Black Wildebeest Hunting

Hunters should be on their guard when hunting black wildebeest, as he can be very aggressive when mating, disturbed, or wounded. The most interesting fact about black wildebeest is their comeback from near extinction.

Shot placement should be on the bottom third of the shoulder for black wildebeest hunting.
Shot placement for Black Wildebeest hunting
How to hunt Black Wildebeest, and how much does it cost?

Hunting is done by setting up ambushes in the open plains. A black wildebeest will cost around $950. An all-inclusive package with a black wildebeest and six other trophies, including a gemsbok, will cost $4000. Packages include all accommodation and meals.
Black Wildebeest trophy shot in the Eastern Cape South Africa

Interesting facts

  • Black wildebeest, also are known as White-tailed gnu, is an ungulate that lives in the savannas of central and eastern South Africa.
  • The species’ historic range also included the open plains and grasslands of Lesotho and Swaziland.
  • The most interesting fact about black wildebeest is their comeback from near extinction. Only 17 of these animals remained after being eradicated by Mucous Disease.
  • Black Wildebeest hunting is now common place.
  • While in the past black wildebeest inhabited the Highveld temperate grasslands during the dry winter, and in the rainy season, they migrate to the arid to semiarid Karoo regions.
  • But even when their numbers were much higher in the central plains of South Africa, they never migrated on masse as their close relative, the Blue Wildebeest, still does in places.
  • They are very gregarious animals, forming groups consisting of males and females with calves (30 to 500 individuals, usually). Also, seen in groups composed solely of females and their offspring or by single males.
  • In periods of drought, animals of various groups gather in herds, reaching thousands of individuals. These herds migrate towards the major rivers and lakes across considerable distances.
  • The wildebeest are often associated with other African ungulates such as springbok, impala, giraffes, and zebras in particular. They may also be associated with the ostriches.
  • The Black wildebeest is a speedy runner, reaching a maximum speed of 50 mph. They serve as a substantial prey base for large predators such as lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, and cape hunting dogs.
  • The typical lifespan of the black wildebeest in the wild is about 20 years.
  • Black Wildebeest hunting requires good shot placement as they are incredibly tough.

The difference between a male and female black wildebeest

The male is larger with heavier and slightly longer horns than the female and higher at the shoulder. The horns have a broad base in mature males and flattened to form a protective shield; this is not females’ case.

Black wildebeest male in the African grasslands. The male is larger with heavier and slightly longer horns than the female and higher at the shoulder.
Black wildebeest male in the African grasslands
Female walking in the grasslands.The horns have a broad base in mature males and flattened to form a protective shield; this is not females' case.
Black wildebeest female walking in the grasslands

About the Black Wildebeest

The black wildebeest inhabits open plains, grasslands, and Karoo shrub lands in steep mountainous regions and lower undulating hills.

A dominant male black wildebeest has a harem of females and will not allow other males to mate with them.

They have a dark brown to almost black coat, which is slightly paler in summer and coarser and shaggier in the winter. Calves are born with shaggy, fawn-colored fur. Males are generally darker than females.

They have bushy manes the same as the blue wildebeest that stick up from the back of the neck.

Black wildebeest females are smaller in size and more slender than males. Males reach about 44 to 48 inches at the shoulder, while females reach 42 to 46 inches.

Males typically weigh 309 to 370 pounds and females 243 to 269 pounds.

A distinguishing feature in both sexes is the tail, which is long and similar to that of a horse.

Its bright-white color gives this animal the vernacular name of “white-tailed gnu” and makes it very easy to tell them apart from blue wildebeest, which has a black tail.

Both sexes have strong horns that curve forward, resembling hooks, which are up to 24 inches long.

The horns have a broad base in mature males and flattened to form a protective shield. In females, the horns are both shorter and narrower.

Wildebeest hunting is mainly on the open plains but also in savanna areas.

Black Wildebeest Hunting in South Africa

Black Wildebeest trophy shot in the Eastern Cape South Africa
Black Wildebeest trophy shot in the Eastern Cape South Africa with Nick Bowker

Your black wildebeest trophy should have an average shoulder height of around 45 inches, weigh about 350 pounds, and have a Horn Length of approximately 20 inches.

The Safari Club International minimum score for a black wildebeest is 72.

Trophies are measured by measuring the length along the outside of the horn curl from tip to tip, plus the straight-line width measurement of both bosses for a combined total score in inches.

Also known as the White-Tailed Gnu or to some as the “Clowns of Africa,” this is mostly due to how they tend to run in circles when approached.

Nick Bowker has access to several black wildebeest herds. Hunting blesbok and black wildebeest are very similar with both species out on the open plains.

Anthills are the main hiding point as you try and ambush these plains animals. As with blesbok, black wildebeest bunch together at stages, so careful communication with Nick Bowker, your professional hunter, is essential.

Black Wildebeest Hunting is one through setting up ambushes looking down valleys.

Trophy Judgement and Rifle Caliber

Trophy shot in the Eastern Cape South Africa. Black Wildebeest are included in some of our South African Hunting Packages.
Trophy shot in the Eastern Cape South Africa. Black Wildebeest are included in some of our South African Hunting Packages.

With both sexes carrying horns, it sometimes takes quite a bit of patience to distinguish the bulls from the cows.

Black wildebeest hunting is best pursued during the morning or late afternoon while the herd is grazing. In cool weather, they will graze anytime, but they tend to rest during the hottest part of the day when it is warm.

Black wildebeest can be very aggressive when mating, disturbed, or wounded. This ‘clown of the plains’ will often trot in circles and chase other herd members.

Big bulls are territorial and will often return to their territory very shortly after being disturbed by the hunter.

Judging Black Wildebeest trophy quality, it’s essential to look at the boss’s size, the drop on the curl. Also, consider the height of the rise of the tips.

Mature black wildebeest bulls will display black hair on their faces and bosses and not red or brown hair, the sign of immaturity.

A very tough animal to bring down

Black wildebeest hunting on open terrain calls for a flat shooting caliber. Therefore we recommend the flat shooting magnums.

For those hunters who do not wish to go through the red tape of bringing a rifle into South Africa, Nick Bowker Hunting has available a Sako carbon light 300 Winchester Magnum fitted with a suppressor.

Mounted on the rifle is a Swarovski DS with a built-in rangefinder. We have hand loaded Hornady ELD-X 200 grain ammunition. The rifle, including ammunition, is available as part of all hunting packages free of charge.