Roan Antelope Hunting

When you are roan antelope hunting, do not be under-gunned; the roan is a heavy, tough, aggressive, and therefore potentially dangerous quarry. After eland and kudu, the roan is Africa’s largest antelope. Caliber and shot placement are both critical, as roan are large, tough, and tenacious animals.

Shot placement for Roan antelope hunting
Shot placement for Roan antelope

Interesting facts about Roan Antelope

  • A grazer and browser whose preferred habitat includes lightly wooded savanna, it also frequents floodplains and grasslands. 
  • The roan is sociable and territorial, and females live in herds of 4–25 with their offspring.
  • Males defend territories and accompany female herds that range widely, enjoying a monopoly while being the dominant bull.
  • The dominant bull forces the young males to leave. The bachelors associate together in small bachelor herds until mature at six years of age. 
  • Females breed at two years and thereafter produce young at roughly 10.5-month intervals (gestation 9–9.5 months). 
  • After a 2–3 week hiding stage, calves join the maternal herd, where they associate with other juveniles in crèches.
  • Resting juvenile subgroups are often left behind when the rest of the herd moves, making them vulnerable prey for leopards
  • Roan can kill lions that fail to overpower them immediately. With an aggressive temperament, their curved horns and a sideways stabbing technique make the roan antelope formidable.
  • Roan antelope hunting is now much more affordable than in days gone by. Roan can be now added on to any 7 animal hunting packages which include such trophies as nyala, zebra and black wildebeest.

The difference between a male and female roan antelope

Both the roan antelope male and females have horns. The male’s horns are longer and heavier.

Roan Antelope females with young. Both males and females have horns.
Roan Antelope females with young

About Roan Antelope

Roan antelope hunting – one of the largest species of antelopes, only Eland, is larger. Male Kudu can exceed them in weight.

They measure 75–94 inches from the head to the base of tail and the tail measures 15–19 inches.

The body mass of males is 550–650 pounds and of females 500–600 pounds. The shoulder of this species is typically around 51–55 inches.

Named for their roan color (a reddish brown), they have lighter underbellies, white eyebrows and cheeks and black faces, lighter in females.

They have short, erect manes, very light beards and prominent red nostrils.

Ringed horns of the roan antelope reach a meter long but are shorter in females. They arch backward slightly in both males and females.

Sometimes confused where their ranges overlap roan look similar to sable antelope

Sable antelope males are much darker than roan and have shorter horns.

Found in woodland and grassland savanna, roan feed on mid-length grasses.

Roan form harem groups of 6 to 18 animals with a dominant male.

They fight among themselves to dominate their herd, brandishing their horns while both animals are on their knees.

Roan Antelope Hunting South Africa | Nick Bowker Hunting
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Roan Antelope Hunting in South Africa

Roan Antelope hunting

Your roan antelope trophy should have an average shoulder height of around 52 inches, weigh about 600 pounds, and have a Horn Length of approximately 25 inches.

The Safari Club International minimum score for a roan antelope is 67. This is measured by adding the length of each horn as well as the circumference of the bases.

Shot placement and rifle caliber are important, as roan are large, tough, and tenacious animals.

Powerful and dangerous animals, some contests can end in a fatality if neither bull chooses to give up.

Roan like sable are not indigenous to the Eastern Cape but have been introduced.

The hunter can be subjected to injury if he gets too close to the backward sweep of the roan’s horns while roan antelope hunting.

Trophy Judgement and Rifle Caliber

The herd bulls can be quite cocky and not all that hard to approach. Be very cautious and at the ready; he may just be so bold as to take you on in a charge.

Like sable, we would recommend the 300 magnums for roan hunting. Roan is water-dependent, and unlike the gemsbok, he will most likely be found near a water source.

Look for his spoor around the water holes and catch him at first light while he is feeding in the open.

Predominantly grazers, the roan prefers savanna with wide, open grassy areas where they tend to scatter and feed

When grass becomes scarce, they readily browse, a habit not shared by their cousin the sable. They seem to stay in better shape than the sable during hard times because of this.

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.

The rifle is mounted with a Swarovski DS with a built-in rangefinder. We have hand loaded Hornady ELD-X 200 grain ammunition. This set up including ammunition is available as part of all hunting packages free of charge.