Aptly named and identified by the white blaze on its forehead called a “Bles” in Afrikaans. This medium-sized, endemic, once prolific species was nearly hunted into extinction. Through the country’s great conservation efforts it has become one of South Africa’s most common Highveld grassland species covering large portions of the central plateau.
Quality trophies are available wherever it is hunted and makes for a long shot across the open plains of the Eastern Cape, North West and Free State Provinces. Both males and females have horns and they can be hunted throughout the day. Being a water-dependent species, they can be ambushed by bowhunters from a waterside blind.
Blesbuck do not jump fences and are contained by a normal stock fence thus making them a desirable game farming species. Formerly only Common and White Blesbok were available for hunting. Nowadays numerous other colour variants of Blesbok are available for hunting.
Owing to their abundant numbers and affordable prices they are a sought after species by both international trophy and local meat hunters.
Classified as a species of least concern by the IUCN, no special hunting permits are required.
Highveld plains and open grasslands is Blesbuck’s preferred habitat, although on game farms they can thrive in other landscapes, including bushveld. They live in family or bachelor groups. The rut, when the oldest and biggest males protect their territory and try to assemble a harem of females, is perhaps the best time for stalking Common Blesbuck. Aside from the breeding activities, it takes a trained eye to spot a true trophy among its large herds. Both rams and ewes carry horns, and while the rams are bigger and their horns are longer, the difference is not as dramatic as in some other species. The hardest part of the hunt is the approach, across an open plain, and with many eyes and ears that can detect danger. Bowhunters may prefer to hunt Common Blesbuck from a blind set over a waterhole, as these grazers need to drink on a daily basis.
WHEN TO HUNT COMMON BLESBUCK IN SOUTH AFRICA
By far the best time to hunt Common Blesbuck is the rut, when bigger dominant rams do their display and territory protection routine. Most rutting activity takes place from March to May. However, any time that’s good for a plains game hunt is good for Common Blesbuck hunting, and in South Africa you can hunt this species all year round.
WHAT IS THE COST TO HUNT COMMON BLESBUCK IN SOUTH AFRICA?
Common Blesbuck is one of the most affordable African trophies. It is included in many ‘plains game package hunts’, along with other animals. Such packages start from as low as $1,500, but may cost up to $20,000, depending on the number and quality of trophies, hunting days, and extras. Shooting fee for Common Blesbuck is usually priced in the $250-400 range.