BONTEBOK - Damaliscus dorcas dorcas
At one stage, the unique bontebok population in South Africa stood at less than 40 individual animals, shot to the brink of extinction by hunters and farmers alike. Thanks to game farmers the bontebok today has revived its numbers to such an extent that surplus males may be hunted from ranch herds.
They are very similar to the blesbok with identical stature and mannerisms. Their horns are also similar with those of the bontebok being darker and smaller. Their coloring is, however, far more striking with pure white facial, stomach and rump blazes. Their body color varies from a light brown forequarter gradually darkening to a purple-black towards their rear.
Importation permits will not be granted unless the hunter has a letter from a ranch owner authorising him to hunt bontebok from a registered ranch (your outfitter should provide this). In most cases, the issuing authority will have a list of registered ranches in South Africa so don’t take any chances.
Bontebok form small herds of separate sexes while mature males will establish and fiercely protect their territories. Being very territorial and aggressive in defence (often chasing a rival for miles and fighting to the death), males will scan their territory whilst lying on top of manure heaps they create. When female pass through they will court them and endeavor to keep them there.
|hunting tips – the trophy
Bontebok are only found in South Africa and their endangered status and higher trophy fee does not make them an immediate choice for many hunters. They are however one of South Africa’s most unique and striking antelope best preserved as a full mount.
Both males and female have horns which at times may be difficult to distinguish. Females have much thinner horns with a smaller body which usually tends to look thin and angular. Males horns have thicker bases and are heavily ringed running up a few inches before flaring outwards and upwards.
|hunting tips – where
Currently, having a wide range and distribution, bontebok are not a very difficult trophy to bag. They are most often hunted in the eastern and western Cape as well as the Free State usually requiring a special detour to a particular ranch.
However, there are not many ranches which have the necessary permission and permits to offer bontebok for trophy hunting (see CITES above).
Recently the South African nature conservation authorities have embarked upon a program of eradicating non indigenous species in each province or state affecting the distribution of Bontebok. This basically means that the sterling work done by gameranches all over the country in bringing back the Bontebok from the verge of extinction will be reversed – a situation of people in charge not being in the know!