Hunting Suni in Africa

Hunting Suni in Africa

The suni (Neotragus moschatus) is a very small species of antelope that occurs in southeast Africa, and lives in dense brush.  It is distributed on the coastal plain  from Tanzania southwards through Mozambique to North-eastern South Africa.  The male suni weighs 10-12 pounds, and stands 12 to 17 inches at the shoulder.  Females are a bit larger.  Only male suni carry horns that grow from three to five inches in length.  Suni are a member of the Tiny Ten Antelopes of Africa. Due to their limited range, hunting suni in Africa will require a destination hunt.  Suni are primarily active at dusk and into the night.  They will spend the day in a shaded protected area sleeping and resting.

Suni feed on leaves, fruit, fungus, and flowers.  They require no water, getting what they need from the plants they eat.  Their family group consists of pairs or small groups of a dominant male and a few females.  The suni has such excellent camouflage that they are just about impossible to see in their preferred habitat, which is dry country with dense, tangled underbrush.  Each male generally associates with one female, even though other females may share his territory.  The suni has a high pitched barking cry which is used when danger is sensed; it’s also capable of issuing a whistling snort.  When it chases a female, it will bleat like a goat.

The female suni becomes sexually mature in one to one and one half years.  Most births occur from November to March after a six month gestation period.  One lamb is born and the mother hides it for at least one week; visiting it two or three times per day for feeding.  The lamb is weaned from its mother after two months.  Life span is ten years.  The suni antelope has many predators including; lions, snakes, eagles and other carnivores.  When threatened, the suni will freeze, counting on its camouflage to elude a predator.  If the danger gets too close, the suni will spring up and run into the deep underbrush.  Usually it will stop and look back after it has gone a short distance.  If you are hunting suni in Africa, this is the time to take a shot, because the suni will disappear after just a few short seconds.

The suni is classified as a low risk, conservation dependent species by the IUCN.  It appears somewhat similar to the blue duiker, but its fur coloration is much redder than the dull brown of the duiker. 

Hunting suni in Africa is best along game trails, which they tend to frequent. This habit makes them fairly easy to trap, and more are taken in this way than fall victim to predators.  When hunting suni in Africa, a hunter can take advantage of the suni’s habit of freezing for quite a while, before it finally goes bounding off.  If hunting suni in Africa, the best choice of firearm would be a shotgun.  There will only be a fleeting glimpse of this little antelope as it heads for the thick stuff.  As far as aim point with the shotgun, pick whatever part of the suni shows.  If a rifle hunt is planned, the shot will have to be fast, and if the chance occurs, aim for the area behind the shoulder.