The waterbuck is a sought after trophy when visiting Africa, they are a large plains game species and despite their obvious name, the waterbuck is not strictly aquatic. They will, however, feed and inhibit areas close to large bodies of water.
Waterbuck is a member of the Kob antelope family in which there are 37 recognized subspecies. These subspecies were classified according to slight differences in coat color by African explorers, however, modern science grouped the waterbuck into two different subspecies. The Common waterbuck and The Defassa Waterbuck. Each of these subspecies has different groups which classify animals according to the location in which they are found.
The Common waterbuck is easily noticeable as it has a white ring around its hump. They can be hunted South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Mozambique and Botswana. The common Waterbuck is actually further divided up into four subspecies according to the location in which the animal is found. But when recording a trophy no matter where the animal has been taken it will be recorded as a common waterbuck.
The Defassa Waterbuck is recognised by not having the white ring on its hump, it is also slightly smaller than its common cousin. The Defassa waterbuck is further divided into five subspecies; The East Africa Defassa which can be hunted in North and western parts of Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda. The Ugandan Defassa waterbuck which can be taken in the Ethiopian Highlands, Uganda, Sudan and overlaps with the East African Subspecies in western parts of Tanzania. The Crawshays Defassa Waterbuck is found in Zambia. The Sing-Sing Defassa may be hunted in Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, Benin and parts of Cameroon. The Angolan Defassa can unfortunately not be legally hunted.
Waterbuck have a grey-brown coat color with white facial markings. Their coats have a shaggy appearance but this is just due to the hair being a lot more course than other antelope species. Waterbuck secrete an oily substance from their skin which gives off a musky smell, this smell can sometimes be smelt even before seeing the animal. The oily substance provides their coat with a waterproof layer and also helps deter predators.
Waterbuck Males are larger than the females and weigh in the region of 500 pounds live weight, while females weigh in the region of 380 pounds. Only the male waterbuck carries horns, his horns are ringed up to the last four to five inches and grow up and outwards with a slight forward curve. When bull in the field one needs to have a look at the horns from the side, as due to the shape of waterbuck horns it is difficult to tell the length from a frontal view and the forward curve of the horns is what will score on the measuring tape!
Hunting waterbuck can be done by walking and stalking in an area that one knows is inhibited by these animals. These areas are usually in and around areas with thick brush and close to water. Often Good waterbuck can be seen feeding on green growth on the banks of a river or outskirts of a large body of water. Waterbuck tend to feed early mornings and in the evenings so this would be the best time to go after that trophy you looking for!
Due to the waterbuck’s size, it is a good idea to use a relative hard-hitting calibre when hunting these animals. A .270 calibre and up will work well. Bigger calibers such as a .375 tend to be more lenient when having to shoot through brush and long grass, this calibre or something similar will work very well.
If you are looking for a great Waterbuck hunt in Africa, give us a call or fill out the form below and let us help you find the perfect waterbuck hunt for you.