Skip to main content

African Animal of the Week: Black Wildebeest [PICS]

black wildebeest hunting in south africa
Unless Otherwise Specified, All Images From Big Game Hunting Adventures

The black wildebeest is a medium-sized species of antelope that is primarily found in South Africa. Read on to learn all about black wildebeest hunting in Africa.

Distantly related to the blue wildebeest, the black wildebeest is another extremely common and popular species of plains game to hunt in Africa, particularly in South Africa.

Though their distribution is somewhat limited, black wildebeest are often quite plentiful in areas that they live. Because of this, they are very popular among hunters visiting Africa.

Read on to find out more about these strange-looking creatures.

Black Wildebeest Description

Scientific Name: Connochaetes gnou also known as: Whitetailed Gnu or Whitetailed Wildebeest

With full-grown bulls weighing 300-350 pounds, the black wildebeest is a medium-sized species of antelope. They have dark brown or black coats with unusual shaped horns that curve forwards.

Black wildebeest are herd animals and live on open plains and grasslands, often in the company of springbok, blesbok, and zebra. They have excellent eyesight, which they rely on to spot predators at a distance and avoid them.

Not surprisingly, they are primarily grazing animals. Their historic range encompasses much of the eastern highlands of South Africa, though populations have been introduced in many sub-Saharan countries, such as Namibia.

Black Wildebeest Sex Determination

Because both males and females have horns, black wildebeest sex determination can be difficult. However, males are both larger in the body and have thicker and longer horns than females.

Recommended Calibers for Hunting Black Wildebeest

Even though they don’t seem to be quite as large or tough as their blue wildebeest cousins, black wildebeest aren’t exactly pushovers either.

Because of this, I do not recommend hunting black wildebeest with anything less than a .308 Winchester or .30-06 Springfield. Since they have such good eyesight, it can be tough to closely approach black wildebeest, which makes flat shooting cartridges like the .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Winchester Magnum even better choices for black wildebeest hunting.

Bigger cartridges, such as the 9.3x62mm Mauser, .375 H&H Magnum, or even the .416 Rigby are absolutely not “too much gun” for black wildebeest hunting.

Bowhunting black wildebeest can be extremely challenging, since they are often difficult to approach. However, those who want to bowhunt black wildebeest should use a heavy (at least 600 grains) arrow with a sharp, fixed blade broadhead shot from a bow with at least a 65-pound draw weight, though 70 pounds or more is preferable.

Black Wildebeest Shot Placement

Because they are such tough animals, shot placement is very important when hunting black wildebeest and a poorly hit animal can run a long way before expiring.

Fortunately, black wildebeest shot placement is similar to shot placement on most other African animals. Just aim at the center of the shoulder approximately a third the way up the body.

black wildebeest shot placement broadside

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).

black wildebeest shot placement quartering

Black Wildebeest Hunting Methods

Spot and stalk is the most common method used for hunting black wildebeest. They are usually easy to spot because they often inhabit open areas. However, they are very wary animals with excellent eyesight and can be difficult to stalk to within close range.

With the wind in your favor, attempt to use any available cover, such as vegetation or folds in the terrain to mask your approach. Get as close as possible before taking your shot, but you usually need to be prepared to take a shot in excess of 200 yards when hunting black wildebeest.

Cost to Hunt Black Wildebeest

Fortunately, black wildebeest are relatively common animals and therefore aren’t too expensive to hunt. Their cost varies slightly between different countries and outfitters, with prices in their native South Africa generally being lower than in countries where there are introduced populations of black wildebeest.

Their trophy fee usually ranges from $900-$1,500, with an average of around $1,100 in South Africa and around $1,300-1,500 in other countries.

Ready to go black wildebeest 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.

NEXT: Warthogs Are Turning Up In Texas, But Where Are They Coming From?

you might also like

African Animal of the Week: Black Wildebeest [PICS]