Blesbok – Damaliscus dorcas phillipsi
Blesbok were an easy source of meat to the early settlers and were hunted close to extermination, as their similar cousins the Bontebok, by the turn of the century. Today, they have been widely re-introduced to game ranches and farms throughout South Africa with their range extending into Zimbabwe and Namibia by game farmers although they are indigenous to South Africa.
Blesbok are meduim-sized antelope with short, fairly straight, ringed horns carried by both males and females. They have a brown neck and back which becomes darker towards the middle and back of the body. They have a typical white blaze on their muzzle and small dash of white between their horns.
Blesbok form small herds of females and young with males holding and defending territories through which these herds pass. They are more common to the open plains of the Free State, the Karoo areas and the Northern Cape where they graze in the mornings and late afternoons and lie down in the heat of the day in plain sight. They have the funny trait of walking in single file and shaking their heads as if nodding acceptance (at being shot at). They also have a sharp snorting alarm call when spooked.
Blesbok are mostly hunted on the open plains of the Free State and in the Karoo but they are found everywhere in South Africa and most hunters will shoot one. Although they rely on their keen eyesight, Blesbok are not overly nervous and are quite easily shot, sometimes at quite a distance on the plains.
Any good long shooting calibre like the .243′s, 22-250′s and even .22 Hornet although most hunters will use calibers in the .270s, 30.06s. 7mm & .300 Magnums range. They often require long distance shooting sometimes at high winds and elevations depeding upon the territory.
Blesbok have two horn variations; one representing an upside down bell shape with long points flaring out towards the tips and the other has wide flared horns. Good rams have very heavy, ringed bases which are best judged from the side. These rings appear white and nicely worn on older males.
Blesbok are unique to South Africa but have been introduced to Namibia and Zimbabwe. However the best regions for good blesbok are the plains and highlands of the Free State and the expanse of the great Karoo which makes up most of the eastern Cape.
THE BLESBOK is the package King, included in almost every hunting safari package deal in South Africa. You will find the lowley Blesbok sometimes even given away free of charge, always a steady contender amongst the more glamorous likes of Kudu & Gemsbok.
Blesbok – facts and figures
* Blesbok – Males are referred to as Rams while their female counterparts are ewes
* Blesbok meat is one of the best tasting of all African animals and they have been a source of protein for many centuries for the trekking Boers
* Blesbok males will often chase each other with harmful intent for hours.
* As with many South African species, Blesbok have fallen foul of the color manipulation frenzy. You get the regular or common Blesbok, the White Blesbok, the Yellow Blesbok and a curlycoated version as well.
CITES - No restrictions
SCI minimum scores – Rifle Common Blesbok – 39 “White Blesbok – 39 “
SCI minimum scores – Bow Common Blesbok – 36″White Blesbok – 35 “