Judging Gemsbok/Oryx

MMAL

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Just got back from a safari in Namibia. Write up is here; http://www.africahunting.com/threads/namibia-westfalen-hunting-safaris.30727/

Look at this picture of the three gemsbok my son, daughter and I took.

IMG_0384.JPG


Free range hunting, guess which one is the cull for meat my son got to shoot?

Yep the one on the left is a cull female. You can clearly see the differences when place together like this. Not sure if the scoring system is right for gemsbok if the goal is to take mature animals. A little counter intuitive. Don't get me wrong, points matter but just seems backward to me on this great animal. the female was 40 1/2 / 40 with 6 1/2 inch bases. the males were 35/35 with 7 3/4 bases and 36/36, 7 3/4
 

CAustin

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Nice ones MMAL
 

Lee M

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I'll take that cull :)
 

James Cook

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No doubt the gemsbok was hardest for me to judge. They all seemed to be shooters! A group of gemsbok definitely made it easier, but...... On the walk to my downed gemsbok, the PH (a younger substitute for the day) said "a really nice cow" which surprised me a little since I thought we were hunting bulls. Well when we arrived that "really nice cow" had grown a set in the time it took us to walk about 250 yards. :)
 

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No doubt the gemsbok was hardest for me to judge. They all seemed to be shooters! A group of gemsbok definitely made it easier, but...... On the walk to my downed gemsbok, the PH (a younger substitute for the day) said "a really nice cow" which surprised me a little since I thought we were hunting bulls. Well when we arrived that "really nice cow" had grown a set in the time it took us to walk about 250 yards. :)
I'm sure you did not have any difficulty judging that one! :A Way To Go:

28991.jpg
 

Christiaan VH

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I enjoyed all the comments above. Gemsbok are stunning animals and I enjoy hunting them. I thought it would be great to share my dream Gemsbok bull with you. It was hunted during June 2014 in the Okahandja district Namibia. It surely was a trophy of a lifetime. It measured a wopping 45" with 9" bases. A bull this size was never seen or hunted on this farm before.

Katjapia Gemsbok.jpg
 
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BRICKBURN

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G Skinner

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Just got back from a safari in Namibia. Write up is here; http://www.africahunting.com/threads/namibia-westfalen-hunting-safaris.30727/

Look at this picture of the three gemsbok my son, daughter and I took.

View attachment 157843

Free range hunting, guess which one is the cull for meat my son got to shoot?

Yep the one on the left is a cull female. You can clearly see the differences when place together like this. Not sure if the scoring system is right for gemsbok if the goal is to take mature animals. A little counter intuitive. Don't get me wrong, points matter but just seems backward to me on this great animal. the female was 40 1/2 / 40 with 6 1/2 inch bases. the males were 35/35 with 7 3/4 bases and 36/36, 7 3/4
Is the number one Gemsbok /Oryx not a cow ?
Glen
 

Nick BOWKER HUNTING SOUTH AFRICA

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The Gemsbok

The Gemsbok is a large antelope native to the Kalahari, and adapted to live in this hot, dry habitat - a desert specialist.
With their long spear like horns and striking coloring species make it a favorite with trophy hunters.

Taxonomy notes:

The name "Gemsbok" in English is derived from Afrikaans Gemsbok, which itself is derived from Dutch name of the male chamois, Gemsbok, Although some superficial similarities in appearance (especially in the facial pattern) are noticed, the chamois and the oryx are not closely related. Previously regarded as a single species, Gemsbok (O. gazella) and Beisa Oryx (O. beisa), from East Africa, are now considered distinct species based on taxonomic results

1606471617807.png

Fig 1: About the Gemsbok name.

Description:

Gemsbok are light brownish-grey to tan in colour, with lighter patches toward the bottom rear of the rump. Their tails are long and black in colour. A blackish stripe extends from the chin down the lower edge of the neck, through the juncture of the shoulder and leg along the lower flank of each side to the blackish section of the rear leg. They have muscular necks and shoulders, and their legs have white 'socks' with a black patch on the front of both the front legs, and both genders have long, straight horns. They stand about 1.2m at the shoulder. The body length can vary from 190 to 240cm and the tail measures 45 to 90cm. Male Gemsbok can weigh between 180 and 240kg , while females weigh 100–210kg.


1606471748923.png

Fig 2: Growth and size charts.

Distribution:

Gemsbok or Oryx were traditionally found in the north-western and western parts of South Africa, which is the Northern Cape, Kalahari, North West and Western Cape.

In the present day, due to commercial game farming and through breeding and selling, they occur throughout South Africa on game farms. There are no Gemsbok in the Kruger National Park, but they can be seen in a number of other parks especially in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

1606472096317.png

Fig 3: Distribution in South Africa.


Interesting facts:

A low metabolism allows them to survive for much of the year without drinking. They get the moisture they need from their food, including desert melons that they dig up in times of drought. Feeding at night provides them with dew on the leaves with enough water to survive on.They use their horns in territorial combat and as lethal weapons against predators by lowering the horns to a vertical position, even capable of killing lions.


1606472214059.png

Fig 4: Interesting about the Gemsbok.


Habitats and Ecology:


The Gemsbok is desert dwelling animal that prefers deserts, scrubland and brushland. Southern gemsbok tend to inhabit open, arid areas, such as the Kalahari duneland and bush savannah while northern gemsbok inhabit open grasslands.

1606472336448.png

Fig 5: Natural Predators.

Behavior:

After the rain season, they usually gather into larger herds of up to 300 individuals. Herds are usually led by a territorial male who marks his territory with piles of dung pellets to warn off male intruders. If intruders do come on to the territory duel conflicts usually occur involving horn clashing and body bashing. As calves in the herd grow, they test each other in what looks like games, but in reality are tests of strength. As the hierarchy becomes established, the need to fight is reduced.


1606472457875.png

Fig 6: Gemsbok family group.

Types of herds:

They are semi-gregarious and occur in the following groups:

1. mixed groups of 540 individuals that include several territorial bulls as temporarily associates, adult non-lactating cows and sub adult cows

2. family groups of 4-12 animals consisting of adult cows and calves and, sometimes, a territorial bull

3. bachelor herds of 2-7 bulls of all ages

4. solitary territorial bulls.

1606472545435.png

Fig 7: Different types of herds.

Hunting Gemsbok:

There are various methods of hunting gemsbok in Africa. Generally, there will be a mix of driving, walking and spot and stalk.In an optimal world, a .300 Win. Mag or similar is probably perfect for gemsbok because it is a hard hitting and flat shooting calibre, but a .270 is plenty adequate for gemsbok. Be prepared to shoot out to 350 yards if needed.

1606472606849.png

Fig 8: Gemsbok shot placement.


The Gemsbok Trophy:

The gold standard for a very nice trophy gemsbok is one with 40 inch horns. Both bulls and cows have horns and are hunted, but a bull gemsbok at 40 inches is much more of a trophy than a female of the same length. The Safari Club International (SCI) scoring method of gemsbok favours length of horns over mass.


1606472719438.png

Fig 9: The Gemsbok trophy.

Gemsbok males and females make spectacular trophies. Both sexes carry long spear-like horns. Gemsbok can be extremely aggressive and dangerous when injured or threatened. This is one of the most popular antelope to hunt in Southern Africa.


1606472814370.png

Fig 10: Gemsbok Skull.


References:

Smithers, RHN, 1983. The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion, 1st edn. University of Pretoria, CTP

Book Printers, Cape Town.

Wikipedia.com,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/gemsbok


https://www.ewt.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/17.-Gemsbok-Oryx-gazella_LC.pdf

http://www.wildlifesouthafrica.com/blog/mammals-of-south-africa/gemsbok-fact-file

https://animalcorner.org/animals/gemsbok/

Focus on the Gemsbok (Oryx gazella)Deon Furstenburg, GEO WILD Consult (Pty) Ltd.
 

fourfive8

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Excellent article and read for anyone interested in Oryx. Thanks for posting.
 

Nick BOWKER HUNTING SOUTH AFRICA

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fourfive8

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I've been along on quite a few oryx hunts. The PHs usually do an excellent job of letting the hunter know the sex and quality/size. But some hunters do have pre-conceived ideas of what a trophy is supposed to look like and therefore what they prefer. Many, I think, are looking for perfectly matched horns. Some for a really wide flare and if not looking for a wide flare are usually inclined to try to take one if it pops up- no matter if it is spindly or of average length. I believe the "measure" of trophy quality varies widely among hunters and who am I to judge what someone "should" like, but sometimes it has left me wondering :)

I was once with a hunter who hadn't been around or seen too many oryx, if any, before the hunt. He passed on a bull, early in hunt, with the bonus of a relatively easy shot. An oryx I would not think twice about. The PH barked in a muffled tone at least twice, "Shoot! that is a blankety big blankety bull!", "Shoot!" The hunter didn't. I can still see that oryx trotting away at an angle disappearing into the scrub at about 100 yards. The right side horn was at least 43-44" and carried mass all the way out! - similar in mass to the monster pictured earlier in this thread. But, the kicker.... about 10" of the left horn was broken off, so I guess it didn't match the hunter's preconceived idea of a trophy. The spread angle was in the "normal" range and perfectly straight... very similar conformation to many cows. I guarantee that hunter passed up an oryx he would never ever come close to seeing again in a lifetime of hunting. IIRC he later did kill an average 36" bull, evenly matched, and he was perfectly happy. That was about 34 years ago and I can still pull up a vivid image of that oryx in my mind :)
 
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fourfive8

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Screen Shot 2021-01-05 at 8.45.24 PM.png


If I were to ever hunt oryx again, this bull, posted by Nick Bowker in the accompanying article, has everything I would look for. Good length, good mass and a lot of character. This bull just looks old- with a slightly under weight, big, raw-boned body that projects experience. Could be effects of food shortage but more likely tooth wear and age. I took the liberty of adding an indicator of age to the photo I've noticed in older bulls- the heavy eye brow feature. While this bull, IMO, will not go 40" he still has good length. Using the 15" length of face method, he looks to be a solid 37" if not a little more. He is just big all around.

Kalahari gemsbok  copy 2.jpg

This bull is not as old as the one above, but there was no doubt he was a good one at first glance.
 
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