Southern White or Square Lipped Rhino - Ceratotherium simum
Resembling something out of Jurassic Park and seemingly the most placid of the Big Five to hunt, these rhino are known more for their belligerence than for their ferocity. The conservation of these animals is a true success story.
Once on the verge of extinction, the white rhino now flourishes in reserves and on game ranches throughout South Africa, Namibia and to a lesser extent Zimbabwe. The population is healthy, estimated at over 8500 and surplus animals may be hunted. Many game ranchers consider rhino an excellent long term investment allowing many years of breeding before hunting the older bull and replacing it with new blood.
The Southern White Rhino is allowed to be hunted as a trophy in South Africa and Namibia. Importation of these trophies into USA and Europe is allowed.
Trophies hunted in Namibia require both import and export permits.
SCI minimum score – 70
CITES has recently allowed the trophy export export of very strictly controlled BLACK RHINO hunts in South Africa due to their relative stability in that country. Trends indicated that each year there will be at least 2 bull rhino available for hunting however as you can imagine, prices are very high.
Also NOTE that South Africa has recently outlawed their popular darted Rhino hunts due to abuse within game ranching circles (it seems some rhino were being darted as much as 10 times a year!)
White rhino are grazers preferring open bushy savannah with shaded trees and a constant supply of water. They are larger than the Black Rhino and tend to have a lighter colored skin. They are social animals usually living in small groups however older males become solitary and very sensitive, often developing cheeky habits of chasing vehicles and people.
The two large horns on the elongated snout are composed of hair-like tubular outgrowths which are shaped and sharpened by the animal into the characteristic curved point.
hunting tips – the hunt
We have heard many people refer to their rhino hunt as “shooting at a barn”. In many cases this is true as many surplus rhino each year are sold from game reserves to commercial ranches. These rhino are then hunted after a number of years and usually do not lose their placid nature.
However, the rhino has incredibly acute hearing and smell and on ranches where regular hunting takes place, they become almost invisible despite their size. Many hunters are led to believe that their rhino hunt is simply a matter of pulling the trigger. When hunted on foot, and despite being on a game ranch, the rhino is one of the most elusive and frustrating of the Big Five to hunt.
hunting tips – the calibre
The minimum calibre for rhino is the .375 Magnum or any other calibre recommended for thick-skinned game and a well-placed shot behind the shoulder is all that is required. Usually shots are not over 50 yards. At death, the rhino lets out a bleating whistle, sounding very much like a small duiker in distress.
hunting tips – the trophy
Rhino are judged on the length of both horns and their base circumference, added to give a total score. Rhino usually hold their head low to the ground and broadside judgment of horn length is relatively simple, the indicator being the height of the front horn relative to the ears. When directly facing the animal, the horn should run above the ears as far as possible.
A good bull will have a visibly impressive front horn starting from a wide base close to the front lip and curving up above his ears when the head is held up. Cows generally have longer thinner and straighter front horns and thin bases but it is not uncommon for bulls to have straight horns as well.
You may find an outfitter offering a Gold or Silver Medal rhino to hunt and wonder about this assertion. It is likely that they know the horn length as it has been measured while the animal was under tranquilizers during veterinary inspections etc. However, remember that rhino do wear down their horns by sharpening and gouging against trees and digging in the soil so it would be a good idea to ask when the measurement was taken.
hunting tips – where
Most Rhino hunted in South Africa with some taken in Namibia and up until recently only the White Rhino could be shot. The Black Rhino darting was popular before the closure however is no longer an option so if you do want a Rhino then you’d have to get in line with about $200,000 in your pocket as this is what the they are selling for.