Booked a two person trophy bull hunt back in June with Cody @ Insight Outdoors. Cody was great to work with, and communicated quickly when I had (many) questions. We arrived at the ranch headquarters on Wednesday afternoon, and found clean, comfortable accommodations. The staff has been great, and the meals are out of bounds. Pretty sure I gained a few pounds. Our guide was a hoot, and knew Nilgai inside and out. The property we hunted is a 10,000 acre low-fence operation with a few beef cows and a plethora of game. We saw Nilgai, scimitar oryx, whitetail, Javelina, turkey, and one lone blackbuck.
The first morning was hot and humid, and the Nilgai were content to stay in the impenetrable brush. The few we saw disappeared quickly. Around 10:30, a cold front blew through with winds and rain. We ate lunch and took a siesta in the cabin while we waited for the rain to stop. Afterwards, the temps dropped considerably, and the critters came out to play. We were cruising down a sendero when we saw a big bull mosey across way out in front. The guide and I grabbed our guns and took off. The bull was following a cow/game trail and we paralleled it while trying to overtake him. We thought we lost him after a bit, but almost walked by him. He had stopped in the edge of a tree line, and was almost perfectly camouflaged. Guide quickly set up the sticks and I got on them while he threw up the binoculars to ensure it was a bull we wanted to take. He gave the go ahead, and I squeezed it off. Bull ran about 50 yards and piled up.
Brother was not so lucky and made three long stalks before connecting. I sat and watched one through my binoculars the first evening. We had spotted a big, dark bull down a sendero at about 920 yards. Brother and guide closed the distance pretty quickly, as they had good cover for about half the distance. Then the chess match began. The bull would feed, and they would make as much ground as possible before he looked up. I think I was as nervous as my brother. I would laser range the bull, then range brother. They eventually made it to 120 yards before running out of cover. I was waiting for the shot, as I could see brother on the sticks. However, there was some lower brush that prevented a vitals shot. They started slowly working out in the sendero to get a clear shot, and the bull began taking notice of the situation. He wasn’t exactly spooky, but stood in one spot and stared their direction for what seemed like hours. Just about the time they got inched out to where a good shot was possible, the bull decided enough was enough. He took out like his tail was on fire. That was about 45 minutes invested.
Second morning started out great, with game running everywhere on our way in. Temps in the mid 50’s had the Nilgai seeking sunshine in the more open areas. Within 30 minutes of cruising, we spotted a small herd of bulls on the edge of a big open field. The guide knew the area well enough to get us around them quickly without disturbing the bulls. The terrain and brush was about perfect for a stalk, and they popped out 120 yards from the bulls. Brother got on the sticks and waited for the guide to advise which bull was the biggest. Sent one downrange and the bull went about 20 yards before piling up in almost knee deep water. I enjoyed the dry end of the recovery while brother and guide slogged around in the mud to get a rope around the bull so we could pull him to dry land.
My bull. Gun was a Ruger Alaskan in .338 Win Mag shooting Federal Premium Trophy Copper 225 grain. Shot was approximately 60 yards with complete pass through. Boiler room was pretty well scrambled, and bull went 50 yards or so.
Brother’s bull. Gun was a pre-Garcia Sako in .375 H&H Mag shooting Federal Premium Cape Shok 260 grain Accubond. Shot was 120 yards, and bullet was recovered under the hide on opposite side. Will be weighing to see how much was retained.