Hunting Black Wildebeest in Southern Africa

Named Gnu by the Hottentot (Khoi) for the ringing, metallic snort it makes, the black wildebeest weighs between 308-397 lbs and measures approximately 47" at shoulder height. It leaves a 9cm long spoor. Both male and female black wildebeest have horns, and stocky bodies. However, they canter swiftly, with their heads held erect when disturbed and will return back to their territory shortly after.

The ox-like member of the antelope family is dark brown in color and has a white tail similar to that of a horse. Mature bulls display dark hair running from their bosses, whereas immature males have reddish-brown hair. It has hair on the nose, a beard and unusual horns, and that all adds up to deliver a formidable trophy.

Black wildebeest are grazers and feed on shrubs and succulents early in the morning and late afternoon. During the warm hours of the day, they will rest, except when it is cold. In cold weather, they will graze throughout the day. They are typically found in open plains and grasslands near watering holes, as they need to drink daily.

Cows and their young typically form herds with a dominant male, while other males of all ages congregate in bachelor herds. They are active during the early morning and late afternoon, but will rest during the day. The cows and calves will wander across territories freely, with dominant bulls trying to herd as many cows into their own territories as they possibly can during the rut. He will often trot around in circles, chasing other herd members.


Named Gnu by the Khoi for the rining, metallic snort it makes


Black Wildebeest Fact Sheet

Scientific Name: Connochaetes gnou
Gestation Period: 8½ months
Male Weight: 110 - 180 kg
Male Height: 1.1 - 1.2 m
Female Height: 1.0 - 1.1m
Length: 1.7 - 2.2m


Black Wildebeest Hunting Considerations

Hunting black wildebeest is extremely enjoyable, although it is a tough animal to bring down. Black wildebeest hunting is usually done during feeding times, or all day during winter. At times, one can simply sit and wait watchfully until the herd comes closer.

It can be hard to tell the cows apart from the bulls, due to the fact that both have horns. However, the males' horns tend to be larger and heavier.

During the mating season, or when he is wounded, the black wildebeest can be very aggressive and very tough.

The minimum caliber for black wildebeest hunting in open terrain is a .270 with 150-grain bullet. A better choice would be a .300 magnum or 7mm mag with premium heavy-for-caliber bullets. If you're hunting black wildebeest in the bushveld, opt for a larger caliber, such as a 9.3mm or even a .375. If you're unsure, speak to your professional hunter.

Shot Placement

As mentioned, a wounded black wildebeest can be extremely aggressive, so ensure that your first shot is a kill shot.

From along the back edge of the foreleg, edge along approximately one third up the body of the black wildebeest, taking care not to go more than halfway up towards the back. This will achieve a heart-lung shot that should instantly put the animal down.

Hunting Black Wildebeest in Southern Africa

Black Wildebeest Shot Placement


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