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

Gemsbok Hunting Cost

Trophy shot in the Eastern Cape South Africa. Gemsbok is included in all of our South African Hunting Safari Packages.
Trophy shot in the Eastern Cape South Africa. Gemsbok is included in all of our South African Hunting Safari Packages.

Priced at $1500, a Gemsbok Trophy is nearly always included in a plains game hunt.  South African Hunting Package deals that include a gemsbok have a price range of around $4000 – $7000 for 7 trophies.

SpeciesPrice
Gemsbok$1500
Gemsbok price

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

The Gemsbok in Pictures

The name "Gemsbok" in English is derived from Afrikaans Gemsbok, which itself is derived from Dutch name of the male chamois.
They are semi-gregarious and occur in the following groups: 1. mixed groups of 5 - 40 individuals that include several territorial bulls as temporarily associates, adult non-lactating cows and sub adult cows
There are various methods of hunting gemsbok in Africa. Generally, there will be a mix of driving, walking and spot and stalk.
Gemsbok or Oryx were traditionally found in the north-western and western parts of South Africa, which is the Northern Cape, Kalahari, North West and Western Cape.
A low metabolism allows them to survive for much of the year without drinking. They get the moisture they need from their food, including desert melons that they dig up in times of drought.
They use their horns in territorial combat and as lethal weapons against predators by lowering the horns to a vertical position, even capable of killing lions.
Gemsbok males and females make spectacular trophies. Both sexes carry long spear-like horns.
The Gemsbok is desert dwelling animal that prefers deserts, scrubland and brush land. Southern gemsbok tend to inhabit open, arid areas, such as the Kalahari dune land and bush savannah while northern gemsbok inhabit open grasslands.
The gold standard for a very nice trophy gemsbok is one with 40 inch horns.
Gemsbok are light brownish-grey to tan in colour, with lighter patches toward the bottom rear of the rump. Their tails are long and black in colour

Interesting Facts

  • A gemsbok straight, rapier-like horns are used in territorial combat and as lethal weapons against predators.
  • Moreover gemsbok 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.
A gemsbok straight, rapier-like horns are used in territorial combat and as lethal weapons against predators.
  • A low metabolism allows these antelopes to survive for much of the year without drinking.
  • Besides getting the moisture, they need from their food, including 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 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.

Difference Between Male and Female

Male and female gemsbok 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

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

Gemsbok uses their horns to defend themselves and their young from predators, while males use their horns to protect their territories from other males and for defense.

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.

Gemsbok has very muscular necks and shoulders, 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.

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

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.

Information for Gemsbok hunting

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

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

New-born gemsboks 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, and black wildebeest.

Hunts are conducted using ambush techniques in the open country and walk and stalk techniques.

Gemsbok Hunting in South Africa

Vital organs showing the position of the heart and lungs. 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.

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

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.

However, warthog holes provide the ideal escape plan. They flatten their horns and go through the warthog hole and get very adept at escaping through warthog holes.

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

Trophy Judgement and Rifle Caliber

Rifle Calibre for Gemsbok Hunting

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 with 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.

Trophy Judgement

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

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. Also, trophy judgment is challenging, as body size differs remarkably from one gemsbok to another.

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