The key difference between a male and female kudu is that the female does not have horns and is smaller and lighter than the male with very prominent ears. In addition, they have no beard or nose markings.
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 6-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 45 inches.
This is one of the largest species of antelope. Bulls weigh 300–450 pounds, and stand up to 60 inches tall at the shoulder. The ears of the greater kudu are large and round. Cows weigh 200 –300 pounds and stand as little as 39 inches tall at the shoulder; they are hornless, without a beard or nose markings.
The kudu is a browser and feeds on a variety of leaves of trees and shrubs indigenous to South Africa. It also feeds on various fruits, pods, forbs and creepers during different seasons. The kudu is also known to eat South African succulents such as spekboom or bacon tree and aloes.
For male kudu, the rutting season occurs between April and May in South Africa. New-born calves aged 4-6 weeks old are hidden away and nursed by their mothers who visit. Kudu are normally active in the morning and late afternoon. In developed areas or when under pressure from hunting, they have learned to become nocturnal to avoid humans.
Shot Placement for Kudu Hunting
Your kudu bull trophy should have an average shoulder height of around 54 inches, weigh about 340 pounds and have a horn length of approximately 43 - 47 inches. The Safari Club International minimum score for an Eastern Cape kudu is 98. This is measured by adding the length of each horn as well as the circumference of the bases.
Kudu are always one of the first animals on any hunters list. A truly graceful and beautiful trophy. Kudu bulls can be extremely difficult to hunt throughout the year. Be prepared for long stalks and plenty of failed stalks. Kudu have an amazing eyesight and the nickname "Grey Ghost" is for good reason, a kudu is able to vanish into 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.
Kudu are indigenous to the Eastern Cape South Africa and occur in great number. The kudu tends to browse in the early morning and late afternoon, usually resting during the heat of the day. Like many of the antelope species, this majestic giant tends to form family groups of 6 to 12 individuals; mostly cows and calves, with the bulls only joining the herd during mating season. Trophies bulls however are hard to find.
Kudu vital organs for shot placement
Hunting kudu with less than 7mm would not be recommended. 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 Sako carbon light 300 Winchester Magnum fitted with a suppressor. The rifle is mounted with a Swarovski DS with a built-in rangefinder. We have hand loaded Hornady ELD-X 200 grain ammunition. This set up including ammunition is available as part of all hunting packages free of charge. As with most African animals shot placement should always be in the bottom third of the shoulder.
The Eastern Cape Kudu have smaller horns than their cousin the Southern Greater Kudu. The minimum SCI score for a Southern Greater Kudu is 121. Southern Greater Kudu are available in fenced areas in the Eastern Cape but cost substantially more. The Eastern Cape Kudu boasts a much darker coat than that of its cousin the Southern Greater Kudu, and at times the males will carry a very impressive beard running down the front of the neck.
During the rut, from April to June, bulls will lose fear for open country and travel great distances in search of females. Judging the trophy quality of kudu bulls can prove to be very difficult at times: always ensure the shapes of the horns are of a mature shape with good white tips. Consider the spread of the first curl in comparison to the tips of the ears; look at the depth of the curl as this is where the genuine hidden length lies. Any mature bull is an impressive trophy to harvest and the pride of many hunters around the world.
IDENTIFICATION: Large, elegant antelope with impressive SPIRAL horns and white stripes on the flanks. With age, the males become darker against the neck when hair loss occurs.
Kudu Trophy taken with Nick Bowker. Your Professional Hunter and Outfitter