Hunting Zebra in Africa

Hunting Zebra in Africa

The Burchell’s zebra (Equus burchelli) is a southern subspecies of the plains zebra.  It differentiates from that zebra by a number of features, most prominent being shadow stripes which are overlaid on the white stripes on the African zebra’s hindquarters.  The dewlap that is common on other zebras is missing.  The Burchell’s zebra stands around 52 inches at the shoulder and stallions will weigh between 550 to 600 pounds.  Each Burchell’s zebra has a unique stripe pattern.  When seen at a distance the stripes run together and the animal appears light brown.

The Burchell’s zebra have the longest migration pattern of any land animal in Africa.  They travel from the Chobe River in Namibia to Nxai Pan National Park in Botswana - a distance of 160 miles each way.  The Burchell’s zebra’s habitat is open woodlands and grass-filled savannah close to water.  Burchell’s zebras have been introduced onto many game farms in southern Africa, and are the most common zebra taken when hunting zebra in Africa.

The zebra has to drink regularly while grazing.  Usually the Burchell’s zebras travel in small herds of around ten animals consisting of the stallion and a number of mares and foals.  Excess males are booted out of the herd and form bachelor herds.  A single 12-15 pound foal is born between November and January after a gestation period of approximately one year.  Foals are weaned at eleven months. 

Stallions and mares are almost the same size, so determining sex can be difficult.  Listen to your PH as he’s had a lot of experience doing this.  More than one hunter has shot a stallion only to see a sex change before reaching the animal. 

The Burchell’s zebra’s major predators include lions, leopard, wild dogs, cheetah and hyenas.  During migration, Nile crocodiles will hunt  zebras during river crossings.  Sometimes baboons will take a foal, however adults are safe from them.  The Burchell’s zebra is a very formidable fighter with a nasty bite and a kick that can kill predators.  They will stand their ground with smaller predators, but will try to outrun the larger ones.

Burchell’s zebra herds mix with other species such as wildebeests.  They act as early warning devices for the highly skittish wildebeests. At night the Burchell’s zebra will relocate to open grassy areas where visibility is good.  While the herd sleeps, one zebra will be on guard, barking or snorting if danger is detected

Zebra Hunting Methods

Hunting  zebra in Africa will require patience and skill as they have incredible eyesight and will run if they sense danger.  Their eyesight is excellent and all of the herd will be watching their surroundings.  Approaching a herd of Burchell’s zebras without being seen requires that the hunter only moves when there are no eyes on him.  Even then, hunting zebra in Africa means you have to outthink and outwit them.  As difficult as sex determination is, there are some hints as to which one is the stallion.  When grazing, it will stay a ways away from the herd.  When moving, the mare will lead and the Burchell’s zebra stallion will take up rear guard.

Should the herd be spooked and run, watch for the stallion to run for a bit, then stop and look back.  There will be a few seconds when a shot can be made.  Depending on what kind of trophy is preferred, different types Burchell’s zebras should be hunted.  The herd stallion’s hide will show battle scars and be worn.  The young stallion or mare will make a better rug.

Zebra Firearms Recomendations

As with other large plains game, the .30 caliber guns with good bullets of 170-200 grains work well.  However, there’s been a number of Burchell’s zebras hunted with the.30s that decided to run instead of go down.  They gave the hunter a number of hours to appreciate the African scenery while tracking the wounded animal.  A better choice for hunting zebra in Africa would be the trusty .375 with 270 or 300 grain bullets