Hunting Sharpe's Grysbok in Africa

Hunting Sharpe's Grysbok in Africa

The Sharpe’s grysbok (Raphicerus sharpei) is a small secretive antelope that lives a solitary existence.  Except when breeding or giving birth it stays by itself and lives in heavy bush.  When hunting Sharpe’s grysbok in Africa you will hunt it it in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, or Tanzania.

The Sharpe's grysbok stands about 20 inches tall, and weighs between 15 pounds to 25 pounds.  It’s slightly smaller than a Cape grysbok, but just about the size of a gray duiker.  The males have short, stubby horns which are widely spaced.  Females don’t have horns.  Grysbok are very timid.  They walk around slowly with their head down as if they are crouching in preparation to run.  Principally a nocturnal animal, it can be spotted in the early morning, or late afternoon walking along roads.  If you are hunting Sharp’s grysbok in Africa, a good area to look for one is along river banks, or in small clearings.  The Sharpe’s grysbok isn’t always in the bush, but can be found in more open savanna land and along the edge of forests.  It also tends to inhabit bushes at the foot of rocky hills where its coloration blends in well.

The Sharpe’s grysbok has a large territorial range that they mark with dung middens.  They are rarely seen, though, due to their timidity.  They will run away at the first sign of danger.  They will run quite a distance before stopping.  Unlike the steenbok, they don’t run a short distance and stop to look back.  This makes hunting Sharpe’s grysbok in Africa more difficult.  They are known to hide in Aardvark burrows when frightened. 

They are browsers feeding on grass and young shoots of shrubs and bush, but they will also eat fruit and flowers when available.  Thirty percent of their diet consists of grass.  To a farmer’s dismay, they are small enough to slip through or under fences and will consume crops, fruit and vines.  For this reason, Sharpe's grysbok are sometimes hunted as pests.  Their teeth and jaws are capable of chewing grass during the dry season when the food is tougher.

Sharpe's grysbok AlertedHead close-up of Sharpe's GrysbokSharpe's Grysbok

Male and female Sharpe’s grysbok only get together during mating.  Mating can take place any time of the year, but normally occurs so the lamb will be born between September and December.  The male plays no role in raising the lamb.  Gestation is typically seven months with one lamb born.  The mother will wean the lamb after three months.  By then, the lamb is almost fully grown and will go off to locate a territory of its own.  Mating and raising the young are the only times grysbok are not alone.  Occasionally, if food and conditions are good, the female can give birth to two lambs in one year’s time.

Lions, leopards, hyenas, and wild dogs prey on Sharpe’s grysboks.  It relies on speed and dodging to outrun or confuse the predator.  When running from danger, the grysbok will use other animal’s holes to hide in.

The best firearm for hunting Sharpe’s grysbok in Africa is a shotgun shooting either #6 or #7 lead shot, or #5 or #6 steel shot.  Range will have to be less than 40 yards which means the stalk will have to be as close to dead quiet as possible.  Where legal, Sharpe’s grysbok can be hunted at night using spotlights.  If night hunting isn’t allowed, then the best time for hunting Sharpe’s grysbok in Africa is early morning right at dawn, or late afternoon just before the end of shooting light.  Usually, these animals are hunted via opportunity while on a plains game hunt.  Then, whatever rifle the hunter is carrying will be used.