By the 1950s very few wild animals were found outside parks, a process which was the result of over hunting, introduction of domestic animals and overgrazing. The domestic animals introduced diseases which devastated local wild life and many areas became devoid of meaningful wild life.
The fall of apartheid and related increase in tourism coupled with private ownership of wild animals resulted in the reintroduction of many species of animals and a rapid rise in the safari and game ranching industries.
Game ranching in South Africa is now unique in terms of species diversity and South Africa is one of only a few countries in the world where ownership of wildlife is vested with private landowners.
Over the ensuing years, an industry, unique to South Africa has sprung up occupying 20m ha (20%) of South Africa's marginal agricultural land. Today there are almost 20 million head of game on private ranches in comparison there are 14 million head of cattle in South Africa. The State, in the form of National and Provincial parks conserves only 6 million ha, on which are found only about 5 to 6 million game animals.
The tremendous growth and development of the game ranching industry is clearly visible throughout South Africa. Not only is supporting infrastructure springing up all over the country, but game numbers are constantly on the increase and so is the number of hectares dedicated to game ranching.
We are conservation oriented owning vast numbers of established herds of wild game in their natural habitat on large areas of land. This was achieved over many years of reintroducing game and conversation. Our hunts are only large free-range conservancies. We limit the amount of hunting parties to eight per year to ensure exclusive and high-quality hunting.
Nick Bowker and his family owns a significant portion of the land that you will be hunting on. You will have exclusive access to some of the best free-range hunting areas in South Africa, hunting animals in their habitat, for superior quality and an authentic experience, ensuring you the best African Safaris.
The impala is found in woodlands and sometimes on the interface between woodlands and savannahs; it inhabits places close to water. The impala is diurnal (active mainly during the day), though activity tends to cease during the hot midday hours; they feed and rest at night. Three distinct social groups can be observed – the territorial males, bachelor herds and female herds. The territorial males hold territories where they may form harems of females; territories are demarcated with urine and faeces and defended against juvenile or male intruders. Bachelor herds tend to be small, with less than 30 members.
The impala is a medium-sized, slender antelope. The head-and-body length is around 130 centimetres (51 in). Males reach approximately 75–92 centimetres (30–36 in) at the shoulder, while females are 70–85 centimetres (28–33 in) tall. Males typically weigh 53–76 kilograms (117–168 lb) and females 40–53 kilograms (88–117 lb). Females are hornless and smaller than males.
Males grow slender, lyre-shaped horns 45–92 centimetres (18–36 in) long. The horns, strongly ridged and divergent, are circular in
section and hollow at the base. Their arch-like structure allows interlocking of horns, which helps a male throw off his opponent during
fights; horns also protect the skull from damage.
The glossy coat of the impala shows two-tone colouration – the reddish brown back and the tan flanks; these are in sharp contrast to the white underbelly. Facial features include white rings around the eyes and a light chin and snout
Another Trophy most hunters want to take on their fist hunt. The smooth skin and two tone red coloration make for a striking trophy. Impala are very alert and a number of stalks may be required. Impala give a number of loud snorts whenever they have sensed danger. The stalk will likely be through scrub and brush.
Their habitat includes mixed scrub woodlands. They will occasionally venture onto plains only if there is a large abundance of bushes, but normally avoid such open areas to avoid becoming an easy target for their predators.
Like many other antelope, male kudus can be found in bachelor groups, but they are more likely to be solitary. When threatened, the kudu will often run away rather than fight. Wounded bulls have been known to charge the attacker, hitting the attacker with their sturdy horn base rather than stabbing it. Wounded Kudu can keep running for many miles without stopping to rest for more than a minute. They are good jumpers and can clear a 5-foot fence from a standing start.
kudu bulls tend to be much larger than females. The bulls also have large manes running along their throats, and large horns with two and a half twists, which, were they to be straightened, would reach an average length of 120 cm (47 in). This is one of the largest species of antelope. Bulls weigh 190–270 kg (420–600 lb), and stand up to 160 cm (63 in) tall at the shoulder. The ears of the greater kudu are large and round. Cows weigh 120–210 kg (260–460 lb) and stand as little as 100 cm (39 in) tall at the shoulder; they are hornless, without a beard or nose markings.
Kudu are always one of the first animals on any hunters list. A truly graceful and beautiful trophy. Be prepared for long stalks and plenty of failed stalks. Kudu have an amazing eyesight and the nick name "Grey Ghost" is for good reason, Kudu are able to vanish in to thin air. It's rare for a hunter to shoot a Kudu on the first stalk. You may well have to take a longer shot to get your kudu.
The unique stripes of zebras make them one of the animals most familiar to people. They occur in a variety of habitats, such as grasslands, savannas, woodlands, thorny scrublands, mountains, and coastal hills Zebras have excellent eyesight. Like most ungulates, the zebra's eyes are on the sides of its head, giving it a wide field of view. Zebras also have night vision, although not as advanced as that of most of their predators. Zebras have excellent hearing and have larger, rounder ears than horses; like other ungulates, zebras can turn their ears in almost any direction. In addition to superb eyesight and hearing, zebras also have acute sense of smell.
Like most members of the horse family, zebras are highly social. Their social structure. Plains zebras live in groups, known as 'harems', consisting of one stallion with up to six mares and their foals. Bachelor males either live alone or with groups of other bachelors until they are old enough to challenge a breeding stallion.
The common plains zebra is about 1.2–1.3 m (47–51 in) at the shoulder. It can weigh up to 350 kg (770 lb), males being slightly bigger than females.
Hunting Zebra can prove very difficult in certain areas as judging stallions from mares can be very tough. Although it's the mares who choose the dominant stallion, the stallion will assume his position at the back of a retreating herd, thus being closer to the point of danger, often stopping to look back. Zebra are very resilient and tough and likely will require a follow up shot.
Fully grown giraffes stand 4.3–5.7 m (14.1–18.7 ft) tall, with males taller than females. The tallest recorded male was 5.88 m (19.3 ft) and the tallest recorded female was 5.17 m (17.0 ft) tall. The average weight is 1,192 kg (2,628 lb) for an adult male and 828 kg (1,825 lb) for an adult female. Despite its long neck and legs, the giraffe's body is relatively short. Located at both sides of the head, the giraffe's large, bulging eyes give it good all-round vision from its great height. Giraffes see in and their senses of hearing and smell are also sharp. The animal can close its muscular nostrils to protect against sandstorms and ants. The giraffe's prehensile tongue is about 45 cm (18 in) long. It is purplish-black in colour, perhaps to protect against sunburn, and is useful for grasping foliage, as well as for grooming and cleaning the animal's nose. The upper lip of the giraffe is also prehensile and useful when foraging and is covered in hair to protect against thorns. The tongue, and inside of the mouth are covered in papillae.
The coat has dark blotches or patches (which can be orange, chestnut, brown, or nearly black in color our separated by light hair (usually white or cream in color. Male giraffes become darker as they age. The coat pattern has been claimed to serve as camouflage in the light and shade patterns of savannah woodlands. Giraffe calves inherit some spot pattern traits from their mothers, and variation in some spot traits are correlated with neonatal survival. The skin underneath the dark areas may serve as windows for thermoregulation, being sites for complex blood vessel systems and large sweat glands. Each individual giraffe has a unique coat pattern.
Extremely agile and very fast when one considers the Giraffes sheer size. A very tough animal to bring down unless an opportunity of a clean brain shot presents itself. The heart/lung shot is much higher up on the shoulder than expected; hunters should always consider the angle of the shot due to the height of the Giraffe.
Elands prefer to live in semi-arid areas that contain many shrub-like bushes, and often inhabit grasslands, woodlands, sub-desert, bush, and mountaintops with altitudes of about 15,000 ft (4,600 m). Elands do, however, avoid forests, swamps and deserts. Common eland form herds of up to 500 animals, but are not territorial.
Common elands are spiral-horned antelopes. Females are smaller than the males. Females weigh 300–600 kg (660–1,320 lb), and stand 125–153 cm (49–60 in) at the shoulder. Bulls weigh 400–942 kg (882–2,077 lb), and stand 150–183 cm (59–72 in) at the shoulder. Male elands can weigh up to 1,000 kg (2,200 lb).
Apart from a rough mane, the coat is smooth. Females have a tan coat, while the coats of males are darker, with a bluish-grey tinge. Bulls may also have a series of vertical white stripes on their sides. As males age, their coat becomes more grey. Males also have dense fur on their foreheads and a large dewlap on their throats.
Both sexes have horns with a steady spiral ridge (resembling that of the bushbuck). The horns of males are thicker and shorter than those of females (males' horns are 43–66 centimetres (17–26 in) long and females' are 51–69 centimetres (20–27 in) long), and have a tighter spiral. Males use their horns during rutting season to wrestle and butt heads with rivals, while females use their horns to protect their young from predators. The common eland is the slowest antelope, with a peak speed of 40 kilometres (25 mi) per hour that tires them quickly. However, they can maintain a 22 kilometres (14 mi) per hour trot indefinitely. Elands are capable of jumping up to 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in) from a standing start when startled (up to 3 metres (9.8 ft) for young elands). The common eland's life expectancy is generally between 15 and 20 years.
The largest of the Spiral Horned family in South Africa. Older mature males can weigh up to one ton and can be very difficult to bring down. Young bulls are lighter in color with longer thinner horns than older blue/black bulls with their distinctive dewlap, fringe and brimmed down horns.
The blue wildebeest is mostly active during the morning and the late afternoon, with the hottest hours of the day being spent in rest. These extremely agile and wary animals can run at speeds up to 80 km/h (50 mph), waving their tails and tossing their heads. The wildebeest usually rest close to others of their kind and move about in loose aggregations. Males form bachelor herds, and these can be distinguished from juvenile groups by the lower amount of activity and the spacing between the animals. Around 90% of the male calves join the bachelor herds before the next mating season. Bulls become territorial at the age of four or five years.
The blue wildebeest males are larger and darker than females. The average height of the species is 115–145 cm (45–57 in). While males weigh up to 290 kg (640 lb), females seldom exceed 260 kg (570 lb).
Both sexes possess a pair of large horns, which are shaped like parentheses. These extend outward to the side, and then curve upward and inward. In the males, the horns can be 83 cm (33 in) long, while the horns of the females are 30–40 cm (12–16 in) long. Despite being an antelope, the blue wildebeest possesses various bovine characteristics. For instance, the horns resemble those of the female African buffalo. Further, the heavy build and disproportionately large forequarters give it a bovine appearance.
The Blue Wildebeest, the Poor Mans Buffalo, not only in looks but for shear brute strength once hit. These animals have been known to travel up to 300 yards with a well placed heart shot. Bulls are larger in stature than cows. Blue Wildebeest are found in a number of habitats.
The red hartebeest, it is the most colorful hartbeest, with black markings contrasting against its white abdomen and behind. It has a longer face that other subspecies, with complex curving horns joined at the base. The average weight of a male is about 150 kg, and female is 120 kg. Their average shoulder height is 135 cm, and horns are 60 cm long. The life expectancy of a red hartebeest is around 19 years. Little difference is noted between males and females, showing no distinct identifiable physical features, but body size is slightly affected. Horn size, however, expresses more dimorphism between males and females, as males fight and defend themselves for sexual selection. Thus, male skull weight and circumference is slightly greater than that of the female. Hartebeests have an excellent sense of hearing and smell, although their sense of sight is poor. When alarmed, hartebeests elude confusion before running, by which they can reach a maximum speed of 55 km/h. Their evasion tactic is to run in a zigzag pattern, making it difficult for predators to catch them.
One of the fastest plains game species in Southern Africa. In some areas, Hartebeest can be incredibly weary and very alert when being hunted.
Springbuck inhabit the dry areas of south and southwestern Africa and are mainly found on the open plains. Springbok are mainly active around dawn and dusk. Activity is influenced by weather; springbok can feed at night in hot weather, and at midday in colder months. They rest in the shade of trees or bushes, and often bed down in the open when weather is cooler. The Mixed-sex herds or harems have a roughly 3:1 sex ratio; bachelor individuals are also observed.
The springbok is a slender antelope with long legs and neck. Both sexes reach 71–86 cm (28–34 in) at the shoulder with a head-and-body length typically between 120 and 150 cm (47 and 59 in). The weights for both sexes range between 27 and 42 kilograms (60 and 93 lb). The tail, 14 to 28 cm (5.5 to 11.0 in) long, ends in a short, black tuft.
Both sexes have a pair of black, 35-to-50 cm (14-to-20 in) long horns that curve backwards. The springbok is characterised by a white face, a dark stripe running from the eyes to the mouth, a light-brown coat marked by a reddish-brown stripe that runs from the upper fore leg to the buttocks across the flanks and a white rump flap.
The Springbuck is the national emblem of South Africa. No hunter should go back home not having shot a springbuck on their first African hunt. Springbuck are shot mainly in the open plains and stalks can be tricky. Sometimes a longer shot will be required.
Waterbuck inhabit scrub and savanna areas along rivers, lakes and valleys. A gregarious animal, the waterbuck may form herds consisting of six to 30 individuals. These groups are either nursery herds with females and their offspring or bachelor herds. Males start showing territorial behaviour from the age of five years, but are most dominant from the age of six to nine.
Males reach approximately 127 cm (50 in) at the shoulder, while females reach 119 cm (47 in). The waterbuck is one of the heaviest antelopes. A newborn typically weighs 13.6 kg (30 lb), and growth in weight is faster in males than in females. Males typically weigh 198–262 kg (437–578 lb) and females 161–214 kg (355–472 lb).
The waterbuck is of a robust build. The shaggy coat is reddish brown to grey, and becomes progressively darker with age. Males are darker than females. Though apparently thick, the hair is sparse on the coat. The hair on the neck is, however, long and shaggy. The long, spiral horns curve backward, then forward. Found only on males, the horns range from 55 to 99 cm (22 to 39 in) in length. To some extent, the length of the horns is related to the bull's age. A rudimentary horn in the form of a bone lump may be found on the skulls of females.
The Waterbuck is a very sought after trophy for many hunters traveling to Africa, with its impressive horns sweeping back and then hooking forward. Its sheer size makes it a desirable trophy on many safaris. Hunting a free range Waterbuck is not easy. Stalks will be long and patience is required. The big bulls have very acute eyesight.
The nyala is mainly active in the early morning and the late evening . A shy animal, it prefers water holes rather than open spaces. The nyala does not show signs of territoriality, and individuals areas can overlap each others. They are very cautious creatures. Old males live alone, but single sex or mixed family groups of up to 10 individuals can be found. These inhabit thickets within dense and dry savanna woodlands
The nyala is a spiral-horned and middle-sized antelope, between a bushbuck and a kudu. The male stands up to 110 cm (43 in), the female is up to 90 cm (3.0 ft) tall. Males weigh 98–125 kg (216–276 lb), while females weigh 55–68 kg (121–150 lb). Life expectancy of the nyala is about 19 years.
The coat is rusty or rufous brown in females and juveniles. But it grows a dark brown or slate grey in adult males, often with a bluish tinge. Females and young males have ten or more white vertical stripes on their sides. Other markings are visible on the face, throat, flanks and thighs. Stripes are very reduced or absent in older males. Both sexes have a dorsal crest of hair running right from the back of the head to the end of the tail. Males have another line of hair along the midline of their chest and belly. Only the males have horns. Horns are 60–83 cm (24–33 in) long and yellow-tipped. There are one or two twists.
Nyala is considered by many to be the most beautiful African antelope. A very sort after trophy. Stalks will be in thick bush and require patience. Many Nyala bulls are shot in the last 20 minutes of light. A mature Nyala bull stepping out from the thick bush in to a small opening, and giving you your shot after hours of glassing is very exciting and will not be forgotten by any hunter.
The black wildebeest inhabits open plains, grasslands, and Karoo shrublands in both steep mountainous regions and lower undulating hills. A dominant male black wildebeest has a harem of females and will not allow other males to mate with them.
The black wildebeest has a dark brown or black coat, which is slightly paler in summer and coarser and shaggier in the winter. Calves are born with shaggy, fawn-coloured fur. Males are darker than females. They have bushy and dark-tipped manes that, as in the blue wildebeest, stick up from the back of the neck.
Black wildebeest females are smaller in size and more slender than males. Males reach about 111 to 121 cm (44 to 48 in) at the shoulder, while females reach 106 to 116 cm (42 to 46 in). Males typically weigh 140 to 157 kg (309 to 346 lb) and females 110 to 122 kg (243 to 269 lb). A distinguishing feature in both sexes is the tail, which is long and similar to that of a horse. Its bright-white colour gives this animal the vernacular name of "white-tailed gnu", and also distinguishes it from the blue wildebeest, which has a black tail
Both sexes have strong horns that curve forward, resembling hooks, which are up to 78 cm (31 in) long. The horns have a broad base in mature males, and are flattened to form a protective shield. In females, the horns are both shorter and narrower.
Also known as the White Tailed Gnu or to some as the "Clowns of Africa'", this is mostly due to the way in which they tend to run in circles when being approached. The most interesting fact about Black Wildebeest is their comeback from near extinction. It is noted that only 17 of these animals were left after being eradicated due to carrying a Mucous Disease. A disease hosted by the Black Wildebeest but life threatening to Cattle. Today, they thrive in great numbers throughout the Cape Province. Big Bulls are very territorial and will often return to their territory very shortly after being disturbed. The stalk will likely be on the open plains or using higher areas to overlook a plain. Longer shots may necessary for your Black Wildebeest trophy.
The African buffalo is one of the most successful grazers in Africa. It lives in swamps and floodplains, as well as mopane grasslands and forests of the major mountains of Africa. This buffalo prefers a habitat with dense cover, such as reeds and thickets, but can also be found in open woodland. While not particularly demanding with regard to habitat, they require water daily, so depend on perennial sources of water. Like the plains zebra, the buffalo can live on tall, coarse grasses. Herds of buffalo mow down grasses and make way for more selective grazers.
The basic herds are surrounded by subherds of subordinate males, high-ranking males and females, and old or invalid animals. The young males keep their distance from the dominant bull, which is recognizable by the thickness of his horns. During the dry season, males split from the herd and form bachelor groups. Two types of bachelor herds occur: ones made of males aged four to seven years and those of males 12 years or older.
One of the "big five" African game, it is known as "the Black Death" or "widowmaker", and is widely regarded as a very dangerous animal. According to some estimates, it gores and kills over 200 people every year. Buffaloes are sometimes reported to kill more people in Africa than any other animal, although the same claim is also made of hippos and crocodiles. Buffaloes are notorious among big-game hunters as very dangerous animals, with wounded animals reported to ambush and attack pursuers.
Buffaloes weigh 500 to 1,000 kg (1,100 to 2,200 lb), with males normally larger than females, reaching the upper weight range. The horns form fully when the animal reaches the age of five or six years but the bosses do not become "hard" till 8 to 9 years old. In cows, the horns are, on average, 10–20% smaller, and they do not have a boss.
Probably the most desired African trophy to international hunters from around the world. Dangerous animals to hunt: A wounded buffalo may circle back, wait for the hunter along its track and charge without warning. Loud death bellows are the best sign of a dying Buffalo, but not all will give this bellow. With age one will find old solitary bulls move off from the herd, these bulls are called "Dagga boys", due to their enjoyment of regular mud baths, leaving caked mud on their backs giving the appearance of dried cement("Dagga") At all times make that first shot count, Buffalo have a reputation when wounded, and they will live up to it. Be ready to stalk the Buffaloe very close to make your shot. A 375 is the minimum legal requirement to hunt a Buffalo.
Bushbuck live within a "home" area, which is usually around 50 000 square metres on the savannah and much larger in the forest, that they will not normally leave. These areas usually overlap other bushbuck home areas. Bushbuck are basically solitary animals and the mature males go out of their way to stay away from each other. Usually, Bushbuck are most active during early morning and part of the night, therefore are almost entirely nocturnal in areas where they are unlikely to be disturbed. Bushbuck inhabit thickets within dense and dry savanna woodlands
Bushbuck stand about 90 centimetres (35 in) at the shoulder and weigh from 45 to 80 kilograms (99 to 176 lb) (depending on sex). The females have a light brown coat, with up to seven white stripes and white splotches on the sides. The white patches are usually geometrically shaped and on the most mobile parts of their body such as the ears, chin, tail, legs and neck. The muzzle is also white and horns are found only on the males and they can reach over half a metre with only one twist. At 10 months old, young males sprout horns that are particularly twisted and at maturity form the first loop of a spiral. Males are much darker in color and almost black.
The Bushbuck has keen senses and is very alert. Males are very aggressive and have been known to attack when wounded. Dogs usually bear the brunt of most attacks but humans do get targeted. Males make for extremely good trophies with thick black necks, shiny coats and very majestic horns. Very impressive animals offering excellent walk and stalk hunting opportunities.
Blesbok can be found in open veld or plains of South Africa .Their preferred habitat is open grassland with water. They often occupy relatively small territories of 2.5 to 6.0 acres in size.
Physically, rams and ewes are remarkably similar. Their mass can be as much as 85 kg. A characteristic of the blesbok is the prominent white blaze on the face and a horizontal brown strip which divides this blaze above the eyes. Body colour is brown with a lighter-coloured saddle on the back, and the rump an even lighter shade. The legs are brown with a white patch behind the top part of the front legs. Lower legs whitish. Both sexes carry horns, ringed almost to the tip. Female horns are slightly more slender. The neck and the top of the back of the blesbok is brown. Lower down on the flanks and buttocks, the coloring becomes darker. The belly, the inside of the buttocks and the area up to the base of the tail is white. Blesbok can be easily differentiated from other antelopes because they have a distinct white face and forehead.
The length of their horns averages at around 38 cm. Male adult blesbok average around 70 kg; females average lower, at around 61 kg.
Seen by many as the perfect trophy for the first time hunter to Africa. The Blesbok are hunted on the plains in much the same way as springbuck.
Medium sized antelope. Reddish yellow upper parts and darker on the back than on the flanks and legs. White on the underpants, with a white band running up the front of the neck to the jaw, with characteristic dark markings on the forelegs. The shoulders are distinctly lower than the rump, and body slants forward. The female is smaller than the male and has no horns. Horns: Only the males have horns.
Always in or near water on shallow flood plains, along swamps and rivers and well watered grasses. Have also adapted well to open Savannah country. Usually form small herd's +/- 10-30 animals. Bachelor herds, nursing herds and solitary adult males can be distinguished. During the mating season, a few males establish small territories, which they share with some nursing herds so as to establish a breeding area.
The Lechwe male is usually of trophy quality at +/- 5 years. The Red Lechwe is an extremely beautiful trophy and do not occur in abundance in South Africa. Numbers are good throughout the Eastern Cape and Free State.
The common warthog is the only pig species that has adapted to grazing and savanna habitats. Its diet is omnivorous, composed of grasses, roots, berries and other fruits, bark, fungi, insects, eggs and carrion. Warthogs are powerful diggers, using both their snouts and feet. Whilst feeding, they often bend their front feet backwards and move around on the wrists. Calloused pads that protect the wrists during such movement form quite early in the development of the fetus. Although they can dig their own burrows, they commonly occupy abandoned burrows of aardvarks and other animals. The common warthog commonly reverses into burrows, with its head facing the opening and ready to burst out if necessary. Common warthogs will wallow in mud to cope with high temperatures and huddle together to cope with low temperatures.
The common warthog is a medium-sized species, and shoulder height from 63.5 to 85 cm (25.0 to 33.5 in). Females, at 45 to 75 kg (99 to 165 lb), are typically a bit smaller and lighter in weight than males, at 60 to 150 kg (130 to 330 lb). A warthog is identifiable by the two pairs of tusks protruding from the mouth and curving upwards. The lower pair, which is far shorter than the upper pair, becomes razor-sharp by rubbing against the upper pair every time the mouth is opened and closed. The upper canine teeth can grow to 25.5 cm (10.0 in) long and have a wide elliptical cross section, being about 4.5 cm (1.8 in) deep and 2.5 cm (0.98 in) wide. A tusk will curve 90° or more from the root, and will not lie flat on a table, as it curves somewhat backwards as it grows. The tusks are not used for digging but are used for combat with other hogs, and in defense against predators – the lower set can inflict severe wounds.
Warthogs are great trophies to hunt and a big boar is not an every day occurrence. A great animal to approach and observe, but be warned an extremely difficult animal to read, will up and leave in a second for no apparent reason while feeding.
The White Blesbuck displays a color mutation of its cousin the Common Blesbuck and is a breed but not a recognized subspecies. Although the white gene has proved to be the recessive gene, great numbers of White Blesbuck have been built throughout South Africa, with the correct management structures being put in place. They are a collector's trophy to complete the trio of the three, with the Common Blesbuck and the Bontebuck. When judging the trophy quality of White Blesbuck it's important to look at the width of the boss and the overall length. Mature rams will standout in herds with their shoulder height and chest width being much more prominent than that of the females and young rams.
Gemsbok are widely hunted for their spectacular horns that average 85 cm (33 in) in length. From a distance, the only outward difference between males and females is their horns, and many hunters mistake females for males each year. In males horns tend to be thicker with larger bases. Females have slightly longer, thinner horns. Female gemsbok use their horns to defend themselves and their offspring from predators, while males primarily use their horns to defend their territories from other males. Gemsbok are one of the few antelope species where female trophies are sometimes more desirable than male ones.
Gemsbok are light brownish-grey to tan in colour, with lighter patches toward the bottom rear of the rump. Their tails are long and black in colour. A blackish stripe extends from the chin down the lower edge of the neck, through the juncture of the shoulder and leg along the lower flank of each side to the blackish section of the rear leg. They have muscular necks and shoulders, and their legs have white 'socks' with a black patch on the front of both the front legs, and both genders have long, straight horns.
Gemsbok stand about 1.2 m (3.9 ft) at the shoulder. Male gemsbok can weigh between 180 and 240 kg (400 and 530 lb), while females weigh 100–210 kg (220–460 lb).
Gemsbuck males and females make spectacular trophies, with males usually having thicker and slightly shorter horns, while females usually boast with longer thinner horns. Gemsbuck can resist serious drought and live up to 20 years.
A duiker is a small to medium-sized brown antelope native to Sub-Saharan Africa. They are found in heavily wooded areas. The 22 extant species, including three sometimes considered to be subspecies of the other species.
Duikers are very shy, elusive creatures with a fondness for dense cover; those that tend to live in more open areas, for example, are quick to disappear into thickets for protection.
Since the common grey duiker lives in more open areas, like savannas, it has longer legs and vertical horns, which allows it to run faster and for longer distances; only the males, who are more confrontational and territorial, exhibit horns. Also, duikers have well-developed preorbital glands, which resemble slits under their eyes, or in the cases of blue duikers, pedal glands on their hooves. Males use secretions from these glands to mark their territory.
The Common or Grey Duiker is seen by many hunters as an opportunistic species. Hunting these Duikers is usually done in the early morning, late afternoon.
Steenbuck resemble small Oribi, standing 45–60 cm (16"-24") at the shoulder. Their pelage (coat) is any shade from fawn to rufous, typically rather orange. The underside, including chin and throat, is white, as is the ring around the eye. Ears are large with "finger-marks" on the inside. Males have straight, smooth, parallel horns 7–19 cm long. There is a black crescent-shape between the ears, a long black bridge to the glossy black nose, and a black circular scent-gland in front of the eye. The tail is not usually visible, being only 4–6 cm long.
Steenbuck are active during the day and the night; however, during hotter periods, they rest under shade during the heat of the day. The time spent feeding at night increases in the dry season. While resting, they may be busy grooming, ruminating or taking brief spells of sleep.
At the first sign of trouble, steenbuck typically lie low in the vegetation. If a predator or perceived threat comes closer, a steenbok will leap away and follow a zigzag route to try to shake off the pursuer. Escaping steenbuck frequently stop to look back, and flight is alternated with prostration during extended pursuit. They are known to take refuge in the burrows of Aardvarks. Known predators include Southern African wildcat, caracal, jackals, leopard, martial eagle and pythons.
Steenbuck are typically solitary, except for when a pair come together to mate. However, it has been suggested that pairs occupy consistent territories while living independently, staying in contact through scent markings, so that they know where their mate is most of the time.
A hugely underrated trophy, mainly due to its size or the fact that so few people notice them or have the time to study them before they disappear over the horizon. The Steenbuck gets its name from the very first Dutch settlers who traveled to Africa. The word “Steen” means brick, as you could well imagine the color of the Steenbuck resembled that of a red building brick, and thereby getting the name Steenbuck. All in all, a magnificent trophy to harvest.
Mountain reedbucks are predominantly grazers, and water is an important habitat requirement. They tend to feed in the early evening and morning hours, normally in small groups of six or fewer animals. A typical group is made up of one adult male and several adult females and juveniles. Adolescent males are forced out of their herds and form small bachelor herds. Lifespan in the wild is unknown, but specimens of related species in captivity have been recorded to live up to 18 years.
The mountain reedbuck averages 75 cm (30 in) at the shoulder, and weighs around 30 kg (66 lb). It has a grey coat with a white underbelly and reddish-brown head and shoulders. The male has ridged horns of around 15.2 cm (6.0 in), which curve forwards. Both sexes have a dark scent patch beneath the ears.
The Mountain Reedbuck is a more demanding game animal to hunt than the other Reedbuck species in Africa. The hunter will find these animals much warier, lives on more difficult terrain, and its smaller body size makes it a difficult target. It often can be located and glassed from a comfortable viewpoint, but usually must be stalked in steep terrain once pursued. Hunters can expect shots to be long with steep gradients at times. To judge the trophy quality of the Mountain Reedbuck one must always look at the size of the neck, a thick and darkened well set neck is the first sign of a mature animal, especially in Mountain Reedbuck. The horns are in the shape of hooks, hooking forward with a pulp base. Always look to harvest a male which horns are in line with the tips of the ears or greater. The Eastern Cape region of South Africa is probably the best area in which to hunt these mountain dwellers, hunters will enjoy great numbers and exciting hunting on this species.
A medium sized gazelle. The Black Springbuck is not a subspecies, but a color phase of the South African Springbuck. Black Springbuck were developed by selective breeding; the color of the skin is all black except for the white facial stripe running up the front of the nose. The skin fold on the back is usually closed but when the animal becomes excited, it thrusts it open fanning a length of stiff black hair. Horns: Both sexes have horns.
The Black Springbuck forms part of the four Springbuck color variations. The Black Springbuck usually ranks # 2, behind the Common Springbuck, in body and horns of the four variations. The trophy quality lies within the width of the basses, the overall length and the hooks/curls on the tips. A great trophy to hunt while on safari and a must for any collector interested in collecting all four Springbuck color variations.
A medium sized gazelle. The Copper Springbuck is not a subspecies, but a color phase of the South African Springbuck. Copper Springbuck were developed by selective breeding; the color of the skin is that of a dark copper color with a darkened stripe running down the flanks with a very dark face. The skin fold on the back is usually closed but when the animal becomes excited, it thrusts it open fanning a length of stiff dark hair. Horns: Both sexes have horns.
The Copper Springbuck forms part of the four Springbuck color variations. The Copper Springbuck usually ranks # 3, behind the Common Springbuck, in body and horns of the four variations. It is the newest color phase and a very sought after trophy for the serious collectors. A wild animal very similar to its cousin the Black Springbuck. The trophy quality lies within the width of the basses, the overall length and the hooks/curls on the tips. A great trophy to hunt while on safari and a must for any collector interested in collecting all four Springbuck color variations.
A medium sized gazelle. The White Springbuck is not a subspecies, but a color phase of the South African Springbuck. White Springbuck were developed by selective breeding; the color of the skin is all white except for the dark facial stripes and eyelashes. The skin fold on the back is usually closed but when the animal becomes excited, it thrusts it open fanning a length of stiff white hair. Horns: Both sexes have horns.
The White Springbuck forms part of the four Springbuck color variations. The White Springbuck usually has the smallest horns and body of the four variations. The trophy quality lies within the width of the basses, the overall length and the hooks/curls on the tips. A great trophy to hunt while on safari and a must for any collector interested in collecting all four Springbuck color variations.
Athletically-built medium sized antelope. The Black Impala is not a subspecies, but a color phase of the Southern Impala. Black Impala were developed by selective breeding; the color of the entire body is all black. Horns: Only the males have horns.
Black Impala are very rare, hunted by hunters who have traveled to Africa extensively. A very alert animal to approach when stalking often indicating danger by repeated snorts. During the rut, males can be heard “roaring” or grunting as they keep their harem of females together. Black Impala are not big antelope, but can prove to be very difficult to bring down if shots are not executed 100%. When judging the trophy quality of males, always look at the base of the horn, ensure they are dark black and hard, then look at the shape and the overall length. The tips should always point straight upwards or flare out, the best indication of a mature ram.
The sable antelope is sexually dimorphic, with the male heavier and about one-fifth taller than the female. The head-and-body length is typically between 190 and 255 cm (75 and 100 in). Males reach about 117–140 cm (46–55 in) at the shoulder, while females are slightly shorter. Males typically weigh 235 kg (518 lb) and females 220 kg (490 lb).
The sable antelope has a compact and robust build, characterized by a thick neck and tough skin. It has a well-developed and often upright mane on its neck, as well as a short mane on the throat. Its general colouration is rich chestnut to black. Females and juveniles are chestnut to dark brown, while males begin darkening and turn black after three years. However, in southern populations, females have a brown to black coat. Calves less than two months old are a light tan and show faint markings. The underparts, cheek, and chin are all white, creating a great contrast with the dark back and flanks.Long, white hairs are present below the eyes, and a wide, black stripe runs over the nose.
Both sexes have ringed horns which arch backward. In females, these can reach 61–102 cm (24–40 in), while in males they are 81–165 cm (32–65 in) long. The average lifespan of the sable antelope is 19 years in the wild and 22 years in captivity.
Sable antelope live in savanna woodlands and grasslands during the dry season, where they eat mid-length grasses and leaves. They visit salt licks and have been known to chew bones to collect minerals. They are diurnal, but are less active during the heat of the day. They form herds of 10 to 30 females and calves led by a single male, called a bull. Males fight among themselves; they drop to their knees and use their horns.
When sable antelopes are threatened by predators, including lions, they confront them, using their scimitar-shaped horns. Many of these big cats have died during such fights.
A jet black mature Sable bull is with out a doubt the most impressive trophy in any African collection. Trophy quality is judged by the color of the skin; always ensure the bull is of jet black color and not a tanned chocolate color, thus indicating immaturity. The basses of the horn must be solid black with dominant ridges following the length of the horn. Look for the climb from the base, the hook backwards and lastly the length of the tips.
The southern reedbuck is larger than than the mountain reedbuck. It stands 80–90 cm (31–35 in) at the shoulder. Females weigh 48 kg (106 lb), while the males weigh 68 kg (150 lb). It has distinctive dark lines running down the front of each of its forelegs and lower hindlegs and whitish rings around the eyes. It has a lifespan of 10 years.
The coat is silky and almost woolly. The color of its coat ranges between light- and greyish-brown, and may be lighter on the neck and chest. A small, black, bare glandular patch can be noticed at the base of each ear. White fur covers the underparts and the areas near the lips and chin. The tail is white underside, and appears short and bushy. Southern reedbucks measure an average of 85 cm (33 in) at the shoulder. Females lack horns. Males bear forward-curving horns, about 35–45 cm (14–18 in) long, with the base having a distinct band of pale, rubbery tissue.
Southern reedbucks live in pairs or alone. Sometimes, they form herds consisting of about 20 members. They prefer to lie in grass or reed beds in the heat of the day and feed during sunrise and sunset, or sometimes even at night. Old reedbucks are permanently territorial, with territories around 35-60 hectares, and generally live with a single female, preventing contact with rival males. Females and young males perform an 'appeasement dance' for older males. During the dance, the bucks run around speedily and take considerably long jumps, with the tail curled up and scented air being released from a pocket in the groin at every bounce, making a popping sound. Within this territory, it is active all the time in summer, but it is nocturnal in the wet season. It regularly uses paths to reach good sites to rest, graze, and drink water. Average lifetime home ranges have been estimated as 123 ha for females and 74 ha for males.
Their main predators include lions, leopards, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, Cape hunting dogs, pythons, and crocodiles. They can camouflage themselves in the grasslands due to their coats, which are almost the same color. If startled or attacked, they stand still, then either hide or flee with an odd rocking-horse movement, and cautiously look back to ensure the danger is gone, generally. They use vocalizations like a shrill whistle through their nostrils and a clicking noise to alert others about danger
Bushpigs are mainly nocturnal. Adult bushpigs stand from 66 to 100 cm (26 to 39 in) at the shoulder, and weigh from 55 to 150 kg (121 to 331 lb). They resemble the domestic pig, and can be identified by their blunt, muscular snouts and small eyes. Their colour varies from reddish brown to dark brown and becomes darker with age. Both sexes have a lighter-coloured mane which bristles when the animal becomes agitated. The upper parts of the face and ears are also lighter in colour. Their sharp tusks are fairly short and inconspicuous. Unlike warthogs, bushpigs run with their tails down. Males are normally larger than females.
Bushpigs are quite social animals and are found in sounders of up to 12 members. A typical group will consist of a dominant male and a dominant female, with other females and juveniles accounting for the rest. Litters of three to four young are born in summer after a gestation period of approximately four months. Bushpigs can be very aggressive, especially when they have young.
The “Ghost of the Darkness”, this is mainly due to their crop raiding activities in the cover of dark and a complete vanishing act by day break in farming communities. In certain parts Bushpig hunting with hounds is seen as a religion, with hounds, hunters and Bushpigs often gaining legendary status. Bushpigs thrive throughout a wide variety of habitat and terrain, and will raid crops if the opportunity presents itself. Both the Boars and Sows make for super trophies. Hunting can be done by hounds, baiting or by a chance glimpse of these shy animals.
Big Boars will display big bump-like warts on the nose, increasing in size with age. Older Boars also tend to turn lighter in color, a good sigh of maturity but not a rule.
Roan antelope are one of the largest species of antelopes, only Elands, Bongos and large male Kudus can exceed them in weight. They measure 190–240 cm (75–94 in) from the head to the base of tail and the tail measures 37–48 cm (15–19 in). The body mass of males is 242–300 kg (534–661 lb) and of females is 223–280 kg (492–617 lb). The shoulder of this species is typically around 130–140 cm (51–55 in). Named for their roan colour (a reddish brown), they have lighter underbellies, white eyebrows and cheeks and black faces, lighter in females. They have short, erect manes, very light beards and prominent red nostrils. The horns are ringed and can reach a metre long in males, slightly shorter in females. They arch backwards slightly.
They are similar in appearance to sable antelope and can be confused where their ranges overlap. Sable antelope males are darker, being black rather than dark brown.
Roan antelope are found in woodland and grassland savanna, mainly in the tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome, which range in tree density from forest with a grassy understorey to grasslands dotted with few trees, where they eat midlength grasses. They form harem groups of five to 15 animals with a dominant male. Roan antelope commonly fight among themselves for dominance of their herd, brandishing their horns while both animals are on their knees.
Fallow Deer from Europe where introduced near Cape Town, South Africa, in 1869. Since then numbers have increased dramatically and many have been trans located to various regions throughout South Africa. An extremely interesting animal to hunt especially during the rut, when stags can be heard calling and one can detect and stalk stags by the sound of crashing antlers. During the rut the deer lose all fear of humans and become obsessed with mating, hunting during this time can be one of the most exciting hunts to be a part of. The rut for Fallow Deer runs from March – June, hunters looking at hunting Fallow Deer in rut must be advised, the earlier in the rut the better. Stags lose their antlers towards the end of September into October, with regrowth starting almost immediately in spring.
NICK BOWKER HUNTING
Eastern Cape, South Africa