Hunting Topi in Africa

Hunting Topi in Africa

The topi (Damaliscus korrigum) is a highly social and fast running antelope.  At one time it was included in the common tsessebe family along with the Bangweulu tsessebe.  The topi is found in the savanna, semi-desert and flood plains of sub-Saharan Africa.  Predators hunting topi in Africa include lions and spotted hyena, with jackals being predators of young topis.  Topi resemble hartebeest except for darker coloration and lack of angled horns.  A mature male topi weighs between 150 to 350 pounds, and stands 39 to 50 inches at the shoulder.  Males are larger and darker than females.  When necessary, topi can run at more than 50 miles per hour.

The topi is widely distributed, but in patchy habitat in grasslands located in Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Tanzania, and other countries in Africa.  Topi prefer plains with grass that is medium length.  It is a fickle feeder and uses its elongated muzzle and flexible lips to forage for the freshest vegetation.  Topi population is good where the grass stays green into the dry season.

Herds of topi migrate from one feeding area to another.  The largest migration is in the Serengeti where they join wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle, forming huge herds.  Predators that prey on these migratory herds include lions, spotted hyenas, and jackals that go after new born topi.  Topi do tend to have a lower predation rate where there are other species present. 

Mature male topi are either solitary, or loosely associated with a herd of 7-15 females and their young.  Young males under 4 years old usually form bachelor herds.  Large migratory herds can consist of thousands of animals.

During the breeding season, the dominant bull is easily identified by his erect posture, with his head held high above his body.  Competition for dominance among rival topi males mostly consists of posturing and ritualistic sparring with the horns, which involves butting their heads together as both fighters lunge forward to their knees.  If alarmed, topi will actually jump over each other in their haste to escape.  While they move, they have an odd habit of bobbing their heads, almost like they are trying to get the rest of the herd up and moving.

Hunting topi in Africa will require a good, flat-shooting rifle with a quality expanding bullet.  A .270 with a 130 grain bullet is the minimum to use when hunting topi in Africa.  Because of the possibility of a long, over 200 yard, shot, a hunter would be better served by one of the .30 caliber magnums shooting a 180 grain bullet.  The best way to insure success when hunting topi in Africa is to stalk the herd at first light, get as close as you can, then take the shot.  Aim for the heart/lung shot.  Set the crosshairs just behind the front leg and about one-third up the body.  This will guarantee a good shot when hunting topi in Africa.