Kayleigh’s adventure

KAYLEIGHIt was Kayleigh’s turn to go the King Ranch in South Texas and try her hand at nilgai hunting.

Kayleigh Wright is a junior at Canyon High School and recently went hunting with her dad, Darby.

Free ranging nilgai antelope are some of the toughest and most difficult animals to hunt in North America. Bulls are extremely wary, often spotting the hunter well before getting within shooting range. Often exceeding 600 pounds in weight, nilgai bulls live in some of the most hostile environments along the South Texas coast with mesquite, catclaw bush and many other thorn-infested plants growing in this region. Many times huge bulls live in and around vast areas of giant sand dunes.

Kayleigh had practiced shooting with her dad prior to this hunting trip. Oscar Cortez, our hunting guide, took Kayleigh on many long hikes and stalks, looking for a big bull. Walking in soft white sand with searing heat and humidity was tiring. Countless miles were covered before lunchtime. A quick tailgate lunch out in the brush and a siesta in the shade of a mesquite tree replenished everyone’s energy level.

Several young bulls and cows were seen during afternoon stalks. While stalking, the group was on the lookout for big snakes.

“Big rattlers have been on the move lately — be on the lookout,” Oscar warned.

It had been a very long day and the sun was on its way to the horizon. As we proceeded, easing through a giant oak mott (densely growing live oak trees in a huge group), Darby said “There’s a huge bull in the thick oaks.” 

Oscar quietly told Kayleigh to “get ready for a clear shot.”  The monster bull was hiding behind oak trees and wild grape vines.

Kayleigh was positioned for a clear shot at the white throat patch with the 30-06. At the report of the gun, nothing happened, the bull just stood there. Oscar said, “Shoot again,” but before she could shoot, the bull fell on its side and started kicking violently. Oscar told us we better run up and put in another shot before the bull got up and ran away.

Kayleigh ran with her dad up to the massive bull and put in a finishing shot, and it was over!  The bull was a beast — old, silver and huge. Excited yells and handshakes were given all around.

Wow, what an adventure!  The last day of Kayleigh’s south Texas trip was a day spent fishing the  Lower Laguna Madre, where she managed to boat a 27-inch redfish and 20-inch speckled trout.

This trip spent with dad won’t be forgotten for a while.