The 5 Most Challenging Africa Trophies
Some animals pose a bigger challenge to the hunter than others. What follows is a short discussion about the few of these in Africa that are known to test your hunting skills more than you may expect.
Pictured here is the mountain reedbuck - excellent eating and worth to work hard for. It prefers steep mountain slopes covered in dense vegetation and when there is the slightest cool wind they lie down in the body coloured grass and become invisible.
Still hunting in a wide zig-zag pattern going downslope is the best, but glassing a slope from an up-sun angled view can save the hunter some walking. Heart shots with a heavy bullet is called for as a lung shot will send him up the densest ravine he can find. The nicest rifles are a lightweight sporter BRNO ZKK 601 in .308W with 180gr sturdy bullets, 7x57 and 160gr or 6.5x55 with 154 gr. Lightweight, fast bullets cause too much meat damage.
Bushbuck. Prefers very dense vegetation with little direct sunlight and either stands motionless after having seen you or sneaks away into the dark forest. A very tough character and aggressive way above its size, so no wounding! You have to be 100% confident with off-hand shooting - perfectly accurate bullet placement for a heart shot within 3-4 seconds after having slowly shouldered your rifle. Slow hunting with regular intense observation into every lane of vision out to about 100 yards but with special attention as close as 20-30 yards. A slow, heavy bullet (not lighter than 200 gr is the ideal - the .35 Remington immediately comes to mind as well as the .444 Marlin with 270gr. NO lung shots.
Nyala Reticent into the darkest habitat. Its body colouring is excellent camouflage against the winter trees during the hunting season. It WILL have seen you before you see it and will have branches between him and you. Shooting distance is invariably less than 100 yards, so the heaviest, strongest bullets are required: 30-06 with 200gr; .308W with 180gr, 7x57 with 170 gr; .303 Brit with 180 gr.
Sable. An aggressive antelope with little fear for anything. It has extraordinary well developed eye sight - in fact all sensory organs are very acute. Males tend to stand their ground and evaluate you but sudden movements set them running. Off-hand shooting at 60-150 yards - maybe time for shooting sticks but without any fumbling whatsoever. 30-06 and 220gr bonded core bullets or even .338 Win Mag with 250gr good quality bullets. Never approach close if it shows any life when down.
Reedbuck. Maybe the biggest challenge of them all due to its feeding habitat - the tall grasses of wetlands making a heart shot all but impossible. Approach is difficult due to its acute sense of smell and good eye sight in open grassland. Very often only a brain shot is possible above the grass. .308W / 180 gr Federal Fusion; 7x57 160 gr Federal Fusion ; 6.5x55 140gr Hornady Interlock. Be prepared to pass on a few good trophies in your quest for an open shot, or be very patient and stealthy.