Waterbuck hunting South Africa

Waterbuck hunting South Africa

Waterbuck hunting South Africa is hunting for the fourth largest antelope in South Africa. As the name indicates, this rather stocky antelope can be found close to a permanent water source. Waterbuck do not mind stepping into a waterhole to drink from the center of a water hole.  This keeps them away from the hustle and bustle at the edge of the drinking facility.

Contrary to popular belief, if care is taken during the skinning process not to allow the musk to come into contact with the meat, the meat makes tasty dishes. Biltong (South African version of jerky, or dried meat) is a popular form of processing waterbuck meat.

Waterbuck use their large rounded ears to good effect in detecting any possible approaching danger. They have a shaggy gray and hairy coat with longer hair down the throat. The most distinguishing factor would be the large white ring round the rear of the animals. Only bulls sport horns. Bulls will actively defend their harems during the rut that will leave many opponents wounded.

Waterbuck are known to emit a strong musky odor when bedding down, or passing through shrub in the early mornings and late afternoons. They have a very oily skin that leaves your hands dirty after handling the trophy.

Bulls become solitary after the rut, or join bachelor herds with some sub-adult males in the group. On average, waterbuck herds will comprise of up to 10 cows, their juvenile offspring and the dominant herd bull.

Waterbuck hunting prices

The cost to hunt waterbuck in South Africa for the 2020 hunting season is     $ 2 150.

Waterbuck cull hunting prices: it happens occasionally we come across waterbuck cow cull hunts. In the event we are on such a property you are welcome to cull a cow waterbuck or two. Waterbuck cows can only be cull hunted from April to June. Cull animals cannot be exchanged for trophy animals and are hunted in addition to your booked package hunt.

Waterbuck cull hunt prices: $ 350 per animal.

Waterbuck hunting price
Interesting waterbuck facts

On approaching a waterhole, the large and older bulls will walk in the back of the herd patiently. They will wait to see if any form of danger is lurking while allowing the younger animals to warn of any possible danger.

Waterbuck hunting South Africa is hunting for one of the top 10 most wanted antelopes to hunt.

Waterbuck bulls can draw the scale down for an average body weight of 570 lb. (260 kg) and an average shoulder height of 55”       (1,4 m).

Mating is during the rut from mid-April to the end of May with a single calf born during summer time from October to end November. Gestation period is nine months after which calves are hidden for the first 4 – 6 weeks before being introduced to the herd.

Predators have to be of the larger kind to hunt adult waterbuck. These predators would include spotted hyena and lions. Leopard tend to feed on juvenile waterbuck.

Gun scope for hunting waterbuck

There are numerous gun scopes and gun scope brands available on the market. Buy the best gun scope you can afford and leave some room to hunt additional animals on your African hunting safari.

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 waterbuck hunting South Africa.

The scope you currently have on your rifle is likely good enough for waterbuck hunting South Africa.

Caliber for hunting waterbuck

The best caliber for hunting waterbuck 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 waterbuck hunting South 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 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 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


Follow this link for a comprehensive list of caliber recommendations

Best caliber for waterbuck hunting in Africa
Waterbuck hunting ammunition

Waterbuck hunting South Africa shot placement

Waterbuck shot placement diagram
Broadside shot

The shot should be placed on the shoulder of the waterbuck, in line with the front leg. Shot height to be one third of the way up from the bottom of the brisket to the top of the back. This shot should lead to a high heart shot, low lung shot.

Alternatively, a very good shot placement area is right behind the shoulder of the waterbuck approximately midway between the brisket and the back. This will be a good lung shot.

Quartering to

On a quartering to shot, aim for the back of the opposite side shoulder of the waterbuck at the same height as for a broadside shot.

Quartering away

Bisect the angle formed by the front legs of the waterbuck and place the shot at the same height as a broadside shot. Do not attempt this shot placement if using light calibers with light-weight ammunition. This could lead to a wounded animal when the projectile is stopped in the stomach content.

Facing on

Waterbuck facing on shot placement: place the shot where the bottom of the throat meets the chest.

Gallery of waterbuck trophy hunting pictures

General information on waterbuck hunting South Africa

A good idea when out waterbuck hunting South Africa will be to start your hunt close to known water sources. As their name indicate, waterbuck are seldom very far from a permanent water hole.

During the waterbuck rut (end of May through end June roughly) waterbuck bulls join cow herds and fight to death for breeding rights.

Solitary waterbuck bulls often have a broken horn tip from defending their territory against other waterbuck bulls. They become extremely wily and will even change their drinking patterns to avoid hunters.

Make sure you are prepared for numerous situations with regards to taking a quick shot: shooting from shooting sticks, lying down while taking a shot, 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.


Waterbuck hunting tips South Africa

Larger waterbuck herds are more difficult to stalk due to many eyes and ears. Solitary bulls can become extremely wily and are hard to hunt.

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

Waterbuck are part of the forward curve family of antelope (Kobus), making it almost as difficult to hunt as its cousin black- and red lechwe.

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


Best time of year for waterbuck hunting South Africa

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 waterbuck in South Africa is:

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

We can and do hunt eland from January to December.

We can and do hunt waterbuck from January to December.


Average waterbuck shot distance

The average expected shooting distance when hunting waterbuck in South Africa is 50 to 150 yards depending on the terrain you are hunting in.

Below is one of our waterbuck hunting videos.

Feel free to experience the excitement with us!

Waterbuck hunting Africa

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