Hunting Blue Wildebeest in Africa
The blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus), also known as the white-bearded wildebeest, common wildebeest, or brindled gnu, is one of five species of African wildebeest. It is a herbivore primarily consuming short grasses. The nlue wildebeest is widely spread over Angola, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana, and Tanzania. It was extinct in Namibia, but is being reintroduced with success. Also, private game farms and conservancies are breeding the blue wildebeest. There are a lot of animals available for hunting blue wildebeest in Africa.
The blue wildebeest is an extremely wary animal, prone to leaping about and running around when even slightly disturbed. Males are considerably larger than females and can weigh up to 600 pounds and stand five feet tall. Females seldom weigh over 500 pounds, but occasionally can go as high as 550 pounds. They breed at the end of the rainy season and give birth eight and one half months later. When the calf is about eight months old, it will leave its mother and join a juvenile herd.
Mature blue wildebeest have a brown or silver grey coat with black manes. Both sexes have horns, the male’s being larger and heavier than the female’s. Herds average 25-50 animals, sometimes even more in open grasslands. They are tough animals and are often seen in the company of zebras, impala, and hartebeest. They need to water twice a day, so they tend to stay near a good supply. Average life span in the wild is 19-20 years.
Blue wildebeest are most active in the early morning and after the heat of the day has dropped in the late afternoon. Blue wildebeest will gather at night in groups ranging from 10-20 up to thousands. Their major predators are crocodiles, lions, and hyenas. Also, packs of wild dogs can, and do take down the calves, or infirm animals.
Males are very territorial, especially during breeding season. Blue wildebeest males become aggressive and excited as they compete for mating rights. They make testosterone-driven displays towards other males, bellowing, snorting and locking horns with other competitors. A male blue wildebeest neither eats, nor rests when a female in heat is present in his territory.
Hunting blue wildebeest in Africa can be quite exciting. The total number of blue wildebeest in Africa is near 1.55 million. The first time a hunter sees an enormous herd spread over the plains, he’ll think all 1.55 million are standing in front of him. Sorting out a 600 pound male blue wildebeest from these herds can be quite difficult. The Professional Hunter (PH) will be a great help in this endeavor. Older males will be a darker color, and their stripes will be wider.
One of the most common methods of hunting blue wildebeest in African is by walking and stalking. Check the wind and start from downwind. There will be many pairs of eyes watching for danger, including sharp-eyed zebras that have melded with the blue wildebeest. Trying to move when eyes aren’t watching is very challenging. A method that usually works well is to never approach the blue wildebeest straight on. Walk at an oblique angle never looking directly at the animals, but watching them out of the corner of your eye. Move slowly and quietly. Plan on taking a long shot. Out to 200 yards, a good, flat-shooting .30 Magnum with premium 180 grain bullets works well for hunting blue wildebeest in Africa. However, blue wildebeest are tough animals, and should the shot not anchor the animal, longer range shooting will be necessary. For that, a heavier bullet, .338 to .375 caliber isn’t overkill. A wounded blue wildebeest can open distance in very short order.
Aim point on a broadside shot is along the back side of the front shoulder and one third up from the bottom of the blue wildebeest’s body. For head-on shots when hunting blue wildebeest in Africa, place the bullet in the center of the body, a hand span up on the chest. Don’t quit shooting until the animal is down. A wounded blue wildebeest can be very dangerous. Always approach the animal from the back, and be ready to give it a finisher. They can, and will, get up and charge.