Hunting Waterbuck in Southern Africa

South Africa places no seasonal restrictions on waterbuck hunting, which means that you can enjoy an exciting and rewarding waterbuck hunt year round. Still, it is one of the top ten most wanted South African antelopes among hunters, probably due to its size. Waterbuck bulls can weigh as much as 570 lbs. and reach an average shoulder height of 55".

Identified by the distinctive white ring on their rump, the waterbuck is one of South Africa's most beautiful large antelopes. Male waterbuck have beautiful curved, ringed horns, which are used to aggressively defend their territories.

Waterbuck are stocky and gray in color, with longer hair around the throat area. The antelope can typically be found near permanent watering holes. Older bulls tend to walk towards the back of the herd when approaching waterholes, observing the safety of the cows and the young. Early in the morning, you may find waterbuck congregated along river fronts, sunning themselves.

The antelope is also known for emitting a strong, musky odor in the morning and late afternoon and when they bed down. Some people think that waterbuck is inedible, which is not true. Provided care is taken during skinning to avoid the musk coming into contact with the meat, it will make for delicious dishes and biltong.


Waterbuck is one of the top ten most wanted South African antelopes among hunters


Waterbuck Fact Sheet

Scientific Name: Kobus ellipsiprymnus
Male Weight: 200 - 300 kg
Female Weight: 160 - 200 kg
Height: 1.2 - 1.4m
Length: 1.4 - 2.4m


Waterbuck Hunting Considerations

Since waterbuck are quite slow and lack endurance, they tend to be shy and skittish, preferring to hide out in thick bush when sensing danger. This, of course, makes for a challenging, yet exciting hunting experience.

The walk-and-stalk hunting method is most popularly used on waterbuck trophy hunting expeditions, and archery waterbuck hunting is on the increase. It can be harder to stalk larger waterbuck herds, since every one of the animals will be on high alert most of the time. Solitary bulls will be even harder to hunt, because they can be extremely wily.

Good binoculars are essential for spotting waterbuck at a distance in the floodplains and open grasslands. They do have excellent hearing and eyesight, but are not extremely hard to approach. Depending on the terrain of your waterbuck trophy hunt, the average expected shooting distance is typically between 50-150 yards.

Since a trophy waterbuck bull can weigh up to 600 pounds, you will need sufficient rifle power. Professional hunters recommend 7mm Rem Magnums and 30 calibers (30.06 or .300 Magnum) with heavy expanding soft points.

Shot Placement

With broadside presentation, place your shot one third up, right in line with the front leg.

If you're presented with a quartering to shot, place it at the spot that bisects the angle formed by the front legs. Place your aim at the same height as the broadside shot, on the inside shoulder.

Quartering away shots should be placed at the spot that bisects the angle of the front legs, once again at a third of the way up the upper torso.

When faced head on, place your shot where the chest meets the bottom of the throat.

Hunting Waterbuck in Southern Africa

Waterbuck Shot Placement


Hunting Waterbuck in Southern Africa

Waterbuck Shot Placement


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