Hunting Red Hartebeest in Southern Africa

While some hunters feel the red hartebeest is the least attractive of South Africa's plains game antelope, it does make for an exciting hunt. They are gregarious and fast, and will easily outsmart the hunter first time around.

The red hartebeest does not have a large frame, but it has an average live weight of 350 pounds. The animal stands at a shoulder height of 48 inches, with horns of up to 22 inches. Both cows and bulls carry horns and they have scent glands below their eyes and between their front hooves. The only sexual distinction for hunters, is the fact that the male skull circumference and weight will be slightly greater than the female's, and the horn size tends to express more dimorphism.

A glossy reddish tan in color, the red hartebeest has black markings that contrast against the white behind and abdomen. There's a blaze on the legs, tail and face, which is longer than that of subspecies. The red hartebeest has complex curving horns that join at the base. The animal can be distinguished by its elongated, sad-looking face and sloping back.

Red hartebeest tend to congregate in herds of about twenty on the open plains in semi desert savannah or in open woodlands. They enjoy grasslands and floodplains, and may take to the mountains. They seldom drink water, but mostly graze on grass. With excellent senses of smell and hearing, red hartebeests can be evasive.

The antelope will make a sneezing snort sound when alarmed, and take off at tremendous speeds of 35mph. Red hartebeests tend to run in a zigzag pattern to outrun predators.


The red hartebeest has complex curving horns that join at the base, making it the perfect addition to your trophy collection


Red Hartebeest Fact Sheet

Scientific Name: Alcelaphus buselaphus caama
Gestation Period: 8 months
Male Weight: 150 kg
Female Weight: 120 kg
Height: 135 cm
Horn Length: 60 cm


Red Hartebeest Hunting Considerations

Most hartebeest hunting shots are taken at between 150 to 300 yards, because they are so wary and alert.

A good quality hartebeest hunting trophy will feature a heavy boss. There should be little to no gap between the horns, which rise into heart shape before sweeping straight backward or into a slightly upward bend. It should also have decent tips.

Opt for a rifle with medium to high-range variable scope and a calibre of .270 to .375 with good quality expanding bullets. The ideal calibre for red hartebeest hunting is a 308-300 win mag. In most cases, the bullet will penetrate the animal completely, exiting on the other side.

Shot Placement

Headshots are the best way to preserve meat, but should be left to professional hunters only. The head is a large area, and it would require exactly the right placement to avoid wounding instead of killing the animal.

The heart / lung shot is typically the best easiest way to ruin the least amount of meat. Some professional hunters recommend a well-placed double shot right into the lung area.

To achieve this, follow the back line of the red hartebeest's front leg up to approximately one-third of the body, and pull the trigger. The bullet should penetrate the lungs, putting the animal down right away.

Always follow your professional hunter's recommendations for best results.

Hunting Red Hartebeest in Southern Africa

Red Hartebeest Placement Shot


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