Hunting sable in Africa

Hunting sable in Africa

You are hunting one of the most graceful animals on the African continent when hunting sable in Africa. These majestic black and white animals seem to think they represent royalty among all other antelope species.

And when you see one, you will know why.

Hunting sable

Hunting sable in Africa is for the hunter who needs something else other than the standard impala and warthog.

These animals are usually added to your collection towards the end of your average African hunts. Sable is expensive to hunt but adds the extra spice to an already fantastic hunting collection.

To hunt sable in Africa is not unlike hunting roan antelope. This is such a majestic animal that you will wonder how you could have been without one for so long. The horns curve back in a long sweeping arch with secondary growth indicated by the smooth last few inches of the horn tips.

This is something you really want to have when hunting a superb trophy sable. Mature sable bulls have complete black coats and walk around like the own not only the property, but also your brand-new truck. Juvenile sables are distinguished from adults by body color.

Juveniles have a reddish-brown color that dissipates from the age of three years and older. Sable cows become sexually mature at the age of three. At this point the mature herd bull will defend his role as the Alpha male by forcefully evicting any potential competitors for breeding rights.

Interesting Sable facts

Sable antelope scientific name: Hippotragus niger

Once a calf is born the mother will hide it in vegetation for the first two weeks of its life before introducing it to the herd. Sable antelope are gregarious animals meaning they prefer to congregate in herds, rather than as individual animals.

Sable antelope are mainly active during the cooler morning- and late afternoon hours, but will venture to a water source during the midday period. Wooded savanna type habitat with sufficient vegetation for concealment is preferred.

The Afrikaans language name for Sable is: Swartwitpens which translates to: black (with) white belly which is a very accurate and apt description of these fiercely proud antelopes. All sables have a very erect mane on the back of the neck and have white facial markings. The ears are rusty brown on the back parts.

Sable cows also have horns and a careless mistake can lead to the incorrect animal being hunted. The horns on sable cows are shorter than those of the bulls and have less mass. This is South Africa’s third largest antelope and will make a fine contribution to your collection.

Ammunition for sable hunting in Africa
Our preferred ammunition manufacturer is Barnes. You can use any weight projectiles depending on which weight consistently performs best in your specific rifle. Other premium grade ammunition manufactures you can use are Federal Premium, Sierra and others. Only use premium grade ammunition with a minimum of 150 gr bullets for sable antelope.
Gun scope for hunting sable in Africa
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 sable in Africa.

Best caliber to hunt sable in Africa

The best caliber to hunt sable in Africa is the one you know best.

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

The following are the best calibers for hunting sable in Africa:

308 using a minimum bullet weight of 150 gr with premium grade ammunition like Federal, Barnes TTSX and Norma.

30-06 using a minimum bullet weight of 150 gr and premium grrade ammunition like Barnes TTSX, Federal’s Nosler Partition or Norma’s Oryx projectiles. This is hunting the most gracious plains game animal, with the world’s best caliber using the world’s best ammunition.

375 H&H using soft nose ammunition Federal, Speer and Barnes TTSX


Caliber to hunt sable

Sable hunting prices South Africa

Over the last few years sable hunting prices have fortunately come down by huge margins. As the demand for quality sable increases we are expecting an increase in the sable hunting prices South Africa for the 2023 hunting season.

We are happy to pass our savings along to you. Our 2023 sable hunting prices South Africa have been adapted to reflect the different size ranges of the trophies.

Sable prices are reflected according to trophy size:

Sable trophies up to 42″ are $ 3 500

Trophy sable prices larger than 42″ but smaller than 45″ are $ 4 500, and

sable trophies larger than 45″ are $ 6 000.

Sable hunting prices South Africa
Link to South African plains game hunting packages
Link to African dangerous game hunting packages
Link to best caliber for hunting big game in Africa

Shot placement when hunting sable

If you decide to do your sable hunting in Africa one of the critical factors for such a hunt will be shot placement. These animals are still relatively expensive and losing one due to bad shot placement will be a disaster.

Sable on a broadside shot

A broadside shot on sable antelope: the shot should be placed on the shoulder in line with the front leg and one third of the way up from the bottom of the brisket to the top of the hump on the back.

Secondly, a good sable antelope lung shot will be behind the shoulder, approximately two thirds of the way up from the bottom of the chest to the top of the back.

Quartering away shot on sable

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 sable. This is one of our larger antelope species. We recommend a quartering away shot only if you are using a 45-70, 375 or any of the larger calibers.

The stomach content of sable antelope can delay the trajectory of the projectile to such an extent that it does not reach the vital organs.

If sable are quartering to shot

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

When sable are facing dead on

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

Sable antelope shot placement diagram

Sable shot placement diagram

General sable hunting information

Hunting sable in Africa is hunting for one of the most beautiful antelope species in Africa. Whenever you see a sable antelope walking, it seems like he does not only own the piece of real estate you are on, but like he owns your truck also. They are superior majestic looking animals. The proudest of all antelope species on the African continent. Sable bulls with a dark black coat indicates they are mature. And they did not become mature by being stupid. Remember when planning your trophy room, sable antelope horns almost always touch the wall behind. Therefore, you need to look at a facing to the left or right shoulder mount. If you really need it to look forward, consider a pedestal mount. Enjoy your hunt. Be sure. Be safe.

Some good to know sable hunting information


Sable hunting tips

Both sable bulls and cows have horns and the one should not be mistaken for the other. Sable bulls have thicker and longer horns than sable cows.

Average sable shot distance

The average expected shooting distance when hunting sable in Africa is 100 to 180 yards depending on the terrain you are hunting in.

Best time of year to hunt sable

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 sable in South Africa is:

  • sable 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 sable from January to December. If you prefer bow hunting sable please follow this link.

Hunting sable in Africa videos

Below are three of our hunting sable in South Africa videos. We can expect to add many more sable hunting videos to this gallery over time. Please feel free to enjoy the excitement of the hunt with us.

Gallery of sable trophy hunting pictures

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