I'm a firearms hunter with the main interest being nilgai and my choice would have been the LRV Teniente over LA because:
- No briefing
- No gators
I like all three properties, tossing the East Lake into this as well, and hunted them with a Game Warden friend but haven't been drawn since they were put into TPWD. About six years ago, that friend was at a meeting in the Valley with both Refuge managers and asked them which of the three was the best nilgai property, hands down they replied Teniente.
Teniente and East Lake are loosely managed for the hunt, you might see a USFS LEO, but everyone I have met has been friendly, and I cannot say that for the LA. The LRV LEOs have even given us their cell phone numbers and said they would drive back and retrieve anything we shot. At LA on a deer hunt, I came out to my truck for lunch and an LEO pulled up and asked me why my cell phone was turned off. I guess the Feds have the dollars for the tracking equipment and during the mandatory briefing, we had to list our cell phone number, vehicle info & plate number. I told him if I left it on, the battery would not be available if I needed it. He told me to turn it on.
My general observation; comparing a TPWD property to the refuges mentioned plus Aransas is that the deer quality has gone downhill in my lifetime; I attended the first bowhunts on both Aransas and LA. The properties are not managed for whitetails like a TPWD property and a lot of young bucks are killed which has affected both the quality and numbers.
I would suggest a popup for hunting as it is easier to pack in and hide. Still, a lot of bowhunters will carry a tripod in but most of these guys have hunted the properties prior and know exactly where they are headed. You don't need to wait to scout, you can walk into these refuges any time of the year except during the scheduled hunts.