Hunting Tsessebe in Southern Africa

Derived from the Tswana name, "tshesebe", the tsessebe has an equally strange appearance compared to the other antelope of its genus - bontebok and blesbok. Male and female tsessebe alike have splayed horns and have black blaze marks on their face and legs. Typically dark brown in color, the rump is a lighter color and it has a characteristic shoulder hump.

Although they appear clumsy, they are actually rather agile and can run fast across vast distances. In fact, the tsessebe is known as the fastest African antelope with a speed of 37 mph over shorter distances.

Tsessebe bulls weigh just over 300 lbs and measure approximately 47 inches at shoulder height.Their horn length is rather unimpressive and measures an average of 13 inches and trophies are measured based on the SCI minimum score of 40 for the circumference of the base and length of both horns. The horns flare out in a cup-like shape, with the males displaying more mass.

The highly territorial tsessebe bull will threaten his rivals by standing on an anthill. Engaged in a fight, he will crouch on his knees and use his sweeping horns to defend his territory. Another territorial gesture in which both sexes engage, is to horn the ground from a kneeling position.


Tsessebe can usually be found in grasslands or open savanna and woodlands near surface water


Tsessebe Fact Sheet

Scientific Name: Damaliscus lunatus
Gestation Period: 7 months
Male Weight: 137 kg
Female Weight: 120 kg
Length: 150 - 230 cm
Horn Length: 30 - 40 cm


Tsessebe Hunting Considerations

Due to the small frame of the tsessebe, it is quite likely to unintentionally wound another animal, as the bullet may penetrate your target completely, exiting on the other side. It's therefore important to look at what is on the other side of your animal before you place your shot.

Another consideration is the fact that it is hard to tell apart the sexes. Both tsessebe bulls and cows sport horns. Sometimes, vegetation may obscure the scrotum or penis button. Bulls sometimes have mud caked on their horns, but cows also engage in horning. It's always a good idea to confirm with your professional hunter.

Due to the inquisitive nature of the tsessebe, it may run a bit after being spooked, just to turn back to look, presenting you with a great shot.

A flat shooting rifle will be required for shooting tsessebe on the plans. Opt for a minimum of a .270 Winchester with quality expanding 130 grain bullets. The 7mms or 30 calibers will deliver better results, especially when combined with 180-grain bullets.

Shot Placement

The tsessebe hump has confused many a hunter in the past. Neck shots are quite tricky for neck/spinal shots due to the slenderness.

On side-on presentation, opt for the high heart-lung shot by measuring a third up into the body, directly above the back of the front leg. Never place a shot higher than mid-line.

A shoulder shot should be placed slightly more forward and higher up from the heart shot.

If you have head-on presentation while hunting tsessebe, place the shot right in the centre of the chest, between the two shoulder joints when he he turns or lifts his head.

Hunting Tsessebe in Southern Africa

Tsessebe Shot Placement


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