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African Animal of the Week: Bushbuck [PICS]

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The bushbuck is a medium-sized species of antelope that is found over most of sub-Saharan Africa. Read on to learn all about bushbuck hunting in Africa.

Though they are a shy and elusive animal that can be difficult to hunt, the bushbuck is a popular and widely sought-after trophy in Africa. Because of their elusive characteristics, they aren’t nearly as popular as impala or zebra among first-time hunters in Africa.

However, many hunters on a return trip to Africa are specifically targeting the bushbuck. They are also quite popular among hunters hunting the spiral-horned antelope in Africa (bushbuck, bongo, eland, kudu, nyala and sitatunga).

Read on to find out more about these shy but beautiful creatures.

Bushbuck Description

Scientific Name: Tragelaphus scriptus

The bushbuck is a medium-sized antelope that inhabits virtually every country in sub-Saharan Africa. Fully mature bushbuck stand about about three feet tall at the shoulder and weigh between 75 and 150 pounds.

Bushbuck have greyish-brownish colored hair and have white spots on their sides. As stated previously, they are elusive animals and can be extremely difficult to hunt.

trophy bushbuck hunting in south africa 1
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Not surprisingly, they usually live in thickly vegetated areas. They are also usually solitary animals and are extremely territorial.

Bushbuck Sex Determination

Bushbuck are sexually dimorphic, so males and females are very easy to tell apart. Put simply, males (above) are have horns and females (below) don’t. Males are also darker colored and physically larger than females.

bushbuck female
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Recommended Calibers for Hunting Bushbuck

Even though they aren’t physically very large or particularly tough, bushbuck are perhaps the most dangerous species of plains game in Africa. Wounded bushbuck are known for retreating to the thickest bush around and ambushing pursuing hunters at close range. With their sharp horns, they are capable of causing severe injury or even death.

With this in mind, it is very important to use enough gun when hunting bushbuck. I consider the .30-06 Springfield the minimum cartridge.

Like bushpig, I don’t recommend hunting bushbuck with a bow, though it can certainly be done. Those who insist on trying should use an archery setup consisting of an arrow weighing around 300 grains shot from a bow with at least a 55-pound draw weight.

Bushbuck Shot Placement

As stated previously, bushbuck can be very dangerous when wounded, so you don’t want to wound a bushbuck. Using a powerful enough cartridge and properly placing your shot are how to avoid this problem. No bushbuck will run very far if properly hit.

Shot placement on bushbuck is simple: aim at the center of the shoulder about a third the way up the body. Don’t forget to adjust your aiming point accordingly if it 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).

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Bushbuck Hunting Methods

The most common way to hunt bushbuck is via walk and stalk. Because they are territorial animals, they are usually found in the same areas over and over again. With the wind in your face, slowly walk through an area where they are known to live. If you are both careful and lucky, you’ll get a shot at one before it bolts.

Shots on bushbuck are usually taken at close range (~50 yards). You also won’t have much time to shoot, so be prepared for a rapid shot.

Another successful hunting method is to sit in a blind overlooking a water hole. This can be successful if you know (from a trail camera for instance) that a nice bushbuck is habitually visiting the same waterhole each day.

Cost to Hunt Bushbuck

Fortunately, bushbuck aren’t very expensive to hunt. Though the cost varies slightly between different countries and outfitters, the trophy fee usually ranges from $750-$1,200, with an average of around $1,000.

Ready to go bushbuck hunting?

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.

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African Animal of the Week: Bushbuck [PICS]