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African Animal of the Week: Giraffes [PICS]

African Animal of the Week Giraffe

The giraffe is a very large species of ungulate that lives in most of sub-Saharan Africa. Read on to learn all about hunting the giraffe in Africa.

The giraffe is the tallest animal in the world and is a well-known species that frequents the plains of Africa. Contrary to popular belief, they are a relatively common animal and may be hunted in several African countries.

Here’s what you need to know:

Giraffe Description

Scientific Name: Oreotragus oreotragus

With the tallest ones standing more than 20 feet tall, the giraffe is (not surprisingly) the tallest animal in Africa. They can also weigh as much as 2,500 pounds, making them even heavier than the cape buffalo.

While giraffes live in many countries and habitats in sub-Saharan Africa, they are primarily hunted in Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Namibia.

giraffe south africaTheir coat consists of dark patches of orange or brown hair, which darkens as the animal ages. Both their tongues and tails are long, measuring measuring 1.5-2 feet and three feet long, respectively. Both bulls and cows have horn-like protrusions on their head.

Giraffes are primarily browsing animals, consuming leaves and twigs from trees. Their extremely long necks allow them to reach food sources that most other animals, with the exception of elephants, cannot reach.

Under certain circumstances, they do occasionally feed on grass, tree bark, and fruit. Though they will drink water when it’s available, they do not need to drink water daily and are relatively tolerant of drought conditions.

Giraffe Sex Determination

The primary difference between the bulls (left) and cows (right) is that bulls are usually larger and darker colored, have more pronounced horns, and have a penis and testicles.

giraffe sex determination

Recommended Calibers for Hunting Giraffe

Giraffes are large, tough  animals with very thick skin. They are not quite on the level of the cape buffalo, but they are still much more robust than your average species of plains game.

Because of this, you should not use anything smaller than the .375 H&H on a giraffe hunt. Regardless of which cartridge you choose, you should use premium, controlled expansion bullets.

Giraffe Shot Placement

Not surprisingly, a poorly-hit giraffe can travel an incredible distance before expiring. They can also be very dangerous when wounded or cornered.

For these reasons, shot placement on a giraffe is very important. Unfortunately, this is complicated somewhat by a giraffe’s unusual anatomy.

Compared to most other animals in Africa, a giraffe’s heart and lungs are located more forward and higher in the chest. Aim at the center or slightly in front of the giraffe’s shoulder, about half way up the body. A shot placed as indicated below will hit the heart and the lungs.

giraffe shot placementYou must adjust your aiming point accordingly if the animal is quartering toward or away from you (aim slightly forward if it is quartering toward you and slightly to the rear if it is quartering away).

A quartering-away shot is the only shot in which it is acceptable to aim behind the shoulder of a giraffe.

One last things that you should remember is to approach all downed giraffe from behind and with caution. They have very long and powerful legs and are capable of causing severe injury or death to an unwary hunter with a well-placed kick.

Giraffe Hunting Methods

Virtually all giraffe hunts are conducted via walk and stalk. Because they are so tall and have excellent eyesight, giraffes can be difficult to approach. Use all available cover and make a deliberate and careful stalk on the giraffe to approach to within shooting range.

Cost to Hunt Giraffe

Because they are such large animals, hunting giraffes is not exactly an easy or a simple affair. Primarily due to their unique hides, there is also a relatively high demand for giraffes among visiting hunters. For these reasons, giraffes are relatively expensive to hunt.

Their trophy fee usually ranges from $2,750-$4,000.

Ready to go giraffe hunting?

Unless otherwise specified, all images from 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.

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African Animal of the Week: Giraffes [PICS]