South African Safari
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Spiral horned antelope are elusive antelope characterized by outrageously impressive spiraled horns in the males, and lovely camouflaged patterns in the females. Previously, we looked at the impressive Kudu and Eland. If you’ve missed our first article about Hunting Spiral-Horned Antelope Part 1, you are more than welcome to read it. 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. Here follows a couple of tips on hunting Nyala and Bushbuck:
The Nyala and Bushbuck are very closely related. They are water dependent and therefore have to drink daily. They tend to graze during the cool hours and even at night, resting during the heat of the day. The techniques used for hunting Nyala associates closely with the techniques used for hunting kudu. An ambush when the antelope approached the feeding areas and water holes, can be recommended. If tracked and pushed hard, like most antelope, it will become curious and stop to look back at his pursuer. This gives you an opportunity to take the shot. Rifles of less than .270 cannot be recommended. The .270 and a good shot placement will certainly get the job done. The various 30 calibers, would be an even better choice.
The bushbuck is the smallest member of the spiral-horned antelope. It is primarily a browser and feeds during the night or early morning and late afternoon on leaves, grass, branches, flowers and fruit.
Still-hunting can be very productive, or one might try moving quietly through the bush, probing the dense cover, always being aware of the wind direction. It is recommended that you hunt the bushbuck with a 7x57mm, or a 30 caliber rifle. You will probably be shooting through thick cover. Shot placement is extremely important. Place your shot so as to penetrate and pass through the chest cavity. You do not want to wound it because, for his size, it 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.
The elegant spiral-horned antelope make for beautiful trophies and is definitely a must for all hunters that come to hunt in Africa.
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…
To some, hunting is second nature. But if you haven’t hunted before, it might feel a little overwhelming. And even if you have hunted before, there will always be something new you can learn. All of us have to start somewhere. Here is a couple of pointers and tips to help you keep ahead of the game!
Firstly, you need to prepare well in advance for your first hunting trip. When you do go out into the bush for the first time, you will need to be educated and familiar with your chosen equipment.
Find a Mentor / Be an Apprentice
Find someone to go on a hunt with. Go without your gun and simply watch them hunt, and learn from them. This will let you get a feel for it and see what it’s like. If you respect the hunter and nature well enough, he might even let you in on some of his secrets.
Check the Law and Regulations
Ensure that you are up to date with the latest hunting and rifle laws in your area/country and that you understand them. Also, ensure that you have the right licenses.
Gun Safety Rules
Before you handle a gun, make sure you read and understand the rules of basic firearms safety. It’s always a good idea to review these rules from time to time, even if you are experienced with guns. Depending on where you live, there might even be some hunter’s safety courses available.
You need to practice shooting to become proficient. It is important to get comfortable with your choice of rifle or bow. Head to the range and get started.
Don’t hurry out to buy a gun. You can practice with borrowed guns. If you have friends and family who will go to the range with you and let you shoot their guns, that’s great. If not, try calling some local ranges. Tell them you don’t have a gun but you would like to try shooting. Many ranges and farms offer guns for rent.
Gear for beginners
You will need some basic gear in order to begin hunting, including comfortable clothing, a strong sharp knife, good footwear, etc. But you absolutely do not need to go out and spend lots of money on the latest camouflage or equipment. Expensive gear simply is not necessary. Make sure you can stay warm and dry and comfortable, and that you can perform all the tasks you need to do.
Small game hunting is often a great way for a beginner hunter to learn because it usually offers more opportunities and a greater chance for success. It also provides a successful hunter with a taste of what’s to come, should he or she keep on hunting and move on to larger animals in the future.
Enjoy every moment
The most important is to get out there and enjoy yourself. Hunting is one of the very best ways to spend time. It will provide you with a better understanding of (and a greater appreciation for) wildlife and how animals live in the wild and a deeper appreciation for all types of life.