Hunting Brown Hyena in Africa
The brown hyena (Hyaena brunnea) is a species of hyena found in Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. It is currently the rarest species of hyena which will make for an interesting hunt. When hunting brown hyena in Africa, you will learn that they are quite popular trophies for African hunters. Brown hyenas average 34 to 55 inches in head and body length. They run 28 to 31 inches at the shoulder. The average adult male weighs 88 to 97 pounds. There is no significant size difference between the male and female brown hyena. Unusually large animals can weigh as much as 160 pounds. Interesting fact: about five million years ago there was a species of hyena that weighed 450 pounds. This mega-scrounger could crack elephant bones.
Hyenas have relatively short bodies and large, strong chests and neck. They somewhat resemble wolves, but have very distinctive hind quarters that slope down towards their rump. Their forelegs are longer than their hind legs. The brown hyena runs with a unique gait, seemingly crippled as it streaks after prey.
Brown hyenas have powerful jaws. Young animals can crack the leg bones of an impala within five minutes of birth. This ability disappears as hyenas age and their teeth dull and wear. Brown hyenas have a society similar to wolves; with both an alpha male and an alpha female. They maintain a stable group hierarchy by engaging in mock fights and aggressive displays. Female brown hyenas typically produce their first litter when they reach two years of age. Mating happens from May to August. After a 97 day gestation, a litter of one to five cubs are born. Unlike spotted hyenas, the brown hyena cubs are born with their eyes closed, and remain that way for eight days. All adult members of the group will bring food back to the pups, which spotted hyenas won’t do.
Brown hyenas get most of their food from scavenging carcasses brought down by larger predators like leopards, cheetahs, and jackals. They will eat just about any animal protein including, but not limited to rodents, insects, eggs, and they also eat fruit. Brown hyenas have been observed chasing leopards off of kills and treeing the leopard. Sometimes lions and spotted hyenas will be seen hunting brown hyenas in Africa, and killing them if they can catch their prey.
When the brown hyena has an excess of food, it will hide it in holes or in shrubs for up to one day. They are poor hunters and seldom catch live prey such as spring hares, foxes, or springbok lambs. In the Kalahari Desert, brown hyenas are active most of the night searching for food over areas as large as 34 square miles. Their powerful sense of smell allows them to locate carrion as far as one mile downwind.
Brown Hyena Hunting Methods
Spotting, walking, or stalking the likely habitats is the one way to locate the animal when hunting the brown hyena in Africa. Another popular way of hunting brown hyena in Africa is to hunt from a blind over a bait pile of meat scraps. A well- positioned trail camera will provide information as to the time that the hyena is visiting the bait. A third way that brown hyena is hunted in Africa is by spotlighting at night Identifying the sex of the hyena is somewhat difficult as the genitalia of the female resemble that of the male. If there are other hyena around for comparison, then the larger brown hyena is probably the male. (Except for the spotted hyena where the female is larger than the male.) Watch for vultures in the air over a kill. Where vultures or marabou storks gather, usually hyenas are present. When hunting brown hyenas in Africa, trophy measurement is judged by skull size, so shoot the largest one you can locate. Any rifle that is used for plains game will do for hunting brown hyena in Africa. However, wounded hyenas can be extremely dangerous, so make double sure that the brown hyena is really dead. Ammunition is much cheaper than plastic surgery.