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#6958287 - 11/13/17 10:41 AM National Refuge Archery Deer/Nilgai Hunt at Lower Rio Grande Valley Teniente Unit
Cajun Raider Online   content
Tracker

Registered: 07/23/11
Posts: 618
Loc: Texas
Hunting partner and I were excited to be drawn for the opportunity to hunt Nilgai. We did our research and travelled to Raymondville last Sunday. The rules stated absolutely "NO BAITING." Scouting started last Monday morning. We started scouting at 7:30 AM and by 9:00 AM found a small hurd of Nilgai. We walked the area and found all kinds of Nilgai poop in that area. We set up our Pop-Ups in the area and left. Tuesday morning we checked the area and all the Nilgai were in there pooping again. We decided to leave the area alone until the first morning of the hunt on Thursday. Thursday morning came and no Nilgai, no Nilgai that afternoon. No Nilgai on Friday either but we did happen to run into the Federal Game Warden. We asked him what could have happened? He laughed and said all the Nilgai and Deer were probably at the private property owners "Feeders." Saturday morning instead of hunting, we drove the boundary roads of the Unit and sure as Hades, using my 10 power binocs, we saw all the feeders were going off and throwing out protein, Deer and Nilgai were in separate groups but were around the feeders. We talked to several hunters drawn for that hunt and no one saw Deer or Nilgai during the hunt, one team did take a small feral hog. The thing that got me was a dad who had taken vacation days to take his 12 year old son on his first hunt. The disappointment on the boy's face said it all! A weeks worth of motel bills and expenses added up and increased the level of frustration. I understand the reasoning for "No Baiting" but in this instance where the hunting area is surrounded by private property owners who know when to start their feeders, it creates a very unlevel playing field and crushed a kid's excitement. There, I got it off my chest.
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Don't talk the talk if you didn't walk the walk.

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#6960333 - 11/14/17 03:49 PM Re: National Refuge Archery Deer/Nilgai Hunt at Lower Rio Grande Valley Teniente Unit [Re: Cajun Raider]
Ranch Dog Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1519
Loc: Cuero
Sorry dude, it sure enough sucks. These hunts have been available for a long time; heck throw Aransas, Laguna Atascosa, and East Lake in as well, and they all face what you have described. In that Tiennente and East Lake are so small, they are influenced the most by fence line pressure and public hunting pressure within. Up until TPWD was involved, the interest in these hunts pretty much went local, and those of us that have hunted these properties knew that the USF&WS only cared about generating hunter days. TPWD has become complicit in the same with their participation plus their public hunting system is going to expose more hunters to these previously unknown "opportunities." Hunter success has always been very low on any that I've mentioned and unfortunately, this is not spelled out by TPWD in words or a previous year's success rate. The USF&WS properties, even though they are a "Wildlife Refuge" are not managed on a level that the TPWD Wildlife Management Areas are. A USF&WS National Wildlife Refuge isn't manipulated at all anymore other than for the removal of exotics. I feel these hunts should also mention that helicopters are used annually to remove both feral hogs and nilgai (none on Aransas). Maybe both the East Lake and Tiennente should mention the boundary pressures as well. I don't think that either the USF&WS or TPWD will do that, it might influence application numbers. Heck, back in the pre-digital day, I've seen positions available on opening day because of lack of local interest in the hunts.
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#6960692 - 11/14/17 08:36 PM Re: National Refuge Archery Deer/Nilgai Hunt at Lower Rio Grande Valley Teniente Unit [Re: Cajun Raider]
pigplinker Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/07/11
Posts: 1414
Loc: Ben Wheeler,Tx
Good information on this. I had been looking to put in on these hunts, but will not put in anymore.

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#6960959 - 11/15/17 07:08 AM Re: National Refuge Archery Deer/Nilgai Hunt at Lower Rio Grande Valley Teniente Unit [Re: Cajun Raider]
Ranch Dog Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1519
Loc: Cuero
Being I put my opinion out there, I might as say what I think should be done with the USFWS NWRs now that TPWD is involved. They should be treated like the National Forests. Hunting should be open to anyone that has an Annual Public Hunting Permit and antlerless permits should be distributed, if warranted, via the public drawing system. ALL of these properties have an extremely lopsided kill towards younger deer; both antler restrictions and antlerless permits would go long ways to correcting several decades of abuse.

I think it would also end a lot of the frustration concerning the hunts. Would you drive 350 miles to hunt on public land with this level of restrictions (same as NF)? I wouldn't as the requirements tell me something about hunter density and the methods used to control the kill. In a way, an APHP returns the property to the locals in some respect. These large chunks out of Aransas, Cameron, and Willacy counties removed private hunting opportunities to those people just like they have in Montgomery, San Jacinto, and other NF counties. Local hunters are the one most likely to buy the permits and this spreads out to a point where the travel & effort isn't worth the hunt. Right now, the applicant has an expectation that the property has been managed for the resource like the WMAs are, whatever the drawing is for, and it has not been the case with these properties. The only interest the US has in NWRs are the minerals and that is continuously demonstrated. They will not let a hunter clip a twig nor will the spend a dollar on manipulating habitat for the benefit of wildlife yet they let drilling and pipeline companies clear excessively large pads and right of ways.

An Annual Public Hunting Permit would also address the removal of exotics that has become the focus of the NFWS NWR system. These places need to let hunters in to pressure those exotics year round. Whether the exotics are killed or chased out of bounds the goal has been achieved.
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#6961907 - 11/15/17 06:19 PM Re: National Refuge Archery Deer/Nilgai Hunt at Lower Rio Grande Valley Teniente Unit [Re: Cajun Raider]
bearcompound Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 01/02/13
Posts: 11
Ranch dog. I agree with you 100 percent. I've been emailing refuge managers down here all the time as well as the DOI. I live in valley and have to travel 6 hours to hunt public land. They should be treated like the national forests and amistad.

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#6962076 - 11/15/17 08:06 PM Re: National Refuge Archery Deer/Nilgai Hunt at Lower Rio Grande Valley Teniente Unit [Re: bearcompound]
Blank Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 09/20/10
Posts: 150
Loc: Idaho Falls, Idaho
Sorry to hear this, and I feel your frustration. I had hoped for a very successful hunt for you all. Live and learn I guess, I know I have on several of these hunts.

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#6962396 - 11/16/17 06:44 AM Re: National Refuge Archery Deer/Nilgai Hunt at Lower Rio Grande Valley Teniente Unit [Re: Cajun Raider]
magspa Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 01/15/12
Posts: 474
Sorry about your luck out there. What road where you seeing these from on the private property? Just curious cause what property that was cause my lease borders the Teniete.

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#6962419 - 11/16/17 07:08 AM Re: National Refuge Archery Deer/Nilgai Hunt at Lower Rio Grande Valley Teniente Unit [Re: magspa]
Ranch Dog Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1519
Loc: Cuero
Originally Posted By: magspa
Sorry about your luck out there. What road where you seeing these from on the private property? Just curious cause what property that was cause my lease borders the Teniete.

It would be very interesting to hear your experience, as a leaseholder, as to how USFW property hunting pressure effects your hunting (good or bad)? I really think it would be fair to hear your experiences.

In the past, I've looked at property purchases bordering both East Lake and Laguna Atascosa and one of the questions I've had is "what is it really going to be like?" The decisions not to buy ended up being typical side issues and what I thought was overvaluing the property based on the boundary. I can see it as being both a plus and minus.
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#6962535 - 11/16/17 08:34 AM Re: National Refuge Archery Deer/Nilgai Hunt at Lower Rio Grande Valley Teniente Unit [Re: Cajun Raider]
sleepyfish Offline


Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 46
Sorry 😐 you had a tough hunt. I have hunted all of these areas and have had great success hunting on them, but that being said they are extremely tough hunts and the animals are usually few and far between. I think that if they were concerned about hunters not harvesting enough animals then I donít understand why they donít allow baiting? Instead they rely on helicopters and professional hunters. I think maybe they should allow baiting, more gun hunts, crossbow hunting etc. I think a couple of these areas they donít even let adults hunt with rifles, yet they complain that hunters donít take enough animals.These refuges are fun to hunt because you have a opportunity to harvest a big nilgai and or a large buck, but I think they make things tougher than they should be. Itís almost like they really donít want you to shoot anything. I also wish that maybe they would allow you to at least retrieve a harvested animal with your vehicle, I mean I have killed a nilgai a mile in in 90 degree weather, and itís a hell of a chore getting those animals out of the woods and on ice before any spoilage occurs. Anyway I guess I am rambling. I do know that being a local made it easier because I had more time to Scout and able to talk to people that have hunted these areas before.

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