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Spiral-horned antelope are large and elusive antelope characterized by outrageously impressive spiralled horns in the males and lovely camouflaged patterns in the females. Only the males have horns, except in the case of Eland where both sexes are horned. The most common species of the spiral-horned antelope found in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa are Kudu, Eland, Nyala and Bushbuck. The spiral in the horns is a result of a growth pulse. At certain times, the horn material will grow faster and thinner and at other times thicker and slower, resulting in spiral horns. Here follows a couple of tips on hunting these magnificent species:
The kudu tends to browse in the early morning and late afternoon. It usually rests during the heat of the day. Hunting kudu can be extremely challenging. It is very sly and extremely elusive with exceptional senses. It will be easiest to look for spoor around water holes as they drink regularly and will never be too far from water. There are several methods that can be used when hunting kudu. One must check likely feeding areas in the early morning hours, and stalk.
It also recommended that one ambush the kudu’s likely feeding areas at daybreak as the bulls return to higher ground and cover. At midday, you can lie in wait by the water, as they are regular drinkers. In addition to these techniques, consider tracking if the ground permits, or try still-hunting in thick cover. Hunting kudu with less than 7mm or .270 caliber rifles would not be recommended.
The Cape Eland is southern Africa’s largest antelope, and also the largest spiral-horned antelope. Eland tends to be nervous, taking flight at the first sign of danger. This could make hunting extremely difficult, as they are difficult to approach and to therefore get within shooting range. Hunting Eland with the right rifle is also of paramount importance. Many Eland are taken with lesser rifles, but the .375 would not be considered overkill! A well-placed shot are very important. A few inches to the left or right with a lesser caliber may make for a long day of tracking or even the loss of a wounded animal. The easiest way to hunt eland is by chance encounter while hunting other game. Ensure that you have a quick follow-up shot, as he will not go down easily.
To be continued… see part 2
A Bucket List is a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime. Your Hunting Bucket List is exactly the same. There is an extremely diverse assortment of game animals available in Africa. A hunter needs to narrow down the species he intends to take on a given safari as all species are not common to a single geographical area. Here are two animals that not a lot of people have hunted before, and if you haven’t hunted one of them yet, it should definitely be on your Hunting Bucket List for your next trip to South Africa.
The Roan is the second largest antelope in Africa. This fairly large antelope is indigenous to the northern reaches of Southern Africa. However, game ranching has made him available in many places where it was not previously found. The “roan” in its name refers to its coloring, which shows a strawberry tint when the light is right. The .270 Win should be the absolute minimum when hunting Roan. The 30 calibers is a much better choice. Your best bet for hunting roan antelope is a good .338 magnum, the 9.3mm or the trusty .375 H&H. The high heart/lung shot will do nicely for the side-on presentation, straight up the front leg one-third into the body. Be cautious when hunting the roan antelope, as this big fellow can be extremely dangerous. Definitely one for your Hunting Bucket List.
The Tsessebe is reputed to be the fastest of all African antelope. It has a dark face with purple blotches on the shoulders, whereas the withers and upper body are reddish-brown. The .270 Win and a good expanding 130-grain bullet should be considered the minimum. Rather look to the 7mm’s or the 30 calibers with up to 180-grain bullets for a better result when hunting Tsessebe. Do not be fooled by the hump on its shoulder, it may cause you to shoot too high. With a side-on presentation, the high heart-lung shot is the recommended medicine, up the front leg about one-third into the body. Do not place your shot any higher than the midline. If you take a shoulder shot, place it a bit further up and farther forward than you would the standard high heart shot. The neck is a bit too slender to recommend the neck/spinal shot. If while hunting Tsessebe, he offers the frontal shot, take care and place your shot in the center of the chest between the shoulder joints; wait until he lifts or turns his head. When spooked, he will run a short distance, stop and look back, even if serious danger has threatened. There is its mistake, and there is your shot.
Goals that are not written down are just wishes. We would accomplish much more things if we did not think of them as impossible. South Africa should be on the top of your Bucket List as a Holiday destination. Its unsurpassed wildlife combined with wonderful clear skies, amazing sunsets, breath-taking natural scenery, history, culture and some of the best vineyards in the world will ensure an adventure you will never forget!
Hunting impala is on the agenda for just about every hunter who sets foot on the ‘dark continent’. The rooibok (red buck), as he is known in Afrikaans, is the bread and butter antelope of Southern Africa. He is commonly used for camp meat, bait for leopard, and just to ‘cut the teeth’ of the new African hunter. This graceful, medium-sized antelope is a sociable herd animal that frequents open woodlands, the bushveld, and the mopane scrub. Both a browser and a grazer, he will never venture far from water, as he must drink daily. The lyre-shaped horns are only carried by the rams, but the herd’s propensity to bunch together in the dense brush can make it easy to make a mistake.
Hunting impala is best accomplished in the autumn rut when the best rams are usually found within the breeding herds. Be aware of the rooibok’s keen sense of hearing and smell, not to mention his superb eyesight which all account for the need to make cautious and calculated stalks if you intend to “close the deal” on this quarry. A couple more tips regarding hunting impala: he is most active during the cooler times of the day (early morning and later in the afternoon). Consider an ambush near known feeding areas. Exercise great caution when hunting impala, as when alarmed, they will herd tightly together, making it easy to shoot more than one with a single shot. A sub-species, the black-faced impala is easily identified by the black blaze on the nose and face and can be found mostly in the northern reaches of Namibia and Angola.
While hunting impala with the .22 centerfire is legal in most countries of Southern Africa, the 6mm, 7mm, right on up to the 30 calibers are probably a far better choice if you are not interested in tracking wounded impala for the better part of the day.
Quality, heavy-for-caliber round-nose bullets sport an excellent reputation for the bushveld conditions under which you are most apt to find yourself. This medium-sized antelope is tough for his size, so the high heart/lung shot is going to be your best bet when hunting impala. If you are shooting for meat, the high lung shot will spoil less meat. Aim your shot directly up the fore-leg about one third or a bit higher and just a ‘tad’ to the rear if you are going for the lungs. The neck shot can be placed anywhere along the length of the neck. The brain shot should only be attempted by the experienced hunter and professional ‘culler’; this shot is not for the average sport or meat hunter. Hunting impala can make for a wonderful first hunt for the newly initiated African hunter, and a great first take on any safari just to get some meat for the table.