HARTEBEEST – Alcelaphus buselaphus & Alcelaphus caama
Possibly the most unusual and peculiar of the antelope in Africa, the hartebeest is widespread and differs greatly according to region and climate yet they remain one of the clowns of the African bush. Initially they were called ‘harts’ by the first settlers , another name for the European Red Deer or stag, hence the name Hartebeest. They differ considerably from south to north with at least 7 variations under the genus alcelaphus.
Hartebeest are usually considered easy game and included in most hunting packages from the Red Hartebeest throughout southern Africa to the Kongoni and in many areas they are one of the staples for baiting Lion & Leopard. Hartebeest horns are not as spectacular as other African antelope, being short and stubby yet are unique and it is difficult to get a good trophy.
There are various sub-species of Hartebeest listed for record purposes and most are characteristic of the old settlers saying the “knob-assed-hartebeest” (due to their characteristic bobbing rumps when running). They are one of the faster antelope however although not really known for their intelligence. Hartebeest have been one of the easiest sources of meat for early settlers and were shot, sometimes whole herds at a time for biltong and today still remain one of the best ans tastiest african game animals.
CITES – No restrictions
SCI minimum scores
Cape Red Hartebeest – 62″
Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest – 53″
Coke’s Hartebeest – 50″
Neumann’s Hartebeest – 51″
Lelwel Hartebeest – 60″
Western Hartebeest – 60″
Usually hartebeest form small or medium sized herds and are most active at dawn and dusk along the edges of dambos and vleis. They are creatures of habit and will remain in the same area and keep the same routine for long periods. They are not aggressive animals although tend to be tough and wiley once wounded poorly and can keep going for a great distance.
hunting tips – the hunt
Hartebeest seem to be the easiest antelope to hunt with the Lichtenstein’s and Cape Hartebeest giving ample opportunity for an easy shot when approached carefully. They are inquisitive animals and the most challenging part of the hunt will be to choose out one of the best trophies with horn judgment being a “two-sided” affair.
hunting tips – the calibre
Any good plainsgame calibre starting from 270 Magnum upwards is sufficient for Hartebeest. As with all African antelope, medium to heavy grained soft-nosed bullets are best.
hunting tips – the trophy
A good hartebeest will have very thick bases, a good, deep outward curl and long points running back to shining tips. It is necessary to see the front and profile of the animal before a good judgment can be taken and best left to your PH to say take him. The Hartebeest pictured above is an exceptional trophy male.
hunting tips – where
Cape Red Hartebeest is found primarily in the desert areas of Namibia, Botswana, across South Africa and some parts of Zimbabwe. Also known as the Red Hartebeest, the animals are well adapted to the semi-desert conditions of Namibia, Botswana and northern South Africa where good trophies are taken each year.
Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest is hunted in the western parts of Zambia and Mozambique, with Tanzanias Selous areas also being a decent area for trophy specimens.
Other recent huntable sub-species include:Coke’s Hartebeest – still hunted in Tanzania.
Neumann’s Hartebeest – found around Ethiopia.
Lelwel Hartebeest – restricted to CAR, Kenya and northern Tanzania
did you know – Their meat remains excellent and is close to the best venison on the continent.
The Lichtenstein Hartebeest develop a black spot precisely behind their shoulder, a perfect heart shot target. In the wet season flies lay eggs in their nose and the hatched worms cause irritation and mucous secretion. The hartebeest rubs it’s nose to soothe the itching in the easiest place it can reach, which happens to be behind the shoulder.