Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros). Perhaps South Africa's most known antelope and one of the most hunted, kudu is found from the Eastern Cape province all the way to the north of the country and beyond. They are present wherever large trees with edible leaves occur. The photo was chosen because it epitomises the "grey ghost" description local hunters have for it. Very often then hunter will pass within 70 yards of one like in the photo and unless the flicker of an ear attracts the eye it would remain unseen. I have yet to shoot a kudu which had not seen me first - which means you typically will have ten seconds to slowly shoulder your rifle and about 3-4 seconds for a steady hold and put the bullet through the bulge on the low shoulder into the heart. Like with all big game a well constructed bullet not lighter than 180 gr in any .308" calibre or 170 gr in the 7mms is required at impact velocity of not more than 2,600 ft/sec. The 30-06, .308W, .303 Brit, 7x57, 7x64 Brenneke are by far the most preferred cartridges of local hunters for this animal because of the clean and effortless one-shots killing they do.
Roan (Hippotragus equinus). The roan antelope is the second largest species of antelope in Africa after the eland. The body mass of males is 530–660 lb and of females between 500–600+ lb. They are closely related to the sable and often where their areas overlap the colour distinction between the two is not as acute as where habitat is different. Not being as common as kudu, gemsbok and the wildebeests they carry a distinct exclusivity and therefor fetch higher prices; South African meat hunters are more inclined to hunt for meat and have less value for exclusivity. It is a well deserved trophy for the visiting hunter as it will always be a challenge to find it and put a 180-200gr bullet into the heart. Like with all Africa big game a lung shot is not advised as in dense vegetation it may be very difficult to find it, being able to go along distance unless the heart is demolished.
Eland (Taurotragus oryx). Looking at the photo the experienced hunter will see why that massive shoulder that protects the heart always will challenge any lightweight bullet. While none of the animals in this series should be hunted with lighter than 180gr in the .308" calibres, and 160gr in the 7mms the eland shoulders demand a strongly constructed bullet of 220 gr in the 30-06 or .300 Win Mag. and 175 gr in the 7mms. Eland are found in the densest bush of Mozambique and all the way west through the whole of South Africa from the dense savannah into the open Savannah (as in the photo), and further into the desert-like Kalahari.
Sable (Hippotragus niger). The proud, almost arrogant stance of the sable (not unlike a well bred Arab horse) is well known. They are prolific in the northern parts of Mozambique and considered rare in South Africa for local hunters and is rarely shot for meat due to cost. Like the gemsbok the sable is a very tenacious animal which needs to be shot through the heart to prevent a protracted and dangerous follow-up. Definitely not lighter than a 180 gr bullet from a .308" calibre or 170gr from a 7mm.
Gemsbok (Oryx gazella). Always a challenging hunt and therefor the big satisfaction of achievement, no matter the hunter's experience. Shots are often in excess of 250 yards in conditions of a strong mirage, so the hunter must know his rifle to hit the 3" oval of the heart. Look at the neck muscles in the photo. Badly mauled gemsbok are often found dead with a dead lion impaled in its horns - completely penetrated with one horn always through the heart. The often mentioned test by US hunters to put the rifle muzzle onto an eye must never be attempted with either gemsbok or sable. The optimum bullet response would be a 180gr Hornady Interbond from a 30-06 or 175gr from a 7x64 Brenneke or 7mm Rem Mag.
Black Wildebeest (White tailed gnu) (Connochaetes gnou). Mostly shot at distances of 150-250 yards. It is known as the clown of the veld for their antics when a hunter is observed - milling, snorting, side-kicking and running away in a circle to come and stand exactly where they had been - which to the hunter's chagrin will be just outside his maximum range. Please do not succumb to the temptation for a long distance aim as a lung shot may not leave any blood before the animal had run about 200 metres or so and it may be lost. Rowland Ward size horns are often found by meat hunters. The favourite calibres are .308W, 30-06, 7x64 Brenneke, 7x 57, and 6.5x57. This is real plains hunting as they occur on the grass plains of the Free State Province and desert-like Karoo. Black wildebeest is excellent eating (but then all local animals are).
Blue Wildebeest (Gnu) (Connochaetes taurinius) This is often called "the poor man's Cape buffalo" but not meant in any derogatory way. For first time Cape buffalo hunters it is stronly advised to first hunt this antelope before going for the bigger beast. It will absorb as many improperly placed bullets as a buffalo will. It will not charge you on sight as a buffalo may do, but when mortally wounded will run to find the darkest thorn bush and wriggle its back end into it and will charge you from close up as you approach, your eyes glued to its tracks. It needs careful shot placement into the heart top chambers with a top quality, heavy bullet from any .30 or 7 mm calibre cartridge. The careful hunter can stalk them to under 100 yards where they live in dense savannah and an off-hand shot is often required due to the 10 seconds or so you will have before they flee. Your .308W, 30-06, .280 Rem, 7x57, will be ample gun.
Zebra (Equus quagga burchellii). Burchells zebra is a challenging trophy to hunt due to their excellent eyesight and hearing and sense of smell. They often congregate with blue wildebeest. Few hunters care for a zebra shoulder mount due to its horse-like face, but a full flat tanned zebra skin mounted on a base of black felt which leaves a 3" border around the skin makes for an appealing floor covering or diagonally against a wall. Zebra forever mill around so care must be taken to keep an eye on the identified individual to be shot. Because of having the skin as the trophy no rapidly expanding bullets should be used - in fact the heaviest bonded bullets for the calibre is always the best choice. A shot tight behind the shoulder about 1/3rd yp from the breast bone is good placement. For .300 Win Mag use 220 gr bonded core bullets, 180-200 gr for 30-06, 180 gr for .308W, 175 gr for the 7mms.
Red Hartebeest (Alchelaphus buselaphus caama). The red hartebeest with its unusually shaped horns and long face makes for a rather impressive and unique trophy. It is a challenge to hunt due to its compulsion for running and its good eyesight. A 30-06 and even .300 Win Mag with 180 gr bonded core bullets, 7mm Rem Mag and 175 gr, .308W and 150-165 gr, 7x64 Brenneke and 150-160 gr bullets will get the hunter his trophy. Like with gemsbok it is imperative to hit the heart as a lung shot will send this antelope on a run of many miles and it may be lost. Shots at red hartebeest will invariably be at an average of 200-250 metres.
Tsessebe (Damaliscus lunatus lunatus) The scientific name immediately paints a picture of this crazy animal. If the red hartebeest is known to like running then this antelope is the epitome of the compulsive runner - and for no other reason than for pure joy, it seems. Or madness, it seems at times. I have sat and watche a family group of about 16 animals galloping in a circle around a clump of marula trees. After more than an hour I gave up. The temperature was in the high 90s, and they would go round and round in a perfect circle, on and on and on. Then, as if on a command they would switch around in unison and go around in the opposite direction. Tsessebe are not hunted as much as red hartebeest (in Afrikaans its name is translated at "hybrid hartebeest") because they are not as prolific all over.
Nyala (Trachelaphus angasii) Due to its total lack of fear of humans this cousin of the kudu had been hunted hard in olden times and until about 20 years ago their numbers were only slowly increasing. Owners of game ranches over the past 20 years have allowed only very llimited hunting of nyala and today their numbers are the same as they had been 200 years ago. Because it has not been hunted hard, few people know and understand the extreme danger that this antelope has for casual hikers through the bush. There are more people killed by nayala without any provokation than by any other ungulate. Bulls are very territorial and any intruder in his territory of dense savannah is seen as an intruder. A slow heavy bullet at moderate velocity is the best because it is mostly shot at 50 metres or less and the furry coat makes for an excellent floor skin