Plains Game Species Selection for a First Timer

Spear Safaris

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If Kudu and Impala are your priorities, then find a region where they are in abundance, Like Limpopo. Then find your outfitter and let him advise you on what else is good or great in His Kudu area and go from there. I am happy to email you some info if you can establish contact with me. info@spearsafaris.com
 

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Great advise and comments above I agree with Marius , Bushbuck is an exciting hunt as well as Eland and the Zebra is very tasty . I have been to Namibia and I didn't ask a lot of questions because I WAS GOING TO AFRICA TO HUNT, lol.
It was a desert hunt and they are done differently than anywhere else as the bakkies are stripped down of all the extra weight so they don't sink in the sand and all shots were from the bakkie. I took 375 H&H as what I was told to bring for the Eland and well I want to think I'm a good shot but let me tell you shooting at Springbok running at 430 yds with it can be done if one brings extra ammo . But keep that in mind if doing a desert hunt as that's how its done out there as you can see very long distances and when we saw game it was on the move I took 12 animals on that hunt and I believe 3 were standing still.
 

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I've been doing a bit of research for our first safari, hopefully to transpire in 2020 or 2021. I'm looking at countries, species lists, outfitters, etc. Thus far, I've got Namibia in the #1 slot with RSA holding #2. Either one would be a plains game hunt - probably around 5 species.

My question is, without having the benefit of experience, what's a good way to learn more about the plains-type species in these areas? I'm thinking about behavior, habitat, methods for hunting them, etc. For instance, how do I know whether eland or zebra should be on my list? Or which 'bok or 'beest? At home, I like hunting whitetail deer a lot more than wild turkeys. I also greatly enjoyed my first pronghorn hunt last year. But, I don't know how that applies to the wide variety African plains game - if it applies at all.

I realize that once in the field, it will likely become obvious which species I like to hunt best. But in the absence of experience and great literature for plains game hunts, beyond random remarks in the Big 5 books like, "and then we killed a zebra for dinner," I wonder how you decided on the species you wanted to target for your first plains game hunt. I'd appreciate your advice, thank you.

Namibia is a great country for your first African safari. Lots of different options and opportunities. Please have a look at my website, www.spsafarisnamibia.com and also watch the videos below if you wish to. The longer video is older, but it contains a lot of information, not only about my outfit, but also about Namibia. feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Regards
Schalk Pienaar

 

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I've been doing a bit of research for our first safari, hopefully to transpire in 2020 or 2021. I'm looking at countries, species lists, outfitters, etc. Thus far, I've got Namibia in the #1 slot with RSA holding #2. Either one would be a plains game hunt - probably around 5 species.

My question is, without having the benefit of experience, what's a good way to learn more about the plains-type species in these areas? I'm thinking about behavior, habitat, methods for hunting them, etc. For instance, how do I know whether eland or zebra should be on my list? Or which 'bok or 'beest? At home, I like hunting whitetail deer a lot more than wild turkeys. I also greatly enjoyed my first pronghorn hunt last year. But, I don't know how that applies to the wide variety African plains game - if it applies at all.

I realize that once in the field, it will likely become obvious which species I like to hunt best. But in the absence of experience and great literature for plains game hunts, beyond random remarks in the Big 5 books like, "and then we killed a zebra for dinner," I wonder how you decided on the species you wanted to target for your first plains game hunt. I'd appreciate your advice, thank you.
Sticks
It’s a very good question and one many of us never thought to ask. What I want to convey to people is that you should endeavor to hunt the classic indigenous species when ever possible. So for Namibia here is my list and order: Gemsbok, Springbok, Mountain Zebra, Red Hartebeest, Kudu, warthog, steinbok.
Everyone will have a different order and good reasons as well. Based on many, many visits to Namibia this is my list and order. I’ll be taking my 13 year old son in May and I’ll do my best to inform him but also let him make his own top 3 list(he only gets 3 trophy’s on this Safari). I will finally hunt both wildebeest (know, I know everyone says what?...you’ve hunted the Big 5 and no wildebeest?), giraffe, and then being opportunistic the rest of the way. I’ll likely take another warthog and red hartebeest.
Best of luck,
Philip
 

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Hi.

We sent you a pm. Check your inbox.

Looking forward to your response.

Regards.
The Wintershoek Safaris Team.
 

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Good advice from everyone. Being a rookie myself, went on my first trip this past year. I chose as primary targets Kudu, Impala, Blue Wildabeest and Zebra. Those are the iconic animals to me of Africa. I had set a budget on animals and took what ever else Africa had to offer while hunting for my target animals. Wound up taking Blesbok, Black Wildabeest, Eland and Red Hartabeest also and still stayed within my budget. My advice is have 2-3 target animals and take what ever Africa offers while you are there. Dont get tied up in focusing on certain animals. Roll with what happens.
 

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Thank you all very much for your replies! This helps me gain some perspective on where to go and what species to target. I hadn't thought as much about varying geography, especially inside RSA, and that will clearly have a big impact on the hunt. I'll keep that in mind as I continue to research.

Thank you for the species advice, too - from both outfitters and experienced hunters. I did a lot of research before my pronghorn hunt last year, but it wasn't until I had a hand on my rifle and eyes on the pronghorn that I really had a clue about their behavior and how I might hunt them. And as above - the largest contributing factor was terrain. I hadn't thought about some species being native to certain areas, either - but that makes sense. I'm looking for a genuine hunting experience and not just being told where to point my rifle and when to shoot. I would be greatly disappointed if the adventure of a lifetime felt like a tourist trap in the end.

Thank you all again and thanks also to those who sent a PM - I will get back to you shortly.
 

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Welcome to AH.
Above is all very good advice.
PM sent with our price list and e-brochure.
Sincerely
Hans de Klerk
 

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Good advice from everyone. Being a rookie myself, went on my first trip this past year. I chose as primary targets Kudu, Impala, Blue Wildabeest and Zebra. Those are the iconic animals to me of Africa. I had set a budget on animals and took what ever else Africa had to offer while hunting for my target animals. Wound up taking Blesbok, Black Wildabeest, Eland and Red Hartabeest also and still stayed within my budget. My advice is have 2-3 target animals and take what ever Africa offers while you are there. Dont get tied up in focusing on certain animals. Roll with what happens.
So much good advise here. On my first safari I wanted a buffalo. Secondarily was a warthog and kudu. After that, I took what Africa gave me. I had no intention of taking a waterbuck but he’s looking over my shoulder as I key this. I ended up taking my buff and ten head of plains game. There is nothing like your first safari.
Bottom line... enjoy every aspect of the safari experience. From planning to admiring the trophies on your wall. But be forewarned, you WILL go back.
 

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Think big then take whatever the situation offers. But a list is not so important as enjoying the hunt and experience in its entirety- IMO. There is NOTHING like an enjoyable beverage and story telling around the evening boma fire!!!

For certain eland, oryx, red hartebeest, blue wildebeest, waterbuck and kudu would all be high on the list. While impala are common and almost everywhere.... if the PH says "that is a good one- 24 inches or more"- shoot! :)
 

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If Kudu and Impala are your priorities, then find a region where they are in abundance, Like Limpopo. Then find your outfitter and let him advise you on what else is good or great in His Kudu area and go from there.

That's where I would start. Then check out Youtube videos on the other species from that region to get a better feel for them.

My personal experience ranks bush buck high on the list. They compare a lot to Coues white-tailed deer, being largely solitary and popping in and out of bush quickly. On the other hand a lot of the herd animals work differently, making life interesting with a whole group of eyes spotting you from afar. Personally between blue and black wildebeest I think black wildebeest win. They are amazing for their antics and they are just plain spooky and often tough to sneak up on in the wide open.

Good luck with the research, it's part of the experience.
 

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Think big then take whatever the situation offers. But a list is not so important as enjoying the hunt and experience in its entirety- IMO. There is NOTHING like an enjoyable beverage and story telling around the evening boma fire!!!

For certain eland, oryx, red hartebeest, blue wildebeest, waterbuck and kudu would all be high on the list. While impala are common and almost everywhere.... if the PH says "that is a good one- 24 inches or more"- shoot! :)

Thanks, yes - that's what I'm after, a great experience!
 

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If I were going to Namibia for the first time I would try to take kudu, oryx, mountain zebra, red hartebeest, springbok, and eland. In RSA I would would try for nyala, waterbuck, both wildebeests, impala, blesbok, burchells zebra and kudu. This will probably give you the best bang for the buck. Warthog, steenbuck and duiker could be taken wherever the opportunity presents itself.
 
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Thank you all very much for your replies! This helps me gain some perspective on where to go and what species to target. I hadn't thought as much about varying geography, especially inside RSA, and that will clearly have a big impact on the hunt. I'll keep that in mind as I continue to research.

Thank you for the species advice, too - from both outfitters and experienced hunters. I did a lot of research before my pronghorn hunt last year, but it wasn't until I had a hand on my rifle and eyes on the pronghorn that I really had a clue about their behavior and how I might hunt them. And as above - the largest contributing factor was terrain. I hadn't thought about some species being native to certain areas, either - but that makes sense. I'm looking for a genuine hunting experience and not just being told where to point my rifle and when to shoot. I would be greatly disappointed if the adventure of a lifetime felt like a tourist trap in the end.

Thank you all again and thanks also to those who sent a PM - I will get back to you shortly.

Here is another thing to consider. I forgot to mention this in my reply, but I did hunt a Kudu as well. I did not take one however. It should never be assumed that a day will result in an animal, and some animals, such as Kudu, could take multiple days to land if you get one at all. As I said, I tried my hand at it as a "one off" and came away with nothing but a good story to tell. This time I'm allotting as much time as needed for one. I told my outfitter that if we spend 8 days of my 8 day hunt trying for a good Kudu and land a good one I won't consider my time wasted at all. Now, will it take 8 days? Ask Africa, only it can answer.
 

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Here is another thing to consider. I forgot to mention this in my reply, but I did hunt a Kudu as well. I did not take one however. It should never be assumed that a day will result in an animal, and some animals, such as Kudu, could take multiple days to land if you get one at all. As I said, I tried my hand at it as a "one off" and came away with nothing but a good story to tell. This time I'm allotting as much time as needed for one. I told my outfitter that if we spend 8 days of my 8 day hunt trying for a good Kudu and land a good one I won't consider my time wasted at all. Now, will it take 8 days? Ask Africa, only it can answer.

Thank you, I will keep that in mind!
 

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Whatever you decide, use a decent calibre that you're practised and comfortable with - as once you squeeze that trigger you'll pay the fee regardless your game drops stone dead, or is wounded and unrecovered.

As for game, I suggest you include a kudu. They're a good challenge to hunt, and those magnificent spiralled horns command respect whether as a shoulder or European mount.

Best of luck and enjoy the journey from planning right through to mounting your trophies on the wall - and don't forget to post up a hunt report with pics!
 

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I have never hunted with a package, I make a wishlist of animals I am interested in, and available in the area I am hunting.

Then, just listen to my PH and shoot what he recommends, within my budget, of course.

This has worked for me, even if it took me four safaris to hunt my eland, it was the one I wanted !
 

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A lot of great advice already.

If I was going back to Namibia, five animals would stand out to me: Mountain zebra, Kudu, Gemsbok, red hartebeest and springbok. If eland were in good number, I would go after them too...…..
 

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Namibia was my first safari. Highly suggest that country. PM me I can give you some advise. SA a close second. Good luck.
 

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