Hunting Cape Grysbok in Africa

Hunting Cape Grysbok in Africa

The Cape grysbok (Raphicerus melanotis) is a small antelope found in the Eastern and Western Cape areas of South Africa.   Despite being fairly common in parts of South Africa, this animal is seldom seen when you are hunting Cape grysbok in Africa.  The grysbok is primarily nocturnal and relies on an acute sense of smell, hearing, and touch to navigate the dense bush that it inhabits.  It weighs near 20 pounds and stands 21 inches at the shoulder.  Females are slightly larger than males.  Only males possess a pair of very upright horns; females never grow horns. 

During the day it rests out of sight in the bush, only being active during early morning hours or around sunset, but mostly moves and feeds at night.  When danger threatens, the Cape grysbok will freeze under a bush and will not flee until it’s almost stepped on.  When it runs from danger, it will shift direction in an erratic run that is very difficult for a predator to follow.  The Cape grysbok is a solitary animal except during mating.  It relies entirely on its own ability to avoid predators, and survives on its own cunning.

The Cape grysbok is both a browser and grazer, preferring grass, but will feed on young shoots and fruit.  It will eat cultivated farm crops when it can get through fences.  It will browse orchards and vineyards, causing problems for the farmer by damaging the plants and vines.  The Cape grysbok will drink water if it is accessible, but can, and does, go without drinking for its entire life.  The grasses and shoots provide all the liquid the grysbok needs to survive.  In the Cape Peninsula area, the Cape grysbok is known to live in urban areas close to human populations.

The Cape grysbok is thought to be territorial; sightings are mostly of the same animal.  Males will mark out their territory and defend it against other Cape grysbok by fighting with their horns.  Although breeding can take place anytime during the year, most Cape grysbok lambs are born between September and December after a seven month gestation period.  With sufficient food and good weather, the female grysbok can give birth to two lambs a year.  After three months the young grysbok is weaned and has to forage on its own.  The young males won’t stay in the area, but will relocate to their own new territory. Cape Grysbok are solitary animals, and mating and weaning are the only times that Cape grysbok are not alone.

Predators like caracal, leopard, hyena and wild dog packs all prey on Cape grysbok.  When the grysbok is scared or in danger, it will fluff out its fur on its hips to look larger.  While the Cape grysbok lives in a somewhat restricted area, and habit loss has resulted in localized declines in populations overall, there are no current major threats to this animal.  The Cape grysbok can be found in seven national parks and is protected on formal conservation lands  Its conservation status is stated as Least Concern by the IUCN.

The primary way that Cape grysbok are hunted is by spotlighting at night.  Another good method for hunting Cape grysbok in Africa is by walking and stalking in a known habitat where Cape grysbok spoor has been found.  Because of their nocturnal life style, the best time for hunting Cape grysbok in Africa is very early sunrise, or right at dusk.  Don’t go by body size because the female is larger.  Look for the horns on the male.  Anything over 1.5 inches is an excellent trophy.  Any centerfire rifle that is legal will be sufficient for hunting Cape grysbok in Africa.