Hunting Red Duiker in Africa

Hunting Red Duiker in Africa

So, you have decided to hunt red duiker in Africa. The red duiker family consists of the Natal and Harvey's red duiker, Peter's duiker and Weyn's duiker. The Natal red duiker (Cephalophus natalensis), is also known as the Natal duiker.  Its territory includes South Africa and Mozambique, where it lives in forests and shrub lands.  Red forest duikers are a bit smaller than the common or grey duiker, but a bit larger than the blue duiker.  The red duiker stands 16 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs roughly 34 pounds.

Both male and female Natal red duikers have horns.  The male’s horns are twice as long as the female’s.  Occasionally the males will fight each other using their horns which can inflict serious wounds.  They forage on leaves, fruits, insects, small mammals, and flowers.  Often they can be found foraging under fruit trees where monkeys are feeding.  Monkeys tend to be a bit sloppy in their eating habits, and this insures that there will be fruit hitting the ground.

Leopards and wild dogs will hunt red duikers in Africa.   Eagles can kill the lambs.  Like other duikers, the red duiker is quite shy and will leap into the bush at the first sign of danger.  Duiker = diver in Africaans - so named for the way the duiker “dives” into the brush at the slightest disturbance.  They are active in the morning and evening, sometimes carrying on through the daylight hours if the weather is cool.  Natal duikers can become nocturnal if humans push into their territory.

In areas where the red duikers are populous they can be seen in open areas of the forest, having lost some of their shyness by being around large numbers of similar antelope.  Red duikers are normally solitary antelopes except during breeding season when the males pair up with the females. In areas with an abundance of food, waterholes, or salt licks, large groups of red duikers will be seen together.  This isn’t herd bonding, just a lot of animals feeding or drinking.

Red duikers are not seasonal breeders.  They can breed any month of the year.  Gestation is 210 days with a single lamb being born.  The lamb will stay with the ewe for six to eight months then be driven out to forage on its own.  Male duikers don’t contribute to their offspring’s upbringing.  However they will respond to a lamb’s cry of distress.

Natal red duiker habitat in South Africa is in the eastern coastal forests in KwaZulu-Natal as far south as Umzumbe and there is some population on the Mpumalanga Escarpment.  Its conservation status is listed as “Least Concern” due to its high population.  The biggest threat to the red duiker is trapping for bushmeat by local villagers.  Agriculture and settlement have encroached on the red duiker’s habitat, reducing its range.  In some southern parts of South Africa, the red duiker is gone because of increases in farming and reduction in wild land.

You hunt red duiker in Africa during the morning hours or late afternoon.  Look for activity or spoor along roads or open areas where the duiker is known to be feeding.  It’s a member of the Tiny Ten Antelopes of Africa and occurs in large numbers in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa.  Hunters use animal calls to hunt the red duiker in Africa.  The best time of the year to hunt red duiker in Africa are the months March through November. 

The best caliber rifle for hunting red duiker in Africa is the .243 Winchester.  High velocity expanding bullets will cause hide damage.  Shots must be quick due to the red duiker’s small size and rapid disappearance tricks.  Range will be 30 to 45 yards, so a shotgun would work better.