Hunting Baboons in Africa

Hunting Baboons in Africa

Baboons are African monkeys belonging to the genus Papio.  A large male can weigh upwards of 130 pounds, however 90 pounds is much more common.  They have long dog-like muzzles enclosing sharp canine teeth.  Their fur is thick except at the muzzle and on their buttocks where they have hard calluses that facilitate sitting.  Male baboons are larger than females, and exist in a social class that insures that only the alpha male will breed.

The collective noun for a group of baboons is “troop”.  Troop sizes can vary between five to as many as 250 animals.  Average troop size is closer to fifty.  Male dominance is determined by grunts and other sounds, as well as by visual threats followed by aggressive fights.  A lot of male African baboon aggression is caused by competition for females.  The female African baboon will give birth after a six month gestation. The young baboon has black fur when born, but this lightens as the baboon ages.  An African baboon is weaned from its mother after one year.  It reaches sexual maturity in five to eight years.  The female will stay with the troop, while the male African baboon usually leaves the troop before the onset of sexual maturity.

Life expectancy for the African baboon is 25-30 years.  They’re omnivorous, but mostly consume vegetable matter.  They forage both day and night.  Baboons will take and eat baby goats and sheep, coming right into pens to take the animals.  African baboons have raided human habitations causing much damage to lodges, homes and crops.  In some farming areas, they are treated as vermin and eradicated whenever possible.  African baboons have even consumed feed from a domestic trough, and it’s not unusual to see them along- side domestic animals. 

Hunting baboons in Africa can be done with the same rifle calibers as used for plains game.  Anything from a .243 up to 300 Winchester Magnum will work quite well.  A good expanding bullet anywhere from 100 grains to 150 grains will take down an African baboon.  When hunting baboons in Africa, a shot to the upper body will usually anchor the baboon.  They are smaller animals and will drop to a center body shot.  African baboons are considered a hunter’s worst enemy.  If they see you, or hear you they will let out loud alarm calls.  This warning will cause the game you are tracking to disappear over the horizon rapidly.

Usual shooting distance when hunting baboons in Africa is 100 to 150 yards.  African baboons will run at the slightest movement or sound, so sitting quietly in a blind is important.  Trying to stalk a baboon is almost impossible as they will run ahead of you, always staying out of range.  African baboons will follow the same route going to and from their roost to the feeding grounds; out in the morning and back in the late afternoon.  Set up a blind along their path and wait for them to walk to you.

About the only time during the year when hunting baboons in Africa is not recommended is during the months of January, February and December, due to the summer rains turning the roads to mush.