This is a discussion on Judging Gemsbok/Oryx within the Judging Trophies forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; Reading the post on the buffs was great. They are not on my bag (this time), so I thought I'd ...
03-07-2009, 08:58 AM #1
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Reading the post on the buffs was great. They are not on my bag (this time), so I thought I'd ask about gemsbok/oryx. I hear that the females sometimes have longer horns than the males. What makes a good trophy and what makes an exceptional trophy?
I'm really enjoying this site! Thank you for providing it and the infromation.Karamojo Bill When I leave this world, I want to come skidding through the Pearly Gates & hear God say, "Whoa, boy! That was a heck of a ride!"
03-07-2009, 09:22 AM #2
Well I have shot a few................so here goes. I am sure the PH members who hunt them on a regular basis will give you the definitive.
It seems that 40 inches is the holly grail for horn length on gemsbok, but that is not always possible and from what I have seen the average horn length does vary somewhat from area to area. The bulls do broom their horns as they get older and thus the horn length on bulls past their prime is going to average shorter than the younger lads.
For me personally, I like the old bulls as the mass more than makes up for a few less inches in length. They are a better 'trophy' in my books.Skyline Adventures
03-07-2009, 10:53 AM #3
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i'VE SHOT A FEW & GREATLY PREFER A HEAVY 36+ BULL TO A 40 COW ANY DAY!!!!
03-08-2009, 12:05 AM #4
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Bull horn lenght can sometimes be deceiving because of the 'mass', they might look short but will tape out good.I always trie to judge them when the head is down to drink,a good animal should have the horns about 4-6 inches over the gack in that position.I think the 'best, area is ultimately the Kalahari.
03-08-2009, 07:36 PM #5
Hunting Gemsbok / Oryx
Skyline is right, anything over 40 inches (101.6 cm - one meter) for a Gemsbok / Oryx bull is exceptional. In terms of trophy size, when it comes to mature Gemsbok / Oryx bulls, I would say that horns above 35.5 inches (90cm) make for an amazing trophy, horns above 31.5 inches (80cm) make for a great trophy, horns above 27.6 inches (70cm) make for a good trophy and horns below 27.6 inches (70cm) make for a beautiful trophy and great memories!
When discussing Gemsbok / Oryx horn measurement here, I refer to horn length for a Gemsbok / Oryx in it's simplest form which is taking the measurement of the longest horn from the base along the front of the horn to the tip only. This, of course, is a basic method but for a primer on How To Measure Your Trophies you can read AfricaHunting.com article by clicking here.
The longer the horns of the bull and the more spread apart the ridges are the more the Gemsbok / Oryx is in it's prime size wise. The more the ridges are the close together and the shorter the horns are the older the Gemsbok / Oryx is. Really old Gemsbok / Oryx will have the ridges gather up so much that they fuse together in one solid mass. Gemsbok / Oryx horns on the way down will often gain mass at the top and usually one horn is shorter than the other.
I included a few Gemsbok trophy photos all of which came from my place in Namibia, Ozondjahe Hunting Safaris. I included numbers for each picture if anyone wanted to comment or refer to an image... Length measurement only taken from the longest horn.
01. Gemsbuk / Oryx Male 39.5 inches exceptional trophy
02. Gemsbuk / Oryx Male 36.5 inches a truly beautiful trophy
though has not reached his prime yet
03. Gemsbuk / Oryx Male 36 inches a perfect mature bull with
thickness through the length of the horns and has been loosing
horn length, the perfect if you want it all, an old, thick, long
04. Gemsbuk / Oryx Male30 inches a great old bull, a trophy
any hunter should admire and respect
Females Gemsbok / Oryx will usually have thinner horns all the way from the base to the top. Female horns have a tendency to get a bit wavy towards the top. They are hunted very seldomly and usually only if their horns are exceptionally long.
05. Gemsbuk / Oryx Female over 41 inches
Every Professional Hunters will have his own method of preference when it comes to gaging Gemsbok / Oryx horn length... Here are a few.
Face length about 15 inches (38.1 cm), then estimate horn length based upon the face as a reference.
Ear length in relaxed position about 6 to 7 inches (15.24 to 17.78 cm), then estimate horn length based upon the ear as a reference.
06. Horn size estimate according to 15 inch face 30 inches
While grazing, horns extending above the back line with the head down.
07. Horn size estimate according to 15 inch face 37 inches (if the horns
were just reaching the top of the shoulder it would make 30 inches)
While drinking at a waterhole on firm soil, horns level with the back line with the head down. If the front hoofs are in the water or sunk in the mud, this can completely throw off this method.
08. Horn size estimate according to 15 inch face 27.5 inches
(closer Gemsbok) and 35 inches (further Gemsbok)
While head is back, horns reaches the base of the tail.
09. Horn size estimate according to 15 inch face 35 inches
Using Rowland Ward Methods Of Measurement for species with unbranched and uncurled horns (Method 7) does require taking the spread measurement from horn to horn into account. However, using Safari Club International Methods Of Measurement for most animals with simple horns (Method 1) does NOT require taking the spread measurement into account.
Last edited by Ozondjahe Hunting Safaris; 03-08-2009 at 10:28 PM.
03-09-2009, 06:44 AM #6
Very informative post Jerome!Skyline Adventures
03-09-2009, 08:59 AM #7
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Yes i agree with Kelly... this is very informative. A while back i saw an article in the Africa Outfitter magazine with an article about judging gemsbok horns... i will see if i can find it and will put it in... there are also good other articles in there about different species and judging their horn lengths, and i will add these here as well if i can find them.Oliver Wettstein
03-09-2009, 10:56 AM #8
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Yes its a fact females (cow) do have longer and in general thinner horns. Males (bulls) tend to have shorter thicker horns.
At our Safari in the Northern Cape Province of SA is arid and ideal for gemsbuck we shoot 41 inch and plus easily. We have shot some massive ones there i recon if we added it to the SCI we would have won ..anyway passed Roland wards everyday.
03-09-2009, 01:02 PM #9
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THAT was more than I could ever ask for as far a as an answer to my question! I really appreciate the pictures. Who ever said a "Picture is worth 1000 words" was right...and the pictures with the words are invaluable!
I guess Id rather have an old boy that's broomed off a bit than make ANY record book. I have no axe to grid & I'm going to enjoy every minute and every trophy.
Thanks again,Karamojo Bill When I leave this world, I want to come skidding through the Pearly Gates & hear God say, "Whoa, boy! That was a heck of a ride!"
Great post on judging oryx
Wow, thanks Jerome for the super explanation and pictures for those of us who are less familiar with these beautiful animals, it was truly informative! I really love this site everyone posting here just seem like passionate and ethical hunters, such a good vibe going on in this community.
Karamojo Bill, you have just the right attitude and one that I share, I'm just going to soak up every moment and enjoy the experience on every level....can't wait!!!
03-17-2009, 05:18 PM #11
The Gemsbok is the most difficult animal that I know of for the paying client to judge..I have shot many Gemsbok and I still am not totally confident in my ability to judge them..It is the only animal that I totally refer to my PH as to shoot or not to shoot. I know all the tell tale signs to look for, I know the cows have longer horns and bulls have thicker shorter horns, but unless the target animal I'm looking at is obviously larger than I have ever seen I refer to the PH...always a good idea anyway, as the have seen them on a daily bases since their childhood.
03-17-2009, 08:07 PM #12
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The one very real, but seldom manifested, danger in oryx/gemsbuck trophy in-field evaluation is if you encounter a solitary young calf. The body / horns proportions of a very yound calf is very similar to that of an adult.
The following has happened to very a experienced gemsbuck hunter client - that was hunting on his own at the time. He saw, in grassveld with quite a number of dense karee trees, a herd with some nice looking bulls. Then he stalked, closer keeping 'behind' trees so that the herd would not see him. On peeking around a tree he saw, at some distance, but within shooting range for such an experienced hunter and good shot as he was, one single animal about where he expected the herd to be. Using face-lenght as 15" as guide he estimated that it would be a real trophy-of-a-alifetime and took the shot. As he walked closer the distance to the animal seemed to get shorter to quick, until he stood next to a calf of less than one year old.
Be very careful of shooting at a single animal - if the same calf was in company of adults even a total beginner would have seen the size difference. But one lone animal, with nothing but grass and trees in the background to give an idea of size can be very confusing. It happens quite often, even to very experienced hunters!
In good hunting.
I do agree with Ray that it is always a good idea to refer to the PH, but it's nice to learn a few things before going about the animals that you plan on hunting. I'm sure it takes seeing a lot of oryx, or any animal for that matter, to become that guy who can judge them in the blink of an eye, but it's fun to learn and just adds to the whole building of anticipation. I want to see more posts like this one!
05-02-2009, 02:32 AM #14
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I agree wth you guys & gals that the Gemsbuck is very difficult to judge! They all seem to be huge & as they mix & mingle it is very difficult to keep track of them. I've relied on my ph both times for judging the Gemsbuck I shot. First one was a 33" male & the second one was a 41" female the land owner wanted shot!! Both are exceptional trophies in my book & I had no qualms on shooting the female as that is what he wanted! They both required plenty of shoe leather & made for an exceptional hunt!!!!
06-07-2009, 03:24 PM #15
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I found it very hard to tell what was a good Gemsbok. Absolutely depended on the PH.
They all look good to me!
The one the PH suggested.
06-07-2009, 07:01 PM #16
I think they are awesome creatures. I can't judge them for anything. The one thing i always think about with Gemsbuck is that they always look big at home when not around others. And, my favorite saying regarding african trophies....
"I bet he'll be the biggest in your neighborhood".Tom
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