Hunting gemsbok in South Africa

Hunting gemsbok in South Africa

Hunting gemsbok in South Africa is hunting for one of the best looking African antelope species. With the striking white facial markings and extreme javelin like horns gemsbok are one of the more easily recognizable antelope species in Africa.

With both gemsbok bulls and gemsbok cows sporting these horns that can be described as weapons, great care should be taken when approaching a wounded gemsbok. At times, it can be extremely difficult to sex these animals as older gemsbok cows develop thick base horns making an educated guess quite difficult.

Before a hunt commences the hunter should decide whether he / she would prefer hunting a gemsbok bull or a gemsbok cow. On average the only difference between the two (apart from the obvious) would be that gemsbok bulls have thicker, shorter horns while gemsbok cows have thinner longer horns.

Hunting gemsbok in South Africa with Mkulu African Hunting Safaris is a plains game hunting experience to look forward to. Our gemsbok hunting opportunities are not limited to a single Province as we have a variety of areas where gemsbok hunts can be booked. Gemsbok are also known as Oryx.

Hunting gemsbok is hunting for one of the top 10 most favorite animals to hunt in Africa.

Gemsbok hunting prices

Gemsbok hunting prices South Africa for the 2020 hunting season is                $ 1 650.

It does occasionally happen we come across gemsbok that need culled. When this happens we only hunt non-trophy animals which can be semi-juvenile, sickly animals or animals with broken horns. This is purely a hunt to assist in numbers control. You may keep some of the skins and horns attached to the sculls. For cull hunting gemsbok our gemsbok hunting prices are $ 750 per animal excluding daily rates. If you would like to hunt more than 10 animals per hunter (or per group of hunters), we can look at charging $ 650 per animal excluding daily rates.

Gun scope for hunting gemsbok in South Africa

The best gun scope for hunting gemsbok would be Leupold,  Swarovski optics and Leica. These scopes certainly provide more light under darker conditions but are generally very expensive if you only plan on one African plains game hunting safari.

Purchase the optics you can afford. The single most important issue is the scope must be able to withstand the recoil once you squeeze the trigger.

A good 2 – 12 X 50 gun scope is sufficient for gemsbok hunting in South Africa.

Gemsbok behavior

Gemsbok are gregarious animals preferring safety in numbers. At times bulls become solitary defending their territory against other gemsbok bulls. Receptive cows in herds passing through will attract their attention.

Gemsbok / oryx originate from traditional dry regions to the far western parts of South Africa. Succulents and interspersed water holes supply the water needs of these fine animals.

They have been introduced to a number of other regions within sub-Sahara Africa with great success. However, gemsbok do not adapt well to regions with high rainfall figures or to regions that has permanent water features like swamps.

Gemsbok cows hide their young for the first two weeks after birth before introducing them to the rest of the herd. It is known that these cows are extremely protective of their calves and will protect their calves at all cost.

Gemsbok have brittle hair quills rather than a fur. To have the back skin tanned to lay on the floor is not advised as foot traffic will wear the skin down to a hairless rug in no time. Rather use the skin as inlays for a pedestal mount and have the bushy tail converted to a fly swat.

Ammunition for hunting gemsbok in South Africa
Best caliber for hunting gemsbok in South Africa

The best caliber to hunt gemsbok with is the one you know best. We can argue calibers from now till chickens grow teeth and still disagree. Why try and fix something that is not broke?

Use a medium bore rifle that you can shoot accurately and feel comfortable using.

We consider the following as the best calibers for hunting gemsbok in South Africa:

  • 270 using a minimum bullet weight of 150 gr traveling at a muzzle velocity at 2 700 feet per second (fps). Only use Barnes TTSX, Nosler Partition, Sierra GameKing, Federal Premium and other premium grade ammunition. When using a 270 on such a large animal, please be very sure of your shot placement.
  • 308 using a minimum bullet weight of 165 gr traveling at a muzzle velocity of about 3 000 feet per second (fps). Only use Barnes TTSX, Nosler Partition, Sierra GameKing, Federal Premium and other premium grade ammunition.
  • hunting gemsbok with the greatest caliber on earth, the 30-06. Our best results have consistently come from using Barnes TTSX 150 gr ammunition at slightly shy of 2 800 fps.
  • 300 WSM and 300 WM or any other comparable calibers for hunting gemsbok. Only use premium grade ammunition like Barnes, Nosler Partition, Federal Premium and others. For these two calibers use 165 gr and 180 gr anywhere between 3 130 fps and 2 950 fps.

The 300 calibers are usually not considered to be the best calibers for bushveld hunting. The possibility of having a deflection en-route to the target outweighs the full potential of these calibers. Rather reserve these guys for the open plains when hunting in the Kalahari or hunting in the Free State.

Hunting gemsbok South Africa caliber
Gemsbok hunting prices

Hunting gemsbok in South Africa shot placement diagram

Gemsbok shot placement diagram
Broadside shot

Shot placement on gemsbok, try and aim right on the shoulder in line with the middle of the front leg, one third of the way up from the bottom of the brisket to the top of the hump on the back. This should lead to a high heart shot while breaking the shoulder.

Alternatively, aim behind the shoulder about midway between the brisket and the hump for a high lung shot.

Quartering to

Make sure to aim for the inside of the closer shoulder for a good shot placement on gemsbok. Aim at the same height as for a broadside shot. Do not attempt this shot if you are not comfortable taking the shot.

Quartering away

Place the shot at the spot bisecting the angle formed by the front legs. Similarly, aim at the same height as for a broadside shot. This shot placement position on gemsbok works well if you read below.

Only attempt this shot if you are shooting larger calibers like a 300 Win Mag, 300 Ultra Mag or 375. There is a lot of stomach content that needs to be penetrated.

Facing on

Take your time and make sure you aim at the bottom of the throat where it meets the chest. Frontal shot placement on gemsbok care should be taken not to misjudge where the throat joins the chest.

Gemsbok trophy hunting pictures

General information on hunting gemsbok in South Africa

At some point in time a gemsbok bull will decide he has to stake his claim. This is when he becomes solitary defending his piece of real estate. This makes him wily and wide awake for he no longer has companions to warn him of approaching hunters.

This makes hunting a gemsbok bull rather difficult if you are not watching where you are going. They will run away at the slightest sound variation or movement.

Gemsbok sport two amazingly sharp horns. A gemsbok trophy mount usually ends up by facing left or right so the horns do not get stuck against the wall. A pedestal mount works well if you have space for it in a corner.

Make sure you are prepared for numerous situations with regards to taking a shot quickly, or lying down, or from a tree and even from the tracker’s shoulder.

Enjoy your hunt. Be sure. Be safe and know where your rifle shoots.

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Tips for hunting gemsbok in South Africa

Larger gemsbok herds are more difficult to stalk due to every member of the gemsbok herd being alert most of the time. Solitary males can become extremely wily and are very hard to hunt.

Caution must be applied when on the final approach. Any sudden movements will attract the attention of a weary gemsbok and result in the herd relocating itself.

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Best time of year to hunt gemsbok

Traditionally the bush is rather dense during our summer months from November to April. From June to August the bush starts to recede rather quickly. During September and October the daily temperatures start rising while the bush recedes to a minimum.

The best time of year to hunt gemsbok in South Africa is:

  • gemsbok rut roughly during the second week of April till about the second week in May (give or take a few days)
  • secondly, from late June to end October when the bush has receded most making visibility easier

We can and do hunt gemsbok from January to December.

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Average shot distance

The average expected shot distance when hunting gemsbok in South Africa is 60 to 180 yards depending on the terrain you are hunting in.

Below is one of our gemsbok hunting videos. Feel free to experience the excitement with us!
Hunting gemsbok with 308

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