A Trip To India
On The Rusty Spur

By Steve Mahurin

Our trip to India was in reality a trip to the Texas hill country in order to hunt an animal that is native to the mysterious continent of India.This animal is the Nilgai Antelope. This animal is probably the oddest looking of the many exotics that have established a big foothold in the State of Texas. Many of these species now number more animals here than in their native land. The Nilgai is one of those species and has been in Texas for decades, ever since the original owners of the fabled King Ranch, just to have something different to look at stocked them. Their populations have now risen to almost nuisance levels.

The Nilgai are to say the least, different. Older males are a bluish gray in color, and for that reason are nicknamed the "Blue Bull". For the trophy hunter they come up kind short, with a really good trophy male growing to a maximum of nine to ten inches in length and being a coal black color. Females have no horns and are smaller with a tan coat. Males can weigh over 600 pounds.

We were to hunt our Indian quarry on a ranch near Harper, Texas called the Rusty Spur. Our friend and guide on many hunts, L. R. Castleberry, picked us up at our motel early in the morning on July 1st to begin our short trip to the Rusty Spur. It was a typical Texas, July day. Even at 6:00 a. m. it was already hot and muggy. The sky was agate blue without a cloud to be seen anywhere.

We arrived at our destination and nearly immediately started seeing game. We eased down a narrow road through lush green, waist high vegetation and large stately trees. On our right was a dry creek bed containing nothing but smooth, polished, white rocks. I told Shirley and L. R. that this would be a great spot to get a shot, with its white rocks and only about 50 - 60 yards wide. We were seeing a good number of the denizens of India, but after an hour we still hadn't seen any Nilgai. We were seeing the beautiful spotted Axis Deer with wide sweeping antlers, whole groups of them. In the open areas the Blackbuck Antelope with there striking twisting horns and namesake, jet black hides, chased after the tan colored females in a seemingly, never ending, mating ritual. There was even a few Sambar Stags roaming around. This place was a treasure trove of game animals.

For over three hours we beat the brush looking for the two Nilgai bulls the owner had told L. R. was on the place. We had lots o luck, all bad. We did finally see them flitting through some thick brush. They played cat and mouse with us for another hour or so but never gave us even a slight chance for a shot. Then they were gone and no matter where we searched nor what we tried there was no sign of them. This went on for maybe another hour or so. I was beginning to wonder if they had just gone up in a puff of smoke. We figured we had covered the whole ranch maybe twenty times with the exception of the creek bed area we had passed right after entering the gate.

You know the old saying,"If it ain't here it must be somewhere else". That said we figured logic told us, try by the creek, so off we went. It took us about fifteen minutes to get there. That's right you guessed it, there were our two bulls one standing knee deep in the weeds, the other right in the middle of the creek bed. This time they seemed real nonchalant about our presence and just stood there watching us. Out came the binoculars to try to figure out which one had the best length and mass to make a record book trophy. It was quickly decided that the one closest to us, at about forty yards, was the best of the two. I figured that at this distance the shot was just a formality. At the report from the Remington Model 700, 30/06, the bull didn't even flinch. He just looked around as if he was wondering what that noise was. Of course I quickly jacked another of the 180-grain core-loct bullets into the chamber and fired again. This time the bull went straight down on his back with all four legs waving in the air. Then, He got right back up on all fours. As I put a third round in the chamber, I thought to myself, " Am I shooting blanks? ". At the sound of the shot he went down again, this time to stay. I had been told that the Nilgai was a tough cookie to put down, but this was ridiculous. My Nilgai had 9 1/8 x 8 6/8 horns making it a solid gold medal trophy. My trip to India was short but fun and rewarding.

Written by Steve Mahurin on June 8, 2000.


Steve Mahurin
25 North Heights
La Marque, Texas 77568

Email: samahurin@comcast.net

Copyright 2001 - 2011

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