Blue Wildebeest, a.k.a. Common Wildebeest, Brindled Gnu and “the poor mans Buffalo” is the classic quarry of “plains game” hunting. Blue Wildebeest inhabits the savannah, and by far the most popular way of hunting it is the traditional spot-and-stalk. This is a hunt where the level of difficulty increases with each step.
Herds of Blue Wildebeest are the staple food for many creatures, from lions and crocodiles to hunters-gatherers and more ‘civilized’ humans as well, being the classic quarry of “plains game” hunting.
The skin is the source for high-quality leather, and the tail of the black wildebeest, long and flowing, is used for traditional fly-whisks.
It’s not hunting, however, that is the biggest threat for the species, but human encroachment. Fences across migration routes spell big problems, and habitat fragmentation works against big herds (it’s been proven that calf survival rates in Wildebeest are positively correlated to the size of the herd).
Hunting concessions play an important part in conservation of the species, both by protecting habitat and by keeping a reserve stock on game ranches. But the biggest allure of Blue Wildebeest hunting is the opportunity to see these pictures from TV and magazines come alive before your own eyes!
Blue Wildebeest inhabits the savannah, and by far the most popular way of hunting it is the traditional spot-and-stalk. This is a hunt where the level of difficulty increases with each step. The first part, when the hunter and the PH cruising the area in a vehicle or on foot, and stop to glass for a herd with a good bull in it, may be easy enough. Finding a small-sized herd with a good bull in it could be harder. Fooling a thousand eyes and ears in the herd to stalk in range is also a challenge, and so is shooting. Wildebeest’s hump on the shoulder makes unaccustomed hunters miss high, and this antelope did not deserve the nickname of “a poor man’s buffalo” for nothing: Gnu is very hard to bring down. Most PHs advise a rifle of the 7 mm – .300 Magnum class for it.
WHEN TO HUNT BLUE WILDEBEEST
Typically for Africa, Blue Wildebeest hunting opportunities exist pretty much year round. December to February, however, are usually too hot for Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and the northern part of South Africa. Like with many other ungulates, the best time for hunting is the rut, when bulls display themselves on their small mating territories and fight with other bulls for them. The rut usually happens in May to July.
WHAT IS THE COST TO HUNT BLACK WILDEBEEST IN SOUTH AFRICA?
The most affordable opportunities to hunt Blue Wildebeest are cull hunts, that can be found at under $1,000. Trophy fees for a Blue Wildebeest run at about $1,000-$1,200, and with daily rates added the price will bottom-line at $1,500-2,000. However, most hunters don’t like the idea of going all the way to Africa to hunt just one antelope. With a few other animals added, a typical “plains game package” costs around $3,000-$5,000. The most expensive Blue Wildebeest hunts are usually combination hunts that also include a dangerous game species or a rare and expensive color variant.