Bushbuck Hunting in Africa

Interesting facts about the bushbuck

  • The body of bushbuck is covered with fur whose color depends on the habitat. It can be yellow, reddish or brown. Bushbucks that live in dense forest have darker fur.
  • Ears, chin, tail, legs and neck are covered with white, geometrically-shaped markings.
  • The main predators of bushbucks are lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, hunting dogs and crocodiles.
  • Bushbuck is a solitary and shy creature. It is usually active during the night (nocturnal), but it can be also active during the day.
  • Bushbuck is a typical herbivore (plant-eater). Other than grass, bushbuck consumes fallen fruits, tubers, tree bark, flowers, leguminous herbs and shrubs.
  • Bushbuck absorbs a majority of required water from the food. Fresh dew on the leaves is another source of moisture that fulfills need for water.
  • Unlike other antelopes, bushbuck does not tolerate birds that remove insects from its fur. As a consequence, bushbucks are filled with ticks. Besides diseases transmitted by insects, bushbuck is prone to the viral disease called rinderpest.
  • Bushbuck is not territorial animal. It requires small home range that often overlaps with a home range of other bushbuck.
  • When frightened, bushbuck can freeze or lay to the ground and wait for the danger to pass. Sometimes, it can produce series of hoarse barks.
  • The bushbuck is not very fast runner, but it is a good swimmer and it is able to jump 6 feet in the air.
  • Bushbuck mate throughout the whole year. Pregnancy in females lasts 6 months and ends with one baby. Females can have 2 litters each year.
  • After a baby is born, the female eats the placenta and dung of the young bushbuck to remove all smells that will otherwise attract predators. The baby remains hidden in the vegetation when its mother is foraging. When it reaches the age of 4 months, the baby accompanies its mother in the search for food.
  • Bushbuck can survive up to 12 years in the wild and up to 15 years in captivity.

The difference between a male and female bushbuck

Females (Ewes) are smaller and adult ewes are lighter in color than rams, with more pronounced white spots and stripes. Both males and females have geometrically shaped white patches or spots on the most mobile parts of their body, namely the ears, chin, tail, legs and neck, as well as a band of white at the base of the neck. On males, these markings become more visible during their displays when they arch their backs and slowly circle one another, walking in a tense, high-stepping gait. These highly ritualized displays usually make fighting unnecessary and alongside this, a rigid age-based hierarchy among bushbuck keeps males in check.

Bushbuck male with a dark coat and horns

Bushbuck Male

Bushbuck female with a lighter coat and no horns

Bushbuck Female

Background information on African Bushbuck Hunting

Bushbuck live within a "home" area, which is usually around 12 acres 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 33 inches at the shoulder and weigh from 100 to 120 pounds (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 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.

Bushbuck Hunting in South Africa

Your bushbuck ram trophy should have an average shoulder height of around 33 inches, weigh about 100 pounds and have a horn length of approximately 12 – 13 inches. The Safari Club International score for an Eastern Cape Bushbuck is 31. This is measured by adding the length of each horn as well as the circumference of the bases.

Bushbuck forms part of the Spiral Horned family and is the smallest of the family in South Africa. 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.

In the Bedford area Bushbuck are hunted in the mountain area or along river beds in the thick brush. The majority of Bushbuck are shot during the late evening or during the early morning. Bushbuck will live in amongst human settlements with ease and will adapt their feeding habitats and become nocturnal. Bushbuck are often hunted by sitting in a vantage point in the late evening and waiting for the bushbuck to step in to small fields and begin grazing. During the day bushbuck will rest in very thick brush.

Bushbuck hunting in Africa. Shot placement

Bushbuck vital organs for shot placement

Primarily a browser, he feeds during the night or early morning and late afternoon on leaves, grass, branches, flowers and fruit.

When spooked, his alarm signal is a loud, hoarse, dog-like bark. Hunting bushbuck can be very similar to hunting the American white-tailed deer; still-hunting can be very productive, or one might try moving quietly through the bush, probing the dense cover, always being cognizant of the wind direction.

Hunt the bushbuck with the 7mm, or a 30-caliber rifle with suitable 180 grain bullets.  For those hunters who do not wish to go through the red tape of having to bring a rifle in to South Africa Nick Bowker Hunting has available a 7mm custom made Remington Magnum fitted with a suppressor. The rifle is mounted with a Swarovski Z8 tactical scope. We have hand loaded Hornady ELD-X ammunition. This set up including ammunition is available as part of all hunting packages free of charge.

Shot placement is extremely important; from any angle, place your shot so as to penetrate and pass through the chest cavity. 

You do not want to wound this little guy as, for his size, he can be extremely dangerous. A wounded or cornered bushbuck is apt to be very aggressive and will not hesitate to charge. If your wounded bushbuck escapes to dense cover, which he will certainly try to do, be very cautious in your pursuit; allow ample time for your bullet to do its work and if possible send "Jack Russell" into the bush to find him.

IDENTIFICATION: Timid medium-sized antelope. White spots on the buttocks, against the legs, at the base of the neck and the throat. Males turn dark brown to black with age while females retain a light red brown color throughout their life. Only the males have horns.

A Bushbuck trophy hunted in South Africa with Nick Bowker Hunting. One of Africa’s leading hunting safari outfitters

Bushbuck Trophy taken with Nick Bowker. Your Professional Hunter and Outfitter