Hunting Gemsbuck in Southern Africa

One of South Africa's most sought-after plains game species, the gemsbuck - also known as the oryx - is easily spotted in the wide open areas which the herds frequent. The exotic looking species have brown coats with long, straight, ringed horns, and black-and-white masked faces and underbellies.

Mixed herds are typically approximately twelve strong, and led by a herd bull. Gemsbuck cows tend to hide their calves for a a few months before introducing them to the herd. Mature gemsbok bulls tend to become solitary, but remain territorial. They will use their horns against lion, leopard and other predators.

Since their habitat is the dry, sandy desert areas of South Africa, the gemsbuck / oryx can go without water for extended periods. They have a unique temperature regulation mechanism that allows their body heat to very high temperatures.Their large hooves ensure even weight distribution in the sand.

The gemsbuck remains one of the most sought-after trophies due to their incredible beauty, strength and survival instincts. As a bonus, gemsbuck meat is one of the most delectable of all venison found in Africa.


The gemsbuck remains one of the most sought-after trophies due to their incredible beauty, strength and survival instincts


Gemsbuck Fact Sheet

Scientific Name: Oryx gazella
Gestation period: 270 days
Male Weight: 220 - 300kg
Female Weight: 100 - 210kg
Height: 1.2m
Length: 1.9 - 2.4m


Gemsbuck Hunting Considerations

Gemsbuck tend to feed in the mornings, which is also a good time to find them around the watering holes. The rest of the day is spent resting under the shade of trees to ward of the heat. Bring along a good set of binoculars, because the oryx blends into its environment remarkably well.

It may not be easy to distinguish between a male and female gemsbuck / oryx, particularly in thick cover or at a distance. Male gemsbuck tend to have shorter horns with heavier bases. Their horns tend to be bent slightly backwards, a fact that is only really visible from a side presentation.

Gemsbuck male and female both make for excellent trophies, with quality denoted by the level of "shining" of the horns. A good quality trophy will feature horns with a ratio of less than half of the horn being ringed, and the rest smooth. The smoothness is typically evident in more mature animals that have used their horns extensively.

Since the gemsbuck / oryx is the toughest of all antelope species, it is crucial to make that first shot count. Opt for equipment with 30 caliber Magnum or higher with soft-points. You can use Spitzer bullets in the open country, but opt for heavy-for-caliber round nose bullets at modest velocities, as they will be less likely to deflect while moving through the brush.

Shot Placement

The humped shoulder of the gemsbuck / oryx tends to trick hunters into aiming too high. Instead, follow the back outline of the front line approximately one third up the body. Avoid shooting above the horizontal midline, or be prepared for a long day's hiking.

Hunting Gemsbuck in Southern Africa

Gemsbuck Shot Placement


Hunting Gemsbuck in Southern Africa

Gemsbuck Shot Placement


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