Hunting Black-Backed Jackal in Africa
The black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas), also known as the silver-backed jackal, is native to two widely separated areas of Africa. When hunting black-backed jackal in Africa it’s important that you know just where to go. One region is the southern part of Africa - Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The other area for hunting black-backed jackal in Africa is along the eastern coastline of Africa from Ethiopia to Kenya. It lives in scrubland, woodlands, savanna, and bush. It is very territorial and lives in pairs most of its life.
The black-backed jackal is a fox-like animal with a slender body, long legs and big ears. It weighs 12-30 pounds and stands 15-20 inches at the shoulder. The basic social unit is a mated pair which defends their habitat through scent marking and patrolling. The black-backed jackal is a vocal animal, communicating in yips, yelps, growling and howling. Black-backed jackals prefer living in savannas, farmlands and open areas with light vegetation. It is considered a pest by farmers.
Black-backed jackals are omnivores, subsisting on beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, spiders and scorpions. They also consume hares, rodents and young antelopes. A single jackal is capable of killing a mature impala, adult dik-dik, or a Thompson’s gazelle. They kill larger prey by biting the legs and genitals, and have been known to go for the throat. In general, the black-backed jackal will try to eat anything that is moving slowly or dead. Adults are predated on by leopards, African wild dogs, caracals, and eagles.
They are primarily nocturnal, but can be active all around the clock. If they live near humanity, they stay nocturnal. They have an excellent hearing and sense of smell. Black-backed jackals are fast enough that they can steal meat from larger predators like lions or leopards. They are not endangered, and the primary reason why is their resourcefulness.
Black-backed jackals will hunt and kill domestic and farm animals, with sheep being their preferred prey. They can be a big problem for sheep ranchers, especially during the lambing season. They usually kill sheep with a bite to the throat. South African ranchers have been using wire fences to protect sheep from jackals since the late nineteenth century. But good fence is expensive, and cheap fence isn’t much of a barrier for the black-backed jackal.
Many hunting clubs were instituted in South Africa during the 1850s specifically to try to stop predation by jackals on livestock. However, even with the use of poison and gas, the black-backed jackal has never been eradicated. Poisoning was effective until the first few decades of the twentieth century. Black-backed jackals learned to avoid bait that had been poisoned. The animal is listed as “Least Concern”, and will probably never be eradicated as long as there is food available. They seem to learn from their environment and make changes as the environment changes.
The right rifle for hunting black-backed jackal in Africa is the one you can get your hands on the quickest. These little fellers don’t stay in sight for more than a few seconds. If you want to hunt black-backed jackals specifically, then a night hunt using spotlights and predator calls would be in order. For hunting black-backed jackal in Africa at night, the rifle of choice would be something in the small .22-.25 caliber centerfire range. The .243 Winchester is a good choice, because it can be used for plains game hunting. Anything smaller, such as a .223, has only limited use. If you are looking to full-body mount a black-backed jackal, a .375 solid is a good weapon to use, as it only leaves a small entry and exit wound.