thought to how we are supposed to hunt the Bahia Grande Unit? There is almost no cover anywhere. Even where there seems to some taller brush, it is extremely sparse. So getting down from the stand without being seen is going to be tough. I'm beginning to wonder if it even makes sense to set up the tripod stand. Maybe stay low and play hide-and-stalk on the ground the whole time makes more sense? Any thoughts?
I would suggest hunting in pairs. The Mogote pasture of the Kennedy is almost all dunes and sparse brush. When I hunted it, we would spot the herds from the top of a dune. One person would stay and communicate with the other(s) via radios. We would use the dunes as cover and just keep them between us and the nilgai even if that meant losing the spotter for a short time. With few exceptions, it worked very well.
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Old 01-19-2021, 07:38 AM   #20
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Team idea sounds like a good one. I’m bringing a ghost blind for ground hunting. Anyone know how orientation works? Still the morning before the hunt or have they changed that? I’m on the muzzleloader hunt also.

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Old 01-19-2021, 07:43 AM   #21
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Anybody hunting 2-19 to 2-21 who want to team hunt?
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Old 01-19-2021, 09:37 AM   #22
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Anyone know how orientation works? Still the morning before the hunt or have they changed that? Iím on the muzzleloader hunt also.
I've heard that it is online now due to Covid. They'll send a link in a follow up email closer to the actual hunt date. The email has been coming in the week before the weekend you are hunting (around that Tuesday or something). Other guys can chime in and tell me if they got theirs sooner or later.
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Old 01-19-2021, 11:46 AM   #23
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Is anyone here on the archery hunt Feb 12-14? I'll be there! I'm thinking of going the popup/brush blind option. I agree that a Tripod isn't really an option here.
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Old 01-19-2021, 02:21 PM   #24
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I've heard that it is online now due to Covid. They'll send a link in a follow up email closer to the actual hunt date. The email has been coming in the week before the weekend you are hunting (around that Tuesday or something). Other guys can chime in and tell me if they got theirs sooner or later.
Thanks
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Old 01-19-2021, 04:32 PM   #25
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Anybody hunting 2-19 to 2-21 who want to team hunt?
I'm on this hunt also and will be hunting with a buddy already or I would have taken you up on your offer. I PM'd you my # in case you need a hand with anything while we are down there. Looking forward to the hunt!
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Old 01-20-2021, 07:29 AM   #26
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Thanks for all the thoughts and comments. I'm on the first hunt, Feb 5-7 archery. Those of us on that one won't have the benefit of any news, info, etc. from any prior hunts. I'm definitely interested in teaming up with another hunter so if anyone is interested in hanging 'round at least some of the time with this old guy, PM me.
I did start to walk into the unit when I had to take a day off from that brutally hot November archery hunt in the main part of the reserve. While there isn't much cover vegetation, there's enough if you keep low to the ground. And there are draws and sloughs too, so there is some elevation change, but not much. The road is built up on a berm -- otherwise it would flood at high tide like the whole rest of the area. And did someone say snakes? If you do not wear snake gaiters, you are simply asking for trouble IMHO. A local guy I met in November told of stepping on a rattler that he swears was completely invisible in the sand, while hiking in the BG unit. It struck his gaiters twice -- no harm no foul -- but he said he was really shaken up by the incident.
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Old 01-20-2021, 07:31 AM   #27
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And the USFWS Rangers SPECIFICALLY WARN US to NOT SHOOT SNAKES as they are all protected within the Reserve. But I have to say, if it comes down to me or a snake, I plan to win that fight.
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Old 01-20-2021, 07:39 AM   #28
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I'm on this hunt also and will be hunting with a buddy already or I would have taken you up on your offer. I PM'd you my # in case you need a hand with anything while we are down there. Looking forward to the hunt!
PM received and replied.
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Old 01-20-2021, 10:59 AM   #29
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Thanks for all the thoughts and comments. I'm on the first hunt, Feb 5-7 archery. Those of us on that one won't have the benefit of any news, info, etc. from any prior hunts...
Best of Luck! Those of us on the following weekend will be looking forward to your observations and advice.
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Old 01-21-2021, 01:50 PM   #30
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Getting more excited every day, still hoping to find at least a part-time spotting/stalking buddy for the first archery hunt Feb 5-7.
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Old 01-23-2021, 08:09 AM   #31
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It will be a learning experience for everyone.

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Old 01-23-2021, 02:15 PM   #32
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cool to see this thread active, I didnít draw this year, but excited for everyone!
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Old 01-26-2021, 03:56 PM   #33
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nly? It is a pretty big area to tackle with a bike and with only 3 days to hunt it.
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Old 01-26-2021, 08:07 PM   #34
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nly? It is a pretty big area to tackle with a bike and with only 3 days to hunt it.
As has been said before, we will be allowed to drive the main road from the entrance on 48 to the turnaround about 9 miles in, close to 100. We are not allowed to drive off that road except to park alongside it. There does not seem to be enough distance in any direction from the road to warrant a using a bike, unless you are going to cycle around to the huntable northwest section that is not reachable at all by road and separated from the rest of the hunt area by off-limits land. That's about a 3 mile ride from the turnaround, I figure.

Also, we should all think about the fact that there is so little cover in this unit that every time you move around -- especially on the road which is elevated on a berm -- many other hunters and every nilgai in the unit is probably going to see you moving.

As has also been said, the best advice is probably "find a spot, do your best to hide, and hunt it." This unit is not at all like most of the main LANWR terrain. It is almost entirely barren or covered with low ground scrub, like the most open parts of Unit 5 along North Point Rd, or parts of Unit 3, in the main reserve. If you've been there, you know what I'm talking about. In those areas the nilgai have a clear unobstructed view of a half a mile or more, sometimes way more. Even Unit 5's Horse Island is practically lush with good cover in comparison to almost anywhere in Bahia Grande, as best as I can tell from studying Goggle Earth imagery.

Looking forward to the challenge coming up soon.
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Old 01-27-2021, 08:36 AM   #35
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.... the best advice is probably "find a spot, do your best to hide, and hunt it."
Yep, Agree 100% and hope that all other hunters figure this out early in the hunt.
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Old 01-30-2021, 07:10 AM   #36
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Made up my mind. Leaving the tripod stand at home -- it just seems too tall for this terrain. If I'm making a mistake, oh well. Bringing my low-profile hunting chair, a bunch of camo netting, and a bag of zip ties. I will try to find someplace where I can string up the netting to create a makeshift 3-sided ground blind that I can hide inside while staying as low to the ground as possible, and easily enter and exit while also staying as low as possible. The last time I used that technique for WT deer with one of my sons, two fawns entered the blind and sniffed our clothes and rifles before their moms decided that something wasn't quite right about the whole scene.
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Old 01-30-2021, 08:28 AM   #37
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Nilgai are more wary than whitetails. I bet a ghost blind would work well
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Old 01-30-2021, 08:33 AM   #38
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Nilgai are more wary than whitetails. I bet a ghost blind would work well
Don't I know it! This will be my third bow hunt for nilgai at LANWR. I've only managed to get within arrow range of one of them once, but she was running. Of course that isn't counting the big cow that slowly ambled within 10 yards of me and my wife on scouting day, seemingly without a care in the world -- as if she knew we could not shoot that day.
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Old 01-30-2021, 06:20 PM   #39
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Nilgai are more wary than whitetails. I bet a ghost blind would work well
I tried to get one but it will not arrive in time.

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Old 01-31-2021, 03:32 PM   #40
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I would suggest hunting in pairs. The Mogote pasture of the Kennedy is almost all dunes and sparse brush. When I hunted it, we would spot the herds from the top of a dune. One person would stay and communicate with the other(s) via radios. We would use the dunes as cover and just keep them between us and the nilgai even if that meant losing the spotter for a short time. With few exceptions, it worked very well.
Doing a drive sounds good if you are the only ones there. There will be hunters set up all over the place (50 to 100). If you spook game from other hunters you may have a lot of ****** off hunters. I use this tactic in West Texas to hunt sheep but there is no one else hunting there. It is just my team.

It is public land and you can hunt it however you want. Out of courtesy, I think you should avoid that. There may be situations where a drive is warranted. It just depends where other hunters are set up. That is my two cents on that.

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Old 02-02-2021, 01:26 PM   #41
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Good luck to the guys hunting this week!! I’m trying to book a room for my hunt in a couple weeks and it sounded like the in person orientation is not required since it is online. Can you let me know if that is the case for your hunt?

Can’t wait to hear how y’all do.
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Old 02-02-2021, 02:26 PM   #42
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Has anyone received the email package for this weekend's hunt?
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Old 02-02-2021, 02:28 PM   #43
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Good luck to the guys hunting this week!! Iím trying to book a room for my hunt in a couple weeks and it sounded like the in person orientation is not required since it is online. Can you let me know if that is the case for your hunt?

Canít wait to hear how yíall do.
Find a room yet?
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Old 02-02-2021, 05:04 PM   #44
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Find a room yet?
Yeah just trying to firm up dates before I book.
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Old 02-02-2021, 06:28 PM   #45
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Has anyone received the email package for this weekend's hunt?
Not yet.

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Old 02-02-2021, 06:56 PM   #46
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I saw about 6 nilgai today driving home this afternoon along highway 100. They're out there and good luck.

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Old 02-02-2021, 08:32 PM   #47
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The nilgai are out there, from highway 100 to highway 48. The Rangers say the Unit is "infested" with nilgai. W have been given this unique opportunity to hunt the Bahia Grande Unit in the hope that it will reduce the number of nilgai-vehicle interactions along both highways 100 and 48. Let's all hunt smart and do what we can to help. Remember that nilgai are not white-tailed deer. They are active during the entire day and sleep at night. There is no such thing as "the dawn hunt period" or "the dusk hunt period" for nilgai. You are just as likely to see them moving at 1 pm as at 8am. So, don't push them by walking around in the middle of the day, and we'll all do better.
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Old 02-02-2021, 10:16 PM   #48
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Awesome Thread... I'm super anxious to get updates from you guys on this hunt...
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Old 02-02-2021, 11:12 PM   #49
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This hunt will be tough. It is a big area but most of it is covered with water. It will be a learning experience. I have been looking at it and there are not a lot of places to set up. 50 permits were issued but at least 49 are going. (My son-in-law could not get the days off from work.

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Old 02-03-2021, 09:11 AM   #50
csbonn
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Lake Jackson
Hunt In: Jackson County
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Originally Posted by RGV Hunter View Post
This hunt will be tough. It is a big area but most of it is covered with water. It will be a learning experience. I have been looking at it and there are not a lot of places to set up. 50 permits were issued but at least 49 are going. (My son-in-law could not get the days off from work.

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Make that 48...my hunting partner can't get off either!
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