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(Latin = Damaliscus lunatus, Afrikaans = Basterhartbees, Tswana = Tshesebe)

  • Numbers: Fairly Low
  • Weight: 120 – 150 kg (264 – 330 lb.)
  • Shoulder height: 120 cm (48 in.)
  • Record Horn Length:
  • SCI: 19 and four eights in.
  • Rowland Ward: 18 and a half in.
  • Females horns? Yes


The Tsessebe has a dark face with purple blotches on the shoulders, whereas the withers and upper body are reddish-brown. Both sexes grow horns, but those on bulls are heavier. When viewed from the front the horns appear typical ‘halfmoon’ shaped.


They are grazers which utilise a wide range of grass species. They select the leaf over the stems. They prefer fresh growth and are attracted to burnt areas.


Tsessebe are seasonal breeders, which in South Africa give birth during September / October to single calves, after a gestation period of seven months. The rut takes place during mid-February and continues through to March. During the mating season elaborate displays by the bulls form part of the mating ritual.


When spooked, he will run a short distance, stop and look back, even if serious danger has threatened. There is his mistake, and there is your shot. Stalk at first light when hunting tsessebe, or ambush the herd as he approaches his shady resting areas. Because he prefers the plains, a flat shooting rifle may well be required. The .270 Win should be considered the minimum. Rather look to the 7mm’s or the 30 calibers when hunting tsessebe. Do not be fooled by the hump – 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.




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