|SPRINGBOK - Antidorcas marsupialus|
|The wiley springbok is possibly the most hunted animal in South Africa and Namibia due to their vast numbers and hardy characters. Most ranches will keep a few even if they are not in the game business. In the 18th century, hunters reported herds so vast they counted the number of days it took to pass their wagons instead of counting the animals.
Today they are widespread through the more arid parts of South Africa, Namibia and Botswana and despite their numbers can be fun to hunt.
Springbok are medium sized with a distinctive chocolate stripe running across the middle of their bodies separating a light brown back from their pure white bellies. Both males and females have horns differing mainly in thickness (females have long thin horns without much curl).
SCI minimum scores
Common springbok – 20″
Black springbok – 30″
White springbok – 28″
Kalahari springbok – 38″
Springbok prefer open plains and desert-like conditions and are capable of living in areas where there is almost no vegetation of any sort. They usually occur in herds, sometimes numbering thousands, with a dominant male and a number of females. Males ousted from the herd sometimes group into bachelor herds with older rams becoming solitary.
Springbok have exceptional eyesight (much like the American pronghorn antelope) and where they have been hunted, are difficult to get close to if they sense you first.
What’s in a name? - They are named for their characteristic style of hopping or springing while running, covering great distances with each stiff-legged bounce. Sometimes they will raise a ridge of long white hairs along their back like a fan or crest (this also raised for a few seconds when the animal dies). This graceful springing motion inspired the naming of the national rugby team the “SPRINGBOKS or BOKS” who were, in their former days, known for their winning style of deceptive or elusive running rugby.
|hunting tips – the hunt
To hunt springbok you definitely need a long shooting rifle as you will probably be forced to take shots of over 300 yards. The ideal rifle is a light calibre like a .243 or a .22-250 which shoots a considerable distance but does not do much damage to the trophy. Most hunters will not bring a separate rifle to hunt springbok and again, any of the medium to heavy, longer shooting calibre magnums like the 7mm and .300 Magnums are perfect.
Often when shooting at a distance the best area to aim for is the dark brown stripe towards the middle of the body (a gut shot) as springbok are not very strong and it will usually knock them down.
Due to their alert nature, one often spends a couple of hours trying to get close to the animal for a shot, either on foot or by vehicle. The best method for success is to catch the springbok by surprise by either lying in wait or by walking slowly through cover, if there is any. They can be quite curious at times and often patience will draw them closer.
|hunting tips – the calibre
Any good long shooting calibre like the .270s, 30.06s. 7mm & .300 Magnums are good choices primarily for the distance aspect of the shot.
|hunting tips – the trophy
A good set of horns start from thick ringed bases which should run straight up for a few inches before starting their distinctive outward bell shaped curl. The horns curl in again towards the top where the points will again start curving backwards.
The Kalahari springbok carry the largest horns, often dwarfing the common springbok. Often black springbok with Kalahari genes will also carry bigger horns.
The white springbok’s horns should be yellow or bone colored and the coat should be pure white.
|hunting tips – where
There are 4 subspecies of springbok listed for record purposes with 2 being colour variants.
- Common springbok found through most of South Africa’s more arid regions.