Blesbok: Bread And Butter of the Highveld

In my last few articles I’ve profiled the black wildebeestbushpignyalawaterbuckelandkudu, the cape buffalothe impalathe warthogthe zebra, and the blue wildebeest. Today, I’m writing about one of the other animals that rules the highveld of South Africa: the blesbok. They are extremely common in their home range and for this reason, they are a must have species if you’re hunting where they live.

Blesbok Description & Distribution

Scientific Name: Damaliscus dorcas phillipsi

The blesbok is a medium sized species of antelope that is originally from South Africa’s highveld. Like black wildebeest, they have been introduced to other countries, like Namibia, for the purpose of sport hunting. They are herd animals and thrive in open plains and grasslands. They are often found in the company of black wildebeest, springbok, and zebra.

Mature blesbok rams normally weigh around 150 pounds and stand around 3 feet tall at the shoulder. Ewes typically weigh around 130 pounds. They have coats of brown fur with patches of white on their rump, face, lower legs, and bellies. Both males and females have horns.

Since they’re a relatively common animal, Blesbok trophy fees are normally pretty low (usually in the $400-600 range). With this in mind, Blesbok are actually one of the most affordable species to hunt in Africa.

blesbok south africa

Blesbok Hunting Methods

Since blesbok usually inhabit very open areas, spotting them is not difficult. However, they have excellent eyesight and can be difficult to approach closely. When hunting blesbok, it is important to use whatever bits of concealment are available in the terrain to get as close as possible without spooking the herd. Even so, you should still be prepared to take a 200-300 yard shot when hunting them.

Recommended Blesbok Cartridges

Blesbok are not large or particularly tough animals. However, due to the open plains that they usually inhabit, shots on blesbok are often taken at 200-300 yards.

For this reason, flat shooting cartridges are good choices for hunting blesbok. Cartridges like the .243 Winchester, .257 Weatherby Magnum, .25-06 Remington, .260 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .270 Winchester will certainly work with good shot placement and when using quality bullets. However, some countries, (like Namibia) have a 7mm (.284″) minimum for hunting plains game, which precludes hunting with the cartridges above.

For that reason, the 7mm Remington Magnum, .30-06 Springfield, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .338 Winchester Magnum are all much better choices for hunting blesbok.

Blesbok Shot Placement

As stated above, blesbok are not extremely tough animals and will not go very far if hit in the vitals. To place your shot properly, aim at the center of the shoulder approximately 1/3 the way up the body.

blesbok shot placement

If the animal is quartering towards or away from you, make sure you adjust your aiming point accordingly (aim slightly forward if it is quartering towards you and slightly to the rear if it is quartering away).

The Perfect Shot by Kevin Robertson was used as a reference for shot placement. Check out this blesbok hunting video to see what good shot placement looks like in the field.

Thanks to Big Game Hunting Adventures for the photos from the blesbok hunting page.

Learn more about the South Africa hunting safaris Big Game Hunting Adventures offers on their web site or follow them on Facebook, YouTube, & Instagram.

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Big Game Hunter

About the Author:

I was born and raised in Texas where I started hunting white-tailed deer and hogs at an early age with my father and grandfather. Under their tutelage, I developed a strong respect for wildlife and the outdoors, as well as an appreciation and interest in firearms. Since then, I've hunted big game all over the United States as well as in Namibia and Zimbabwe. As a strong supporter of conservation as well as gun rights, I'm a member of Safari Club International, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the National Rifle Association. I live in Washington state with my wife where we both enjoy taking advantage of all the outdoor opportunities available in the Pacific Northwest. I currently serve in the United States Army and have served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a mortar platoon leader and cavalry troop commander. I was born in Texas and have hunted big game all over the United States as well as in Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. I served served on active duty in the United States Army for over 7 years and served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a mortar platoon leader and cavalry troop commander. I live in Washington with my wife and I am currently serving in the Washington Army National Guard. My passion for the outdoors led me to create The Big Game Hunting Blog and Big Game Hunting Adventures in order to share my hunting experiences with others and to help them fulfill their hunting dreams.
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