Hunting Sable in Southern Africa

The Afrikaans name for the sable antelope - swartwitpens, which means black white belly - does no justice to this regal and beautiful antelope. When the veld turns light beige during the winter, the majestic sable antelope stands out against his environment, due to its dark color. Sable antelope cows and their young are of a dark red-brown color, while the bulls have shiny black coats. They feature pure white markings on their bellies and faces, which are in vivid contrast to the rest of their coats.

The sable antelope's shoulders are higher than its hindquarters, and they feature a stiff mane. Both males and females have spectacular horns - the longest of all African antelope, except for the kudu.

Weighing in at 400 lbs (cows) and 500 lbs (bulls), the sable antelope eats mostly grass. They tend to roam the savannahs, preferably near watering holes, in large herds. Once males are approximately three years old, they will join bachelor herds.


This majestic and regal antelope is knows for its spectacular horns


Sable Fact Sheet

Scientific Name: Hippotragus niger
Female Weight: 235 kg
Female Weight: 220 kg
Height: 1.1 - 1.4m
Length: 1.9 - 2.5m


Sable Hunting Considerations

Sable antelope bulls are territorial and will fight to the death. He is likely to charge if he feels threatened, is cornered or wounded.

The best time to ambush a sable antelope, is early in the morning or late afternoon near the watering hole. Sable antelope can't go without water for too long and will visit watering holes several times a day.

The bull is often easy to approach, as he will arrogantly remain aloof, standing at the periphery of the group and you can use that trait against him.  However, do remember the aggressive nature of this regal beast, and be prepared in the event that he may decide to charge.

When choosing a rifle to hunt sable antelope, don't go for anything lower than a .27- Win. Instead, opt for a 30 caliber with high quality expanding bullets.

Better choices would include the .375 H&H, the 9.3 mm or the .338 Magnum, which will be great in the event that you have to stop a charge.

Hunting sable antelope provides not only an enviable trophy, but also an exciting and interesting hunt. The quality of your trophy will be judged by the color of the skin, with jet black being the most sought-after trophy. The horns are also important, with the base a solid black, and dominant ridges running up the length of the horn.

Shot Placement

When presented with the broadside, aim approximately a third up the body from the foreleg for a heart or lung shot. If you're going for a neck or spinal shot, place it dead center on the spot where the neck joins the body. A frontal shot should be placed squarely in the middle of the chest at shoulder level.

Follow your professional hunter's guidance to take down this beautiful antelope. The main points to remember with hunting sable antelope, is to bring enough gun and to take an accurate shot in order to secure your most coveted plains game trophy.

Hunting Sable in Southern Africa

Sable Shot Placement


Hunting Sable in Southern Africa

Sable Shot Placement


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