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African Animal of the Week: Blesbok [PICS]

Blesbok featured
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The blesbok is a medium-sized species of antelope found in South Africa. Keep reading to learn everything you wanted to know about blesbok hunting in Africa.

Though they are native only in South Africa, the blesbok is another extremely common and popular animal among visiting hunters. Similar to the impala with regards to size, overall population, and cost to hunt, the blesbok is another “must-have” animal on most South African plains game hunting safaris.

Blesbok Description

Scientific Name: Damaliscus dorcas phillipsi

Though there is only one species of blesbok, they are divided into two “breeds” for record keeping purposes: the common blesbok and the white blesbok. Both are native only to South Africa, but have been introduced in a few other countries. The only difference between the two is their color.

Common blesbok have a mostly brown colored coat. They have white patches on their lower legs, belly, and face to go with their light-colored rump. Not surprisingly, white blesbok (center) are virtually all white, which is the result of selective breeding.

white blesbok

Mature rams (males) weigh around 120-150 pounds and a females weigh around 100-130 pounds. A mature ram will stand 2.5-3.5 feet tall at the shoulder.

Blesbok prefer to live on the open grasslands of the South African highlands and avoid areas with thick woods. They are primarily grazing animals, and normally live in herds containing dozens of blesbok.

Recommended Calibers for Hunting Blesbok

Because of the open areas that they live in, along with their sharp eyesight, a flat shooting cartridge is a big help when hunting blesbok. Fortunately, blesbok are not particularly large or tough animals, so cartridges such as the .270 Winchester, 7mm Magnum, and .300 Winchester Magnum are all great choices for hunting blesbok.

Because they can be difficult to closely approach, bowhunting blesbok can be challenging. However, if you want to bowhunt blesbok, you should use an arrow weighing at least 500 grains shot from a bow with at least a 55 pound draw weight.

Blesbok Hunting Methods

Virtually all blesbok hunting is conducted on foot via spot and stalk. The hunting is relatively straightforward: go to an open area where they often hang out and glass until a suitable ram is found. That being said, the stalk and the actual shot are more difficult in practice.

Since they are herd animals, and since they are commonly found in open grasslands, blesbok can be difficult approach to within shooting range (as this hunter demonstrated). Keep the wind in your face and use every bit of cover available to approach as closely as possible. You are doing pretty well if you get within 300 yards of a herd without spooking them, so you should expect to take a 200-300 yard shot when hunting blesbok, though, as always, closer is better.

SEE ALSO: 6 Animals in Africa You Need to Hunt

Blesbok Shot Placement

Luckily, Blesbok aren’t extremely tough animals and will not go very far if hit properly with a powerful enough cartridge. When standing broadside, aim at the center of the shoulder, approximately one third of the way up the body (this goes for both rifle and bowhunters). Blesbok broadside shot placement

Don’t forget to adjust your aiming point accordingly if the animal is quartering towards or away from you (aim slightly forward if it is quartering towards you and slightly to the rear if it is quartering away). The shot placement for a bow on a blesbok that is quartering away is the same as for a rifle hunter. I do not recommend taking a shot on a besbok quartering towards you with a bow.

Cost to Hunt Blesbok

Because they are such common animals, blesbok are relatively inexpensive to hunt, even though there is a fair amount of demand for them among visiting hunters in Africa. Their trophy fee varies between different countries and outfitters, but usually ranges from $300-$500, with an average of around $400.

Ready to go blesbok hunting?

All images, unless specified, courtesy of Big Game Hunting Adventures

Like what you see here? You can read more great hunting articles by John McAdams at The Big Game Hunting Blog. Follow him on Twitter @TheBigGameHunt.

African Animal of the Week: Blesbok [PICS]