Bushbuck Hunting in South Africa

Bushbuck trophy hunting is often conducted by sitting in a vantage point in the late evening and waiting for the Bushbuck to step into small fields and begin grazing. Males are very aggressive and sometimes attack when wounded.

There are no seasonal restrictions on Bushbuck in designated conservancies in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Nick Bowker Hunting offers Bushbuck trophy year-round. In non-conservancy areas, there is a designated hunting season.

Bushbuck male in the undergrowth. Bushbuck males have horns while females do not.
Bushbuck male
  1. Bushbuck Hunting Cost
  2. Interesting Facts about Bushbuck
  3. Difference between Male and Female
  4. About the Bushbuck
  5. Bushbuck Hunting in South Africa
  6. Trophy Judgement and Rifle Caliber
Bushbuck Hunting South Africa| Nick Bowker Hunting
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Bushbuck Hunting Cost

The average cost of a bushbuck is $950. Bushbuck can be added to any package hunt.

Included in the Bushbuck trophy hunting package is a licensed hunting guide. As well as a hunting license and all permits.

Nick Bowker Hunting

Bushbuck in Pictures

Bushbuck in the undergrowth. They are vulnerable to drought stress.
Bushbuck dung pellets are easily distinguishable.
Bushbuck names in local African languages.
Bushbuck trophy development
Bushbuck distribution across Africa.
Predators include lion and wild dog
Breeding habitats and young
Bushbuck are stalked through dense cover.
Bushbuck do not have much contact with each other.
They are members of the spiral horn family.

Interesting facts

South African Bushbuck Safari with Nick Bowker.
  • The fur of the bushbuck’s color depends on the habitat. It can be yellow, reddish, or brown. Bushbuck that live in dense forests have darker fur.
  • The ears, chin, tail, legs, and neck, have white, geometrically-shaped markings.
  • The main predators of bushbuck are the big cats, hyenas, hunting dogs, and crocodiles.
  • Bushbuck is a solitary and shy creature. It is usually active during the night (nocturnal), but it can also be active during the day.
  • Bushbuck is a typical herbivore (plant-eater). They are both browsers and grazers and consume fallen fruits, tubers, tree bark, flowers, leguminous herbs, and shrubs.
  • Bushbuck do not tolerate birds that remove insects from its fur. As a consequence, bushbuck have a lot of ticks.
  • Nick Bowker hunts the Cape Bushbuck in the Eastern Cape. Bushbuck in the north of South Africa (Limpopo province) are referred to as the Limpopo Bushbuck and in Botswana the Chobe bushbuck is prevalent.
Bushbuck trophy hunting.
  • Besides diseases transmitted by insects, bushbuck is prone to a viral infection called rinderpest.
  • The bushbuck is not a very fast runner, but it is a good swimmer, and it can jump 6 feet in the air.
  • Bushbuck mate throughout the whole year. Pregnancy in females lasts six months and ends with one baby. Females can have two litters each year.
  • After a baby is born, the female eats the placenta and dung of the young bushbuck to remove all smells that will otherwise attract predators.
  • The baby remains hidden in the vegetation when its mother is foraging.
  • When it reaches the age of 4 months, the baby accompanies its mother in the food search.
  • Bushbuck can survive up to 12 years in the wild and up to 15 years in captivity.
  • Bushbuck hunting is a favorite pass time of the local community in the Eastern Cape.
Bushbuck hunt in South Africa.

The difference between a male and female bushbuck

Females (Ewes) are smaller, and adult ewes are lighter in color than rams, with more pronounced white spots and stripes, while males have horns.

Shot placement should be on the bottom third of the shoulder for Bushbuck Hunting.
Shot placement for Bushbuck hunting
Bushbuck female with no horns  and lighter colour.
Bushbuck Female

About the Bushbuck

Description of Bushbuck

Bushbuck hunting with Nick Bowker

Bushbuck live within a “home” area, which is usually around 12 acres on the savannah and much more significant in the forest, that they will not usually leave.

These areas usually overlap other bushbuck home areas.

Bushbuck are solitary animals, and mature males go out of their way to stay away from each other. In direct contrast to plains game animals such as the black wildebeest and blesbok.

They are most active during the early morning and at night; and can be almost entirely nocturnal in areas where they are likely to be disturbed during the day.

Bushbuck inhabit thickets within dense and dry savanna woodlands

Bushbuck stands about 33 inches at the shoulder and weighs from 100 to 120 pounds (depending on sex). Females have a light brown coat, with up to seven white stripes and white splotches on the sides.

White patches occur on most mobile parts of their body, such as the ears, chin, tail, legs, and neck.

Information for Bushbuck hunting

Bushbuck hunt with dog

The muzzle is also white, and horns are found only on the males and only one twist.

At ten months old, young males sprout horns that are particularly twisted and, at maturity, form the first loop of a spiral.

Males are much darker in color and almost black. Males and females have geometrically shaped white patches or spots on the most mobile parts of their body, namely the ears, chin, tail, legs, and neck, and a band of white at the base of the neck.

On males, these markings become more visible during their displays when they arch their backs and slowly circle one another, walking in a tense, high-stepping gait.

These highly ritualized displays usually make fighting unnecessary, and alongside this, a rigid age-based hierarchy among Bushbuck keeps males in check.

When disturbed, Bushbuck ( Tragelaphus scriptus) freeze or go to the ground and wait for the danger to pass.

Bushbuck Hunting in South Africa

Trophy shot in the Eastern Cape

Your Bushbuck ram trophy should have an average shoulder height of around 33 inches, weigh about 100 pounds, and have a Horn length of approximately 12 – 13 inches.

The minimum Safari Club International score for an Eastern Cape Bushbuck is 31. It is measured by adding the length of each horn as well as the circumference of the bases.

Bushbuck are part of the Spiral Horn Antelope family and is the smallest of the family in South Africa. The Spiral Horned family includes Kudu, Nyala, Eland, and Bushbuck.

He has keen senses and is very alert. Males are very aggressive and sometimes attack when wounded.

Dogs usually bear the brunt of attacks, but humans do get targeted. Males make for outstanding trophies with thick black necks, shiny coats, and very majestic horns.

Trophy shot in South Africa

Awe-inspiring animals that offer excellent walk and stalk hunting opportunities.

In the Bedford area, Bushbuck hunting areas are in the mountains or along riverine forests in dense thickets.

The majority of Bushbuck are shot during the late evening or the early morning.

Bushbuck will live amongst human settlements with ease and will adapt their feeding habitats and become nocturnal.

Another hunting method is by sitting in a vantage point in the late evening and waiting for the Bushbuck to step into small fields and begin grazing.

During the day, Bushbuck will rest in a very thick brush. Bushbuck is a medium-sized antelope rather than a big game trophy.

Trophy Judgement and Rifle Caliber for Bushbuck Hunting

Bushbuck hunt

Primarily a browser, he feeds during the night or early morning and late afternoon on leaves, grass, branches, flowers, and fruit.

When disturbed, his alarm signal is a loud, hoarse bark similar to that of a dog.

Walking through the bush, probing the dense cover, always being mindful of the wind direction can be productive.

Hunt Bushbuck trophies with the 7mm, or a 30-caliber rifle with suitable 180-grain bullets. 

For those hunters who do not wish to go through the red tape of bringing a rifle into South Africa, Nick Bowker has a 7mm custom-made Remington Magnum fitted with a suppressor.

bushbuck shot in a riverine.

Mounted on the rifle is a Swarovski Z8 tactical scope. We have hand-loaded Hornady ELD-X ammunition. The rifle, including ammunition, is available as part of all hunting packages free of charge.

Shot placement is critical; from any angle, place your shot to penetrate and pass through the chest cavity.

You do not want to wound this little guy as, for his size, he can be extremely dangerous. For instance, an injured or cornered bushbuck is very aggressive and will not hesitate to charge.

If your wounded Bushbuck escapes to dense cover, which he will undoubtedly try to do, be very cautious in your pursuit, allow ample time for your bullet to do its work and, always send “Jack Russell” into the bush to find him.

Trophy shot in South Africa

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to hunt a Bushbuck?

The trophy fee as a standalone Bushbuck hunt is between $800 to $1000. Daily rates vary between $250 and $500 per day.

Included in the Bushbuck trophy fee is a licensed guide. As well as a hunting license and all permits.

How to hunt a Bushbuck?

Bushbuck hunting is in the early mornings and late evenings and spotted from an elevated vantage point in the thick brush and then stalked. Alternatively,  hunters use ambush techniques at watering holes or as they move back to cover from feeding.

Bushbuck are often hunted by sitting in a vantage point in the late evening and waiting for the Bushbuck to step into small fields and begin grazing.

Where do you shoot a Bushbuck?

Shot placement must be in the bottom third of the animal directly above the front shoulder. This will Ensure a heart or lung shot. Avoid head and neck shots which are high risk.

What is a trophy, Bushbuck?

Bushbuck trophies have a Horn Length of approximately 12 – 13 inches. The minimum qualification score under Safari Club International for a Bushbuck is 31. Add the length of each horn and the circumference of the bases to get your score SCI score.

How do you judge a Bushbuck trophy?

As with all African animals, a thick heavy, darkened neck is the first sign of maturity and often the most visible maturity characteristic when observing at a distance.

A good symmetrical shape with smooth tips signifies an old ram and a trophy worth considering.

Nick Bowker African outfitter.

Seasonal Restrictions

When can you hunt Bushbuck in South Africa?

There are no seasonal restrictions on Bushbuck hunting in designated conservancies in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.


Smithers, RHN, 1983. The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion, 1st edition. University of Pretoria, CTP

African Wildlife Foundation – Bushbuck

Hluhlewe Game Reserve – Bushbuck Facts

Ultimate Eungulate – The Bushbuck