Red Lechwe Hunting

Red lechwe hunting can be a real challenge, as he will tend to stand and watch his pursuer, keeping just out of reasonable range. Red Lechwe is a magnificent trophy. Only the male carries horns, which sweep backward and then curve forward at the horns’ tips.

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

Hunting is done by setting up ambushes and walk and stalk techniques. A red lechwe will cost around $2800. An all-inclusive package with a red lechwe and six other trophies, including a nyala, will cost $7500. Packages include accommodation and meals.
Red Lechwe hunting - trophy shot in the Eastern Cape South Africa

Interesting facts

  • Four subspecies of these antelopes have been identified and include:
    1. The black lechwe found in the areas of Zambia.
    2. The red lechwe found in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa.
    3. The Roberts Lechwe was formerly found in Zambia but are now considered extinct.
    4. As well as the Kafue flats lechwe of Zambia.
  • Only red lechwe hunting is available in South Africa.
  • The lechwe is one of the three antelope species known to form breeding arenas with a high population density.
  • Inhabit marshy areas and feed on mostly aquatic plants, and they always utilize the knee-deep water for safety and protection against their predators.
  • Covering the lechwe’s legs is water-repellent substances that allow them to run very fast in the knee-deep waters.
  • Their long and spiral-structured horns are lyre-shaped and only found in males. As a result, Red lechwe hunting will make for a magnificent trophy.
  • Both sexes have longer hind legs than other antelope species, which is essential for easing long-distance running in marshy soils.
  • Lechwe is a diurnal animal and also live in large herds comprising of up to thousands of individuals. These herds are surprising of one sex but will mix during the mating season.
  • Lechwe has greasy and water-repellent coats, and females have tawny to chestnut coats that resemble one another, apart from the minor differences in their markings.
  • They usually enter the water to feed on aquatic grasses, one of the abundant resources that the majority of the other herbivores cannot utilize, and usually graze on grasses that spring up as floodwaters increase.

The difference between a male and female red lechwe

Red Lechwe males have horns while females do not. In contrast, females are also smaller and can be lighter in color.

Red Lechwe male standing in the savanna in the dry season. Males have impressive sweeping horns and females do not have horns.
Red Lechwe male standing in the savanna in the dry season
Female running across the grasslands. Females do not have horns.
Lechwe female running across the grasslands

About the Red Lechwe

A medium-sized antelope with reddish-yellow underparts and darker on the back than on the flanks and legs.

White on the underpants, with a white band running up the front of the neck to the jaw, with characteristic dark markings on the forelegs.

You will notice that the males are darker in color, although this usually varies depending on the subspecies.

Their hindquarters are higher and broader than their forequarters with long necks and short yet blunt muzzles.

The shoulders are distinctly lower than the rump, and body slants forward.

Always in or near the water on shallow flood plains, along swamps and rivers and well-watered grasses.

Lechwe has also adapted well to open savannah country. Red Lechwe hunting will nearly always be walk and stalk.

As a result, red lechwe hunting is in savanna or well-wooded areas.

Usually form small herds between 10-30 animals on the savannah.

Bachelor herds, nursing herds, and solitary adult males can be distinguished.

During the mating season, a few males establish small territories, which they share with some nursing herds to develop a breeding area.

Red Lechwe Hunting in South Africa

Trophy shot in the Eastern Cape South Africa. Horn length should be approximately 24 - 26 inches.
Red Lechwe trophy shot in the Eastern Cape South Africa

Your red lechwe trophy should have an average shoulder height of around 39 inches, weigh about 200 pounds, and have a Horn Length of approximately 24 – 26 inches.

The Safari Club International minimum score for a red lechwe is 58. The trophy is measured by adding the length of each horn as well as the circumference of the bases.

The Lechwe male is usually of trophy quality at around five years.

The Red Lechwe is a magnificent trophy and does not occur in abundance in South Africa.

However, numbers are good throughout the Eastern Cape.

Lechwe is an introduced species and is not endemic to the Eastern Cape.

Lechwe has adapted well to open savannah country. Nick Bowker hunting has access to several free-ranging herds of red lechwe in the Bedford area.

Lechwe has done very well in a free-ranging environment where they are less susceptible to the brown tick.

In fenced areas during very dry periods, lechwe is forced to go deep into the brush foraging for grazing where they encounter the brown ear tick.

In a free-ranging environment, they can move and find grazing without going deep in the brush.

Trophy Judgement and Rifle Caliber

Trophy shot in the Eastern Cape South Africa. Red Lechwe are included in one of our South African Safari Hunting Packages.
Trophy shot in the Eastern Cape South Africa. Red Lechwe is included in one of our South African Safari Hunting Packages.

Only the male carries horns, which sweep backward and then curve forward at the horns’ tips similar to the waterbuck. The lechwe feeds on dry grasses and drinks regularly.

The herd grazes mostly during early morning and late afternoon, resting the heat of the day.

We would recommend a .30 caliber or, even better, the flat shooting 7mm magnum.

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

The rifle is mounted with a Swarovski Z8 tactical scope. Also, we have hand loaded Hornady ELD-X ammunition.

The rifle, including ammunition, is available as part of all hunting packages free of charge.

Red lechwe can be confused with impala by the untrained eye but never the red hartebeest.

The aim point is the standard high heart/lung shot; straight up the foreleg, one third into the body, and squeeze. Your lechwe should not go far.

When selecting a male to hunt, take note of the spread of the horns backward and outwards, and tips have opened and hooked forward.

Horns will wear down dramatically with age.