Hunting red hartebeest South Africa

Hunting red hartebeest South Africa

Hunting red hartebeest South Africa is likened to hunting the warthog of antelope species. Some hunters reckon that red hartebeest are the ugliest antelope in South Africa. Red hartebeest are great adversaries and being gregarious will outsmart most hunters the first-time round. Care should be taken to distinguish properly between red hartebeest bulls and red hartebeest cows as both have horns.

Nonetheless red hartebeest make for superb trophies and present well on the wall in conjunction with the hunting challenge offered. This is not a large frame animal and most rifle calibers used to hunt red hartebeest will penetrate completely and exit on the other side. The chances of wounding an animal not intended as the target is rather large.

Gun scope for red hartebeest South Africa

There are numerous gun scopes and gun scope brands available on the market today. Leupold and Swarovski optics are certainly superior. However, 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 hunting red hartebeest South Africa.

We are of the opinion that the best gun scope for red hartebeest hunting is the one you have on your rifle. Use it effectively.

Red hartebeest hunting prices

Red hartebeest hunting prices for the 2020 hunting season season is                $ 1 250.

In most areas red hartebeest are not available for cull hunting. If we should happen to be on a property where cull hunts are available we will inform accordingly. The cull hunting prices will be well below market value and will be for non-trophy animals.

Follow this link to the 2020 South African hunting safari price list

Hunting red hartebeest prices
Interesting red hartebeest facts

Red hartebeest scientific name: Alcelaphus buselaphus caama

Red hartebeest, as the name implies, has a reddish-brown colored coat, with a long sloping back to the hind quarters. The elongated sad-looking face should not be interpreted as being stupid.

Both red hartebeest bulls and cows have horns. Bulls have heavy-set horns whereas cows mostly have slender horns. Adult bulls weigh down the scale at an average body weight of 330 lb. (150 kg) and cows are a hefty 265 lb. body weight on average.

Calves are born after a gestation period of eight months just before the summer rains. As a security measure calves are hidden in dense vegetation before being introduced to the herd.

Red hartebeest are gregarious and can congregate in groups of up to 30 individuals. Territorial bulls mark their territories with dung piles, visiting and refreshing the dung piles once a week.

Ammunition for hunting red hartebeest

We recommend you only use premium grade ammunition when hunting red hartebeest in South Africa.

Our preferred ammunition manufacturer for hunting red hartebeest in South Africa is Barnes TTSX in any weight. Other premium grade ammunition manufactures you can use would be Federal Premium and others.

The reason we keep hammering on using premium grade ammunition is:

In South Africa if you shoot at an animal and blood is drawn, the animal is considered bought and paid for. If you use cheap ammunition that is inferior and causes blood to be drawn you pay even if we do not find it.

What you are looking for in premium grade ammunition is consistent performance. Petals must mushroom creating a wide wound channel leading to the animal expiring quickly.

Petals that break off, or worse, if the bullet / projectile disintegrates upon contact the animal will possibly survive and you still pay.

Caliber for hunting red hartebeest South Africa


The best caliber to for hunting red hartebeest South Africa 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 red hartebeest South Africa:

270 using a minimum bullet weight of 150 gr
  • Federal Hi-Shok soft point ammunition traveling at a muzzle velocity of about 2 850 feet per second (fps)
  • Winchester Power-Point 150 gr ammunition traveling at a muzzle velocity of 2 850 fps
  • Nosler Partition 150 gr ammunition traveling at a muzzle velocity of 2 850 fps


308 using a minimum bullet weight of 150 gr
  • Federal 150 gr Nosler Partition ammunition at a muzzle velocity of 2 840 feet per second (fps)
  • Remington 165 gr AccuTip Boat Tail ammunition at a muzzle velocity of 2 700 fps
  • Norma 180 gr Nosler Partition at a muzzle velocity of 2 612 fps


30-06 using a minimum bullet weight of 150 gr
  • This is hunting the most wanted plains game animal, with the world’s best caliber using the world’s best ammunition.
  • Barnes TTSX 150 gr at a muzzle velocity of 2 750 feet per second (fps)
  • Federal 165 gr Nosler Partition at a muzzle velocity of 2 830 fps
  • Norma 180 gr Oryx at a muzzle velocity of 2 700 fps


300 WSM and 300 WM or any such calibers
  • Only use premium grade ammunition like Barnes, Nosler Partition, Federal Premium and others. For these two calibers use 150 gr or 165 gr anywhere between 3 150 fps and 3 300 fps.
  • Due to the relative high velocity of these two calibers, they are not considered to be bushveld hunting calibers. They do work and they will continue to work. However, if you do have another caliber, please use it. High velocity calibers many times have a deflection from small branches, whereas slower calibers with heavier bullets tend to chug along and still hit the intended target.


375 H&H using the following ammunition:
  • Speer 300 gr at 2 550 fps muzzle velocity
  • Federal 300 gr Sledgehammer at 2 530 fps muzzle velocity and
  • Barnes TSX 300 gr at 2 490 fps muzzle velocity

Follow this link for a comprehensive list of caliber recommendations

Caliber to hunt red hartebeest
308 for hunting red hartebeest
Ammunition for hunting red hartebeest

Hunting red hartebeest South Africa shot placement

Red hartebeest shot placement diagram
Broadside shot

A broadside shot on red hartebeest: the shot should be placed behind the shoulder in line with the front leg and almost two thirds of the way up from the bottom of the brisket to the top of the back. This will ensure a good lung shot.

A shot right on the shoulder, roughly one third of the way from the bottom of the brisket to the top of the hump on the back will make a good heart shot.

Quartering to

Aim for the inside of the closer shoulder of the red hartebeest, aiming one third of the way from the bottom of the brisket to the top of the back..

Quartering away

Depending on what caliber you are using a quartering away shot on red hartebeest will be fine in most cases. Large calibers will lead to best results should the shot have to pass through stomach content.

Facing on

Place the shot in the center of the chest of the red hartebeest where the throat joins the chest. Red hartebeest occasionally bring their heads down when they snort a warning. Be mindful not to take the shot when the face of the animal obscures the target area.

Gallery of red hartebeest trophy hunting pictures

General information on hunting red hartebeest in South Africa

Red hartebeest are by no means the most gracious or beautiful antelope in the African bushveld. On the contrary, they look rather ordinary and out-of-proportion with their long faces, backward curved horns and Harley Davidson handles.

This does not make them stupid. If you are hunting red hartebeest on a property where red hartebeest are hunted often, these animals become very aware of their surroundings.

A single snort will send them all galloping away. Trying to reconnect with them after the initial disturbance will certainly have them relocate with haste again. At some point in time a red hartebeest bull will decide he has to stake his claim. This is when he becomes solitary defending his piece of real estate. The net result is he becomes wily and wide awake for he no longer has companions to warn him of approaching hunters.

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

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

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


Tips for hunting red hartebeest in South Africa

Larger red hartebeest herds are more difficult to stalk due to every member of the hartebeest 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 any of the many weary red hartebeest and result in the herd relocating itself.

This will have you take the long walk of shame back to the truck.


Best time of year to hunt red hartebeest

The best time of year to hunt red hartebeest in South Africa is the second week of April until the end of October and even to mid-November when the bush has receded most.

If you would rather hunt your red hartebeest with a bow and arrow please follow this link.


Average shot distance

The average expected shot distance when hunting red hartebeest is 80 to 180 yards depending on the terrain you are hunting in.

Below is one of our red hartebeest hunting videos.

Feel free to experience the excitement with us!

Plains game hunting packages

  • Plains game hunting packages South Africa
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Dangerous game hunting options

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