The Black Wildebeest: King of the Highveld

In my last few articles I’ve profiled the bushpignyalawaterbuckelandkudu, the cape buffalothe impalathe warthogthe zebra, and the blue wildebeest. Today, I’m writing about one of the animals that rules the highveld of South Africa: the black wildebeest. Though they are not as widespread as their blue wildebeest cousins, they are still quite popular among visiting hunters.

Black Wildebeest Description & Distribution

Scientific Name: Connochaetes gnou

The black wildebeest is a medium sized species of antelope. Though they have been introduced in other countries, namely Namibia, black wildebeest are native only to the central highlands of South Africa. They are herd animals and live on open plains and grasslands of South Africa’s highveld, often in the company of blesbok, springbok, and zebra.

black wildebeest zebra

Black wildebeest do not grow quite as large as blue wildebeest, but they will still reach a weight of nearly 350 pounds. They are a dark brown or black color and have unusual shaped horns that curve forwards. Both males and females have horns, males tend to have significantly thicker and longer horns than females.

Black Wildebeest Hunting Methods

Since they inhabit open areas, they are easy to spot. However, this also makes them difficult to approach since they are cautious animals with excellent eyesight. Virtually all black wildebeest are hunted via walk and stalk, but 200+ yard shots are not unusual when hunting them.

Recommended Black Wildebeest Cartridges

Like their blue wildebeest cousins, black wildebeest are very tough to take down. That said, many of the popular deer hunting calibers like the .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .300 Win Mag, and 7mm Rem Mag will work just fine on black wildebeest. Additionally, larger cartridges like the 300 PRC, and .338 Winchester Magnum are also great choices.

Heck, long range muzzleloaders like the CVA Paramount and Remington 700 UML are also good tools in the right hands for hunters who want to take a black wildebeest with a smoke pole.

Whatever you end up using though, make sure you sight in your rifle prior to your hunt.

Black Wildebeest Shot Placement

Even though they are not quite as large as their blue wildebeest cousins, black wildebeest are still very tough, which makes shot placement very important. To place your shot properly, aim at the center of the shoulder approximately 1/3 the way up the body.

black wildebeest hunting shot placement broadside

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).

black wildebeest hunting shot placement quartering

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

Thanks to Big Game Hunting Adventures for the photos from the black wildebeest hunting and plains game hunting pages.

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.