Quite a strange-looking animal with a narrow elongated face and horns growing straight up and then curving backwards. Both the males and females have horns, whilst the male’s horns are thick with a lot more mass than the slender horns of the females. Mature males weigh in about 350 pounds. A hartebeest has a deep broad chest which narrows down towards the hindquarter allowing them to run at tremendous speeds. These animals are territorial which enables one to know where to look for them. There are eight recognized species of hartebeest found in Africa. The Red, Lichtensteins, Cokes, Western, Lelwel, Swayne’s, Neumann’s and Jacksons Hartebeest.
The Red Hartebeest also known as the cape hartebeest is the only species that occurs in South Africa, But is also found in throughout Namibia and Botswana. Due to the re-introduction on game ranches throughout these regions, their distribution and numbers have greatly increased, this is all thanks to hunters dollars. The Red hartebeest is closely related to the Tssesebe and Topi, although these animals look distinctly different there have actually been cases where they interbreed creating a mule that is unable to breed and can be looked at nature’s way of fixing a mishap.
The Lichtenstein hartebeest inhabits the Miombo woodland areas of Eastern and Southern Africa. The Lichtenstein Hartebeest is native to Angola as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. These animals have a sand-coloured coat while bulls tend to go dark as they mature.
The Cokes hartebeest occurs throughout Kenya but can only be hunted in Masailand in northern Tanzania.
The Western hartebeest occurs in Benin, Burkina Faso, and Cameroon. This specie also occurs along the Cameroon/CAR border but many populations have been interbred with the Lelwel Hartebeest which also occurs in these areas.
Lelwels Hartebeest can be hunted in The Central African Republic and into southwestern areas of Ethiopia.
The Swayne’s Hartebeest cannot be legally hunted as this sub specie is listed as critically endangered. Few populations still exist in scattered areas of Ethiopia.
Neumann’s Hartebeest is a hybridized animal from the interbreeding between the Lelwel and Cokes sub specie. These animals are native to the CAR, Chad, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The Jacksons hartebeest is also a hybrid animal. The cross-breeding between the Lelwel and Coke subspecies produces what is known as the Jacksons Hartebeest.
When looking at record books the Safari Club International has separate categories for the Red Jacksons, Lelwel, Neumann’s, Cokes and Swayne’s Hartebeests with historic entries the Kenyan Highland Hartebeest(Lelwel/Jackson hybrid). Rowland Ward Record of Big game does not classify the Neumann’s or Jackson’s Hartebeests.
Terrain in which hartebeest are hunted ranges from grasslands, savannahs, woodlands, and even open mountainous areas. They usually congregate in herds of about thirty animals, with one dominant bull and two or three younger bulls. Hartebeest are very alert but also inquisitive, often while hunting these animals they will stop and look at what is bothering them, this usually provides a good shot. The first shot is the one that counts the most, these animals can cover great distances without stopping if wounded- as with many species in Africa.
A flat shooting calibre such as the .270 win or 300 Win Mag are the ideal calibres to harvest these animals, as shots are usually taken over fairly long distances due to the terrain these animals are found in. Males which are past their prime are kicked out of the herd by a younger more dominant male. Their coats go dark in color and will often be found alone or in a bachelor herd of four to five members, these make excellent trophies.
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