Hunting zebra in Africa

Hunting zebra in Africa

Hunting zebra in Africa is hunting for one of the four most popular animals to hunt in Africa. Zebra rugs are the most popular way of having your zebra trophy mounted.

Know that hunting zebra in Africa is far more difficult than a hunter would expect. Zebra have fine-tuned hearing and smelling and have exceptional eyesight. Because zebra are herd animals they are very hard to approach unseen. A shot must be taken as soon as one is presented.

The following applies weather hunting the Burchell’s or the mountain zebra.

This is the one specie that is incredibly difficult to sex. The sexual organs of the stallion are situated far back on the abdominal area. This makes it almost impossible to observe when the animal is relaxed and not urinating.

The vital organs area is situated low in the chest making it rather easy to wound one of these striped animals. It is legal to hunt zebra with the correct permissions.

Take note of the so-called sergeant stripes formed on the shoulder of a zebra. This is the best indicator as to where the shot should be placed.

Zebra hunting prices

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

Zebra cull hunting prices: very few zebra cull hunts are available. If and when we do come across zebras for culling, the zebra cull hunting prices will be $ 650 per animal. You get to keep the skins.

Zebra hunting caliber
Gun Scope

There are numerous gun scopes and gun scope brands available on the market. Leupold and Swarovski optics certainly provide more light under darker conditions.

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 zebra in South Africa.

Zebra facts

Zebra scientific name: Equus burchelli

The black body stripes extend to below the belly where they end up against the stripes from the opposite side. Common zebra (Burchell’s zebra) have a distinct shadow stripe between the black stripes that are more prominent towards the rump of the animal. They have fewer leg stripes that display less prominent.

The average body weight these animals run the scale up to is approximately 700 lb. (320 kg) with an average shoulder height of approximately 51” (1,3 m).

Zebra mostly deliver their foals during summer time from October to December after a gestation period of 10 – 12 months. Foals suckle for 11 months after which they are weaned.

They are gregarious, living in smaller family groups of between eight and 15 animals. A dominant stallion will defend his harem actively against possible intruders. The stallion will evict younger males as soon as he feels they become a threat to his supremacy.

Common zebra are grazers that prefer savanna- and limited woodlands. They have to use water on a daily basis so are seldom too far from a permanent water source.

Ammunition for zebra hunting in Africa

Our preferred ammunition manufacturer is Barnes in just about any weight. Other premium grade ammunition manufactures you can use are Federal Premium, Sierra and others.

We recommend you only use premium grade ammunition for hunting zebra in Africa.

Ammunition for hunting zebra in Africa
Zebra hunting caliber

The best caliber for hunting zebra in 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?

The caliber for hunting zebras in Africa is one where we believe: more is good. The time spent on tracking wounded zebra will be enough time to cure jerky. Zebras are incredibly tough animals. If you do not use appropriate ammunition you will lose at least a day and a half due to tracking. And it is not guaranteed we will find the animal.

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

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


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 similar caliber
  • 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 soft nose 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

Of all the mentioned calibers above, we would feel most comfortable if you used a 375. Obviously, if you are sure of your shot placement you are more than welcome to use your own caliber.

Follow this link for a comprehensive list of caliber recommendations

Hunting zebra in Africa
Hunting zebras in Africa ammunition
Best caliber for hunting zebra South Africa

Hunting zebra in Africa shot placement diagram

Zebra shot placement diagram
Broadside shot

Shot placement on zebra has two possibilities. General rule of thumb on a broadside shot is to place the shot directly behind the shoulder of the zebra, about halfway up from the bottom of the chest to the top of the back. This will lead to a definite lung shot.

According to previous generations the following was the rule: if you can eat it, shoot it behind the shoulder; if it can eat you, shoot it on the shoulder.

Place the shot right inside the sergeant stripes for a heart shot if you are presented with a perfect broadside shot.

Quartering to

Aim for the inside of the closer shoulder to allow the shot to penetrate the vital organs. Zebra shot placement with medium bore calibers usually ends well for the hunter. Do not take the shot if you are unsure about yourself.

Quartering away

Bisect the angle formed between the front legs, aim in the bottom third of the distance between the bottom of the chest and the top of the back of the zebra.

If you are using a 375 zebra seldom move far from where they receive the shot. Subject to using premium grade ammunition and no deflections.

Facing on

Put the shot in the center of the chest of the zebra where the throat joins the body.

Avoid head shots. If the zebra gives a tremendous jump with his head down initially, it was a great shot.

Hunting zebra in Africa general information

We are often confronted by hunters saying they cannot shoot a horse. If you know how hard it is to shoot a dog then we concur: shooting a horse cannot be fun.

However, hunting zebras in Africa in their natural environment is a horse of a different color. Not only are zebra wide awake, they will smell or hear you long before you thought is was possible for zebra to be in the vicinity.

Zebra are incredibly tough animals that can take a shot in their stride. If you are not using premium grade ammunition you run the risk of wounding and losing a rather expensive animal. Make sure of your shot, use the correct caliber and only use the best premium grade ammunition.

Enjoy your hunt. Be sure. Be safe.


Tips for hunting zebra in Africa

Larger zebra herds are more difficult to stalk due to many eyes and ears. Make sure to distinguish between stallions and mares before you squeeze the trigger.

Any sudden movements and not releasing the safety catch under control will attract the attention of any weary zebra. This will result in walking back to camp.

Bow hunting zebra is on the increase and in such a case you can bow hunt a zebra from a hide or blind.


Best time of year to hunt zebra

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 for hunting zebra in Africa is:

  • from late May to end October when the bush has receded most making visibility easier

We can and do hunt zebra from January to December.


Zebra average shot distance

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

Below are two of our zebra hunting videos.

Gallery of zebra trophy hunting pictures

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