Hunting Striped Hyena in Africa

Hunting Striped Hyena in Africa

The striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena) is a species native to north and east Africa, along with populations in India and Asia.  The global population is thought to be near 10,000 animals, but due to human interference, habitat loss and humans hunting striped hyena in Africa, the animal could be facing a ten percent drop over the next few years.  The striped hyena is the smallest hyena with the mature male weighing between 50 pounds to 120 pounds, and standing 24 to 30 inches at the shoulder.  Its senses of smell and hearing are weak, but it has excellent eyesight.

As with other hyenas, the striped hyena has extremely powerful jaw muscles and can crack an antelope thigh bone easily.  It is a nocturnal hunter, leaving its den only when the sun is fully set.  It’s primarily a scavenger, hunting dead animals, and it’s not terribly concerned about the state of decomposition.  Sometimes it will eat entire bones, but normally it will crush them into small pieces, and then consume them.  About the only animal it won’t eat is the vulture, probably due to professional courtesy – one scavenger to another.

Its distribution in Africa is northern Africa from Morocco and Senegal to Egypt and then south through Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, and finally into central Tanzania.  The best place to go hunting striped hyena in Africa is northern Tanzania. 

The striped hyena lives in dens.  Sometimes it will dig its own, but it will use caves, overhanging rocks, dirt channels and burrows dug and abandoned by warthogs, aardvarks, and other animals.  The easiest way to detect a hyena’s den is by the animal bones around the entrance.  The hyena hides in deep cover during the day to avoid periods of extreme temperature, or to keep out of the sight of predators. 

The striped hyena will attack any animal it thinks it can subdue.  It attacks by sinking its teeth into the groin area and pulling out the internal organs, causing the prey to die.  The striped hyena will scavenge leopard, cheetah, and other cat’s kills.  It can win in one-on-one encounters with cheetahs and leopards, but avoids lions. 

Each African country has different regulations when it comes to hunting striped hyena.  For example: Burkina Faso only allows hunting striped hyenas outside national parks and to control livestock depredation.  Cameroon offers no protection for hunting striped hyena.  In Tanzania, striped hyenas can be hunted.  Ethiopia has a strict protocol concerning hunting striped hyena.  A special permit must be purchased in some countries when hunting striped hyena in Africa.

There are a number of methods that can be used for hunting striped hyena in Africa.  Spotting with optics; tracking to the den, and stalking can result in success.  During the day, scan for vultures in the sky; where there’s flying scavengers, the hyena will be close by.  Or, use bait and build a blind as if you were hunting a cat.  In countries where it’s legal, hunting striped hyenas in Africa at night using spotlights can be very successful with this nocturnal animal.

Identifying striped hyena gender can be quite difficult.  Usually the largest animal is male.  However, it’s quite easy to shoot a female.  Hunting striped hyena in Africa for the best trophy is judged by skull measurements.  Aim for the biggest head you can find.