Gemsbok Hunting

Gemsbok Hunting is mainly done using ambush techniques in open country as well as walk and stalk techniques. Gemsbok males and females make spectacular trophies. Aggressive and very dangerous when injured or threatened, both males and females carry very long spear-like horns.

Shot placement should be on the bottom third of the shoulder for gemsbok hunting.
Shot placement for Gemsbok

Table of Contents

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

Gemsbok Hunting Cost

The average cost of a Gemsbok is $1500. A plains game package hunt often includes a Gemsbok Trophy.

All-Inclusive $4000 Starter Plains Game Package for 7 trophies and 8 days hunting. (Inclusive of a Gemsbok Trophy)

  • Gemsbok
  • Impala
  • Wildebeest
  • Springbok
  • Blesbok
  • Warthog
  • Mountain Reedbuck
Gemsbok hunting in South Africa
Gemsbok hunted in the Eastern Cape South Africa

The Gemsbok in Pictures

The name
They are semi-gregarious and occur in groups.
There are various methods of hunting gemsbok in Africa.
Gemsbok or Oryx were traditionally found in the north-western and western parts of South Africa.
A low metabolism allows them to survive for much of the year without drinking.
They use their horns in territorial combat and as lethal weapons against predators.
Males and females make spectacular trophies.
These are  desert dwelling animal that prefers deserts, scrubland and brush land.
The gold standard for a very nice trophy gemsbok is one with 40 inch horns.
Gemsbok are light brownish-grey to tan in colour.

Interesting Facts About Gemsbok

Gemsbok hunt
  • The straight, rapier-like horns are used in territorial combat and as lethal weapons against predators.
  • Moreover they can kill lions.
  • Gemsbok minimizes water loss through sweat by allowing their body temperature to rise to an astonishing 45°C and then dissipating the stored heat at night.
  • Consequently, overheating is averted by a filigree of blood vessels in the nose, known as the carotid rete, through which all the blood that passes to the brain is circulated and cooled.
Gemsbok trophy. A gemsbok straight, rapier-like horns are used in combat.
  • A slow metabolism allows these antelopes to survive for much of the year without drinking.
  • They get the moisture they need from their food, for example, the desert melons that they dig up in drought times.
  • After giving birth, a female hides her calf for 3–6 weeks, remaining nearby and visiting a few times a day to nurse. The calf’s pale brown color works as camouflage.
  • Gemsbok hunting in Southern Africa’s arid regions was conducted by bow and arrow and an important food source.
Gemsbok trophy.

Difference Between Male and Female

Male and female present very low sexual dimorphism (physical differences between males and females) and are almost identical in appearance. This is most notable because both males and females have horns, though the males are shorter and thicker. In contrast, female horns are longer and thinner and tend to curve backward.

Gemsbok has evolved this reduced sexual dimorphism to facilitate more extended acceptance of juvenile males by the older territorial males. As a result, this has allowed the gemsbok to better survive in vast empty spaces where finding mates can be a serious challenge. In contrast, the nyala, for example, exhibits very high sexual dimorphism.

Old male in the long grass. Males horns are shorter and thicker
Old gemsbok male
Female gemsbok. Female horns are longer and thinner and tend to curve backward.
Female gemsbok

About the Gemsbok

Description of Gemsbok

Gemsbok trophy. Widely hunted for its spectacular horns that average 33 inches in length.

Widely hunted for its spectacular horns that average 33 inches in length.

They use their horns to defend themselves and their young from predators. The males use their horns to protect their territories from other males.

Unusually gemsbok hunting results in one of the few antelope species where female trophies are sometimes more desirable than male ones.

Gemsbok is light brownish-grey to tan in color, with lighter patches toward the rump’s bottom rear. Their tails are long and black.

A blackish stripe extends from the chin down the lower edge of the neck and through the juncture of the shoulder and leg along the lower flank of each side to the rear leg.

The gemsbok has very muscular necks and shoulder, and their legs have white ‘socks’ with a black patch on the front of both the front legs.

The face is black with white marks, and the tail is long and black.

A rough coat with coarse hair, predominantly khaki.

Gemsbok stands about 47 inches at the shoulder. Male gemsbok can weigh between 400–530 pounds, while females weigh 220–440 pounds.

Females isolate themselves from the herd before giving birth. After giving birth, a mother gemsbok hides her calf for about 3 to 6 weeks.

Information for Gemsbok hunting

Gemsbok trophy. Included in many of our packages are the gemsbok.

This is different from most antelope species whose young travel with the herd almost immediately.

The mother remains close to her concealed offspring and visits them a few times a day for her calf to suckle.

New-born are colored in an inconspicuous brown, blending with their environment.

Their black and white face markings won’t appear until it is ready to join the mother’s herd. It will continue suckling until it is 6 to 9 months old.

The social structure of the gemsbok is different from most other antelope species.

Other antelope in the area, like blesbok, employ a harem system where one dominant breeding male controls a group of females and young. Bachelor males form separate herds or control a particular area.

On the other hand gemsbok, form mixed herds of both males and females.

Sparring contests that may escalate into fights serve to maintain the hierarchy in the herds.

These fights are most likely to start due to competition for resources, such as females in estrus or a water hole.

Included in many of our packages are the gemsbok and other desirable trophies such as sable antelope, nyala, kudu, and black wildebeest.

Gemsbok Hunting in South Africa

Vital organs. Horn length should be approximately 33 to 36 inches.
Vital organs of a gemsbok

Your Gemsbok trophy should have an average shoulder height of around 46 inches, weigh about 500 pounds, and have a Horn length of approximately 33 – 36 inches.

The minimum score under Safari Club International for gemsbok is 81. Add the length of each horn and the circumference of the bases to get your score SCI score.

Males and females make spectacular trophies. Both sexes carry long spear-like horns. Gemsbok can be extremely aggressive and dangerous when injured or threatened.

The minimum score under Safari Club International for gemsbok is 81

Gemsbok has been introduced into the Eastern Cape and is not genuinely free-ranging.

Standard cattle and sheep fences are a partial impediment to the movement of a gemsbok.

Warthog holes provide the ideal escape plan for the gemsbok. They flatten their horns and go through the warthog hole.

Gemsbok is common across the Eastern Cape. Hunts are conducted using ambush techniques in the open country and walk and stalk techniques.

Trophy hunted with Nick Bowker.

Trophy Judgement and Rifle Caliber

Rifle Calibre for Gemsbok Hunting

Gemsbok hunting in the Eastern Cape

This open country will demand one of the flat shooting rifle and scope combinations. Gemsbok is alert with excellent eyesight, hearing, and smell; your stalk needs to be carefully planned.

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

Trophy Judgement

Trophy shot in South Africa

The humped shoulder can result in a high shot. Therefore follow the backline of the front leg to about one-third into the body.

Never shoot above the horizontal midline of this beautiful antelope unless you require a good day’s hike.

In assessing the trophy, remember that the cow’s horns tend to be longer and often out-score the bull. Keep in mind that the body size differs remarkably from one gemsbok to another.

Hunting gemsbok will provide a fabulous trophy, and its meat is one of the most delicious to be found on the African continent.

Nick Bowker Hunting


Smithers RHN – The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion

Endangered Wildlife Trust – Gemsbok

Animal Corner – Gemsbok

Deon Furstenburg – Focus on the Gemsbok