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Spiral Horned Antelope

On Blaauwkrantz we are blessed to have some of the most sort after hunting species in Africa in one contiguous area (92 000 acres) and none more so than the spiral horned antelope (genus: tragelaphus) in the Eastern Cape Kudu, Southern Nyala and Cape Bushbuck. 

Blaauwkrantz vegetation consists mainly of dense to semi dense valley bushveld (65%) or also known as sub-tropical thicket. The terrain of Blaauwkrantz is often referred to being very similar to the Hill Country of west Texas with its rolling semi arid hills and thickets of brush and with an annual rainfall of only 13”. The rest of Blaauwkrantz consists of grasslands (20%), karoo shrubs (10%) and mountain fynbos(5%). 

The “three cousins”, Kudu, nyala and bushbuck have very similar behaviors and mannerisms.

Some of them are:

They feed early mornings and late in the afternoon and are very nocturnal.

They tend to sun themselves a lot especially during the cooler winter mornings.

They are mainly browsers but will graze during a green period after rains.

They are very alert and rely heavily on their sense of smell to detect any signs of danger. 

When alerted they give a load bark similar to that of a dog. A bushbuck will be a little higher pitched.

All the spirals don’t tend to go too far once wounded and head for the closest cover. In most cases wounded animals are retrieved by means of our tracking dogs who normally “bay” the animals in the thick cover. 

The spirals are known to be shy and secretive animals by nature and probably none more so than the bushbuck. Bushbuck mainly occur on the coastal side of Blaauwkrantz where the rainfall is generally higher than the drier northern side of the ranch. Since we have removed numerous internal fences we are finding more bushbuck in areas where we have never seen them before or where they have been absent for decades. Bushbuck generally don’t have a very big area they move and feed in and the males are very territorial. A mature bushbuck is 4-5 years old and will weigh anything from 90lbs – 140lbs. The rumors of bushbuck being very dangerous are true, but we have found it mainly to be wounded animals and especially towards tracking dogs. A few years ago we lost our main tracking dog from an encounter with a wounded bushbuck and a few narrow escapes since then. Although very difficult to determine numbers, we estimate there to be about 1000-1300 bushbuck on the ranch. 

The nyala, although not historically indigenous to Blaauwkrantz or the Eastern Cape, was first introduced here in the early eighties. Due to our persistent predator controls practiced on Blaauwkrantz, their numbers have multiplied since and they are widely distributed throughout the ranch now. They tend to congregate in certain areas especially along riverbeds and open grassy areas. Younger males normally form bachelor groups and you can sometimes find groups of 8-12 together. Most of the bigger mature bulls are solitary or can be found with a group of females. Nyala, like bushbuck breed throughout the year and kids can be seen at anytime. Nyala are always perceived to be heavier than they actually are due to their long hair and big bushy tail. A big nyala bull will weigh anything from 180-220lbs. They tend to drink water daily and are often found in the middle of the day feeding out in the open unlike bushbuck and kudu. Currently we have about 400-500 nyalas on Blaauwkrantz and take about 25-30 trophies each year. 

The kudu aka the “gray ghost” is normally one of the most prized trophy/trophies any hunter who has hunted in Africa has in his trophy room. On Blaauwkrantz, kudu roam pretty much on 90% of our 92 000 acre ranch.  Our numbers are somewhere between 1800-2000 head. Kudus and bushbuck are very susceptible to droughts which are quite common in our area. Every year we cull a number of the cows to keep our numbers in check, mainly during the months of October-December. For the past 10 years we average over 90 trophy kudu bulls per season. Horns sizes vary from 44’-50’. A number of 50’+ bulls are shot every year, but are mainly through chance. A second kudu trophy is offered at a reduced rate. Our East Cape Greater Kudu differs slightly from its northern brother, the Southern Greater Kudu in that the EC kudu is slightly smaller in body and horn size. The EC kudu also has a much darker coat and has more hair cover than the Southern Greater, this is due to our bush cover and cooler average daily temperatures throughout the year. SCI recognizes this and has categorized the two kudu in different categories in its record book.

Hunting the kudu is always the highlight for most hunters when hunting on Blaauwkrantz. Having virtually a 100% success rate on kudu, Blaauwkrantz is known to be “The Best Kudu Hunting in the World” and our success and quality is testimony to this!

 

Some useful hunting info when hunting these spirals on Blaauwkrantz

Most popular calibers, 270, 25-06, 30-06, 300 Win Mag, 7mm

Shot placement: low on the shoulder (Vitals sit low on the shoulder)

Shot distances: 100-300 yards

Shooting off long shooting sticks are important

Good camo clothing or any dark clothing is fine

Spend a lot of time glassing, so good binoculars are necessary

Best time of the year: Late April-July (during the rut)

And lastly patience, patience, patience!

 

We have our very own “Spiral Slam Package” at a discounted rate and is a very popular package with first timers to Africa or even the hunter who has been to Africa several times.  The package includes 6 days and 6 nights and trophy fees for 1 kudu, 1 nyala and 1 bushbuck. All these trophies are hunted on Blaauwkrantz, so travelling is kept to a minimum, ie. no time wasted travelling for hours from ranch to ranch to “harvest” their trophies. Other trophies can be added onto the package or you may extend your safari by adding on extra days onto the package as per our price list.

19 Oct 2016