Black Wildebeest Hunting

Black Wildebeest hunting in the Eastern Cape is widespread. This animal was saved from extinction, with only 17 animals remaining. Black Wildebeest is one very tough animal.

Shot placement should be on the bottom third of the shoulder for black wildebeest hunting.
Shot placement for Black Wildebeest hunting

Table of Contents

  1. Black Wildebeest Hunting Cost
  2. Interesting Facts
  3. Difference between Male and Female
  4. About the Black Wildebeest
  5. Black Wildebeest Hunting
  6. Trophy Judgement and Rifle Calibre
Black Wildebeest Hunting | Nick Bowker South Africa

Black Wildebeest Hunting Cost

The average cost of a Black Wildebeest is $950. A plains game package hunt often includes a Black Wildebeest Trophy.

All-Inclusive $4500 Starter Plains Game Package for 7 trophies and 8 days hunting. (Inclusive of a Black Wildebeest Trophy)

  • Kudu
  • Impala
  • Black Wildebeest
  • Springbok
  • Blesbok
  • Warthog
  • Mountain Reedbuck
Black Wildebeest hunting in South Africa
Black Wildebeest trophy

Black Wildebeest in Pictures

Black wildebeests can run at speeds of 80 km/h (50 mph).
The horns of calves are initially straight, and start to grow the characteristic curvature.
This species shows strong attachment to particular areas.
Black wildebeest occur in open Karoo and grasslands where they have access to water.
Generally, black wildebeest reach their maximum trophy status at the age of about 3.5 years.
Common names: Black Wildebeest, White-tailed Gnu (English), Swartwildebees (Afrikaans).
Black Wildebeest are endemic to South Africa.
The territorial bull chases the bull calves away from the breeding herd.
Black Wildebeest tracks and droppings.
As with red hartebeest and warthog, the best trophy is not necessarily found on the oldest bull.

Black Wildebeest – Interesting Facts

Black Wildebeest hunting in South Africa
  • Also are known as White-tailed gnu, the black wildebeest 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 commonplace.
  • Historically black wildebeest inhabited the Highveld temperate grasslands during the dry winter and migrated to the arid to semiarid Karoo regions during the rainy season.
  • When their numbers were much higher naturally in the central plains of South Africa, they never migrated on masse as their close relative, the Blue Wildebeest, still does in places.
Trophy shot with Nick Bowker Hunting
  • Being very gregarious animals, forming groups consisting of males and females with calves is usually 30 to 500 individuals.
  • 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.
  • Wildebeest is associate with other African animals. These include springbok, impala, giraffes, and zebras in particular. They may also associate 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.

Difference Between Male and Female

The male is larger with heavier and slightly longer horns than the female and also higher at the shoulder. The horns have a broad base in mature males. A shield forms by flattened horns for protection; this is not the females’ case.

Black wildebeest male in the African grasslands.
Black wildebeest male in the African grasslands
Female walking in the grasslands.
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 bright-white tail, which is long and similar to that of a horse.

Its bright-white tail 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 are 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.

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

Black Wildebeest Hunting in Africa

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.

Black Wildebeest are 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.

Your black wildebeest trophy should have an average shoulder height of around 45 inches.

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 done by setting up ambushes looking down valleys.

Trophy shot in the Eastern Cape South Africa.

Trophy Judgement and Rifle Caliber

It sometimes takes quite a bit of patience to distinguish the bulls from the cows with both sexes carrying horns.

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.

Black wildebeest can be very aggressive when mating, disturbed, or wounded. This ‘clown of Africa’ 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 and the curl’s drop. Also, consider the height of the rise of the tips.

Mature black wildebeest bulls will display black hair on their faces and bosses. Red or brown hair is a 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.

Nick Bowker Hunting


Smithers RHN – The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion

Kruger Park – African animals

Animalia – All you want to know about animals

Endangered Wildlife Trust – African animals

Deon Furstenburg – Research on African animals