Hunting Lesser Kudu in Africa

Hunting Lesser Kudu in Africa

The lesser kudu (Tragelaphus imberbis) is an antelope found in east Africa.  When you go hunting lesser kudu in Africa, you will find them in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.  Some of these countries, like Kenya, and Somalia, are totally off limits for hunting at this time.  Often compared to the greater kudu, the lesser kudu is about one-third of its size.  The male lesser kudu weighs between 120 to 210 pounds, stands 38-41 inches at the shoulder and has horns that can reach 27-30 inches.  The world record is in excess of 36 inches.  The female weighs between 120 to 155 pounds, stands 35-40 inches at the shoulder and has no horns.

The lesser kudu is mainly active at night and the early morning hours.  It seeks shelter in bushes and trees for the balance of the day.  The lesser kudu feeds on vegetation from shrubs and shoots, twigs, and foliage from trees.  The lesser kudu is not territorial and spends a lot of time wandering in search of food or water.  The males aren’t prone to fighting.  The adult male lesser kudu prefers to lead a solitary existence, while female lesser kudus are gregarious.  The family group consists of mixed sex troops of two to six individuals, although some groups of 25 lesser kudus have been seen.  The old lesser kudu bulls tend to stay by themselves. 

When alarmed the lesser kudu responds with a sharp bark.  It runs with its tail held up and the white underside is clearly visible.  This may serve as a visual warning for other members of the troop.  The predators that you will find hunting lesser kudu in Africa include: lion, leopard, and Cape hunting dog packs.  The total population of lesser kudu has been estimated to be between 100,000 and 120,000 animals.  Because the lesser kudu is nocturnal and extremely shy, getting an accurate animal count has been difficult.  Over one-third of the lesser kudu population exists in protected areas and parks.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) rates the lesser kudu as “Near Threatened”, one step above “Least Concern”.  It is not listed by CITIES.

Lesser kudu do not have a breeding season, so calves can be born in any month of the year.  Gestation period is eight months; one calf is born.  The mother will hide the calf a short distance from her until it is capable of running.  The calf is weaned after six months.  Females become sexually mature at an age of about fifteen months; males about the same time, however they usually don’t breed until age four or five.  During the rutting period, a dominant bull will gather up a small herd of females for breeding.  The life span of the lesser kudu is up to fifteen years.  When the rut ends, the bull will either join a small group of other bulls, or remain solitary.

Hunting lesser kudu in Africa can be accomplished by tracking or stalking.  The best time to go hunting lesser kudu in Africa is in the early morning or late evening before dark.  They can be located by glassing them on hillsides, or by glassing across open plains.   The lesser kudu can be a curious antelope and sometimes you may be fortunate enough when hunting lesser kudu in Africa that you can take a shot when they stand still and stare at you.  Rifle choice is anything in the .270-.300 range.  Well-constructed bullets are a necessity when hunting lesser kudu in Africa.  Trophy size is measured from the base of the horns along the spiral ridge to the tip, and then adding in the circumference of the bases