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Thread: How challenging are the various species of plains game?

  1. #1

    How challenging are the various species of plains game?

    A question for all the more experienced hunters of african plains game this...

    If you were to list in order of difficulty the following animals, which would you rate at the most challenging, the least challenging? And where would you rate those inbetween? Feel free to add any I've missedd off if you've hunted them yourself.

    I appreciate there will be many variables that need to be included (Please detail them) and it's almost certain that not everyone will agree. But if you could have a go, I'd be very interested to read everyones views..

    Black Wildebeest
    Blue Wildebeest**
    Blesbok
    Gemsbok
    Mountain Reedbok
    Red Hartebeest

    **Not 100% sure if blue wildebeest are classed as plains game?

    Cheers
    Jared
    Springbok

  2. #2
    Hmm you have missed a fair few off the list, such as Greater Kudu, Nyala and Eland. But having hunted and taken all of those on your list, I would say the Gemsbok is the hardest, if hunted on a fair chase basis.

    I have taken both bull and cow, north and south of the Kalahari Desert, and one of the most difficult things with these wonderful animals is judging the sex. Both male and female carry horns, although the bulls are thicker at the base and shorter as a rule, but not always. The only sure way is to look for the penal button, but thats not always easy to see. They are also tough, and can carry a shot, even when well placed.

    Black Wildebeest can also be a problem to take down, as are the Blue. They are very tough, and bullet placement is important, but that applies to anything you hunt.

    I have to say though that one of my most enjoyable hunts was for my Nyala. They are the most beautiful animals, and I got lucky in 1996 and took a very large bull in Zululand.

    If you go with the right PH and outfit you can hunt some very large areas, even in South Africa, where most are fenced. If you are considering going dont go for the bottom end cheap package deals if you want a real African experience. They can be very good and there are some good deals about, but make sure its not a small ranch where you are going to see the fence in the first hour of being in the truck.

    ATB

    Sikamalc

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply.

    The ommisions are deliberate as I won't be going for kudu etc this time around. I am off to SA on my first ever big game experience. It won't be fenced in, the first question I asked was "is this canned hunting"? It's something I'd not choose t do as I know in my heart, any animals hunted idn't have a fair chance in my humble opinion anyway.

    You raise an interesting point about gemsbok. I didn't realise that they were hard to sex! They're a great looking animal. As is the Nyala, sadly the latter is not available where I'm going. Saying that, I very much doubt this will be the only trip I make out there!

    How would you rate springbok and blesbok in terms of difficulty?

    ATB

    Jared

  4. #4
    Springbuck are again a most intruiging animal, and you need to take your time picking out a nice Ram. Not to tell you how to suck eggs but the ewes also have horns. Springbuck can be flighty and depending where you are some fairly long shots can be taken in excess of 250yds. Look for a ram with nice thick bases, and nice turned in horns at the top.

    If you are in the northern part of SA you will find that Springies are larger bodied and carry bigger heads than their slightly smaller cousins in the Cape. Both the same animal, its just they do not get as big. I have taken them in Botswana, N South Africa and the Cape.

    Blesbuck and Bontebok look the same and herds in SA must be registered and not mixed so as to ensure the integrity of the two species. I found them both rather easy, and not hard at all to stalk.

    One piece of advice if I may-------- some PH's ask you to shoot from the hunting vehicle, which is not ethical to me. Best to ask them to drive to a spot and then walk, you will cover less ground but you will find that whatever trophy you take it will mean far more to you than taking it from a vehicle. I am sure you know that anyway, so please excuse me, I do not want to appear to be telling you what to do.

    Have a great time. I am out on Safari in SA as well at the end of this month, only this time with a camera, I have no desire to shoot any more, although another Cape Buff would not go amiss

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by MJ75 View Post
    A question for all the more experienced hunters of african plains game this...

    If you were to list in order of difficulty the following animals, which would you rate at the most challenging, the least challenging? And where would you rate those inbetween? Feel free to add any I've missedd off if you've hunted them yourself.

    I appreciate there will be many variables that need to be included (Please detail them) and it's almost certain that not everyone will agree. But if you could have a go, I'd be very interested to read everyones views..

    Black Wildebeest
    Blue Wildebeest**
    Blesbok
    Gemsbok
    Mountain Reedbok
    Red Hartebeest

    **Not 100% sure if blue wildebeest are classed as plains game?

    Cheers
    Jared
    Springbok
    They all can be challenging mate the reason being we (the british hunter that is) dont really know what where looking for,well at least for the first few days untill you get used to the surrounding.
    the few times Ive been was to Namiba,Ive shot most plains games inc Giraffe,zebra,kudo and elan,the most challenging I would say is zebra,
    I intend to hunt south africa next year as i have had a deal offered which cannot be beat,
    you dont have to pay a fortune to hunt Africa and using the right people you will experience the "real africa" without breaking the bank,the last trip I went on for example,we paid 2100 plus flight which inc all animals taken with no limit,if you shot a trophy which some did if you didnt want it you didnt pay for it,now thats value for money

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by sikamalc View Post
    Springbuck are again a most intruiging animal, and you need to take your time picking out a nice Ram. Not to tell you how to suck eggs but the ewes also have horns. Springbuck can be flighty and depending where you are some fairly long shots can be taken in excess of 250yds. Look for a ram with nice thick bases, and nice turned in horns at the top.
    Quote Originally Posted by sikamalc View Post
    If you are in the northern part of SA you will find that Springies are larger bodied and carry bigger heads than their slightly smaller cousins in the Cape. Both the same animal, its just they do not get as big. I have taken them in Botswana, N South Africa and the Cape.
    Blesbuck and Bontebok look the same and herds in SA must be registered and not mixed so as to ensure the integrity of the two species. I found them both rather easy, and not hard at all to stalk.
    One piece of advice if I may-------- some PH's ask you to shoot from the hunting vehicle, which is not ethical to me. Best to ask them to drive to a spot and then walk, you will cover less ground but you will find that whatever trophy you take it will mean far more to you than taking it from a vehicle. I am sure you know that anyway, so please excuse me, I do not want to appear to be telling you what to do.
    Have a great time. I am out on Safari in SA as well at the end of this month, only this time with a camera, I have no desire to shoot any more, although another Cape Buff would not go amiss

    This will be my first trip and so I'm trying to learn as much as I can before I arrive so I welcome every scrap of info I can get hold of right now! So snippets like the springboks horns are very useful. I completely agree about only going on an ethical hunt. I posted about canned hunts in the UK, but thats purely out of interest and I have no intention of doing it. I wouldn't really want a shoulder mounted trophy, shot in a canned hunt, or from a hunt where the vehicle was abused in any way. After all, the trophy, mounted in my home would be a daily reminder that I've not really achieved very much! I can relate to this to an extent with my angling experience. I can catch many freshly stocked rainbow trout in a put and take lake, which for all intents and purposes is "canned fishing", whereas, one wild brown, taken on a traditional dry fly in a river is worth 20 + "stockie" rainbow trout.

    I'll take pics and try a bit of write up about the whole experience later on in the year. Cape buff.... Maybe one day. After much more experience I think!

  7. #7
    Sika Malc mentioned how difficult it can be to determine the sex of a gemsbok, siting the penile button as a method of determination, as well as the information he gives on the horns. In 2007, I was out looking for a gemsbok bull in the North part of the Eastern Cape. Hunting in some really hilly area, around 1600hrs my PH (an excellent fellow) led me into a group of gemsbok on the side of a fairly steep hill, at a distance of 215 yards. We watched them for around fifteen minutes before the PH instructed me to shoot a specific animal. He had identified it as a bull by the penile button. It certainly looked like a bull, penile button and all. Shot taken, gemsbok moves down the slope about fifteen yards and collapses. PH (being younger than I) gets to the gemsbok first. "Oh F**k" I hear him cry. "It's a f*****g cow". Closer examination determined it was indeed a cow. She had been in a fight and had been poked by another gemsbok. She had two stab wounds in her gut, one right where the penile sheath would have been. This wound was infected and swollen into an abcess, for all the world looking like a penis sheath at 215 yards. The other poke wound nearer the front end was not so obvious. Now I could have demanded another bull, as it was really the PH's mistake. However, I had also decided that the gemsbok was male so I was happy to accept the fine stalk, shot and result. An injured animal off the hill. The farmer was pleased too. The PH was embarrassed, but only until the second bottle of wine. Like Malc, I abhor the notion of a canned hunt. However, all game farms have, by law, to have an external fence. That is one of the things that makes it expensive for an outfitter taking out International guests to "set up".

    Again, like Malc, my enduring memory is my nyala hunt. It was really special for me.

    Back at the original question, kudu is a challenging stalk. Every PH I know (there are a few) will change mode when stalking kudu. They may not realise it, but they do. I have asked this question of all PHs I have met. "What is your favourite animal to stalk". All but the dedicated dangerous game guys have answered, "kudu".

    MJ75. You are in Derbyshire, I am in East Staffordshire. You are welcome to come and see my trophy room and the bits and bobs therein. Send me a PM or visit my stand at the CLA JO737. Have a great time in RSA.

  8. #8
    Mountain Reedbuck. The hint is in the name....

    A whole day on the hill with only 500ml of water. When they see you they run and don't stop. Moved onto a few females but only saw a buck at last light. Sprint over large boulders and a "when there's lead in the air there's hope" shot. Back gut shot. I was not going through that day again.

    Stan

  9. #9
    BUSH BUCK!

    my next target when I return to africa!

    gona try with my bow!

    I could of shot a real nice bush buck on my last safari,but I was hunting warthog and didnt want to end the stalk prematurly,dumb idea!

  10. #10
    Given that you are on a fair chase basis they are all difficult, some more than others I’m not that experienced, The one that gave me the most satisfaction was Bushbuck it took 4 days on foot to get and it was worth every minute.
    I did manage to get a good Red Hartebeest bull which provided different challenges, like cutting my legs and arms to bits crawling through rough grass and staying still for in difficult positions for some time until in close and the shot was on.
    The hunting we did was to set off in the morning or at evening on foot once we reached the area following tracks and the whole experience is so forfilling.
    But you need to be fit we covered a lot of ground and some is very difficult.
    We did come across most of the specis mentioned in the thread and more besides, but I have to say Nyala are stunning so much so almost to stunning to shoot. ALMOST!
    Good luck with your trip

    Smithy

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