The Brindled Gnu or Blue Wildebeest are the epitome of tough. Also known as the poor man’s buffalo for their sheer strength and determination these animals make an extremely exciting hunt. Their flat, broad muzzle gives the Blue Wildebeest an ox-like appearance, as well as their broad deep chest which narrows down to the hindquarters. There are five recognized species of this wildebeest namely the Blue (common), Eastern white-bearded, Cookson’s, Nyasaland and the western White-bearded Wildebeest. In South Africa and Namibia there are various hybrids of the Blue wildebeest such as the Golden Wildebeest or the King wildebeest. Although these animals occur in large populations and can be sustainably hunted, they are merely a color variant and still carry the same DNA as the common or Blue Wildebeest. These specimens do however allow one to hunt wildebeest which looks comparatively different to the Common Blue and actually makes a really good trophy.
The Common Blue Wildebeest is often referred to as the brindled Gnu and is found in large numbers throughout the southern part of Africa. These animals can be hunted all over South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, South-Western Zambia as well as areas in southern Angola. They have adapted extremely well to various conditions and occur in various different types of terrain.
The Eastern white-bearded wildebeest is very similar in appearance to its common cousin but carries a white beard starting just below its muzzle. This sub specie is available for hunting South of the equator line in the great rift valley and is native to Northern Tanzania and central Kenya.
The western white Bearded wildebeest is just about identical to that of the eastern sub specie, although relatively smaller in both body and horn size. It is found in regions ranging from Northern Tanzania and central Kenya. This wildebeest is famous for the annual Serengeti migration.
Cookson’s Wildebeest is found in the Luangwa valley of Zambia in generous numbers. Few individuals have been noted in central Malawi.
Nyasaland Wildebeest or Niassa Wildebeest has a white stripe beneath its eyes and is easily identified. This species occurs only in the northern parts of Mozambique and Tanzania.
The Blue wildebeest is a highly alert and weary animal, often seen leaping and running around after being even slightly disturbed. The Male blue wildebeest are significantly larger than the females and weigh in the vicinity of 600 pounds when mature while females weigh around the 450-pound mark. These animals breed at the end of the rainy season and will calf eight months later. The mothers are extremely protective over the young and will go to all odds to protect them. Males are very territorial especially in breeding season when females within the herd are on heat. Blue wildebeest males become aggressive and excited as they compete for mating rights. They will make testosterone-driven displays, bellowing and snorting towards others makes trying to gain dominance. These males do not eat or rest during this time.
Blue wildebeest drink twice a day and once of the most common ways to hunt these animals in Africa is to walk and stalk close to water holes or when spotted. Blue wildebeest are often found grazing in open savannahs together with zebra or blesbuck. So be sure to have the wind in your face as there are usually many eyes and ears which are around and may ick up your presence. Look for a male with horns protruding past his ears and heavy bosses. Your PH will tell you which one to take and when to shoot, a broadside shot on the shoulder is best to stop these animals in their tracks.
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