The name gazelle actually originates from the Persian word Ghazel, which when directly translated means elegant and quick. Their name is perfectly suited to their move about and characteristics, the Gazelle is an elegant, quick and alert animal that can keep a hunter very busy when pursued. The Thomson’s Gazelle is the smallest species of Gazelle which are found in Africa. They are only 25 to 35 inches at the shoulder and weigh in the region of 100 pounds when mature. There are two subspecies of the Thomson’s gazelle available for hunting, the Serengeti Thomson’s gazelle and the Eastern Thomson’s gazelle.
The Serengeti Thomson’s gazelle is found throughout the Serengeti and into the Kenya Rift Valley. While the eastern Thomson’s gazelle is found from the rift Valley southwards into northern areas of Tanzania. The Serengeti sub species is easily recognizable as it has a whiter face than the eastern subspecies. It is also significantly smaller and the horns which the females carry are very short as compared to the eastern Thomson’s gazelle. Due to the hunting ban in Kenya, no gazelle can be hunted in the country. The Thomson’s gazelle can be taken in Northern Tanzania and is easily recognizable from the Grant’s Gazelle as the Thompsons have distinct black side stripes, which the Grant’s gazelle do not have.
Gazelle have a distinct behavior of running and jumping at the same time when they feel they are in danger. This can also be seen in springbok it is known as “stotting” and is truly a beautiful sight to see. Thomson’s gazelle are very fast animals and can reach speeds of 50 miles per an hour in short bursts. African gazelle consume a mixture of grasses and shrubs and are highly selective in what they eat. The Thomson’s gazelle is also found in an area of wide open spaces with little cover. They tend to graze in areas where the grass and brush is short to help them see predators from a long way out. Gazelle in general are not reliant on water and will only drink every third of fourth day should water be scarce. Obviously if water is readily available they will drink daily.
Hunting The Thomson’s gazelle can be done using the same methods used to target Gazelle in general. In areas where there are good numbers of gazelle, it should be easy to locate the animals as they stay within the same home ranges. Out fitters usually drive around in wide open Savannah’s and areas where the gazelle are known to be until a herd is located. Spot and stalk is the most common method used to target these animals. They are usually spotted from very far away, and then a stalk needs to be put in. gazelle have extremely good eyesight and locate themselves in areas with very little to no cover. Make sure you have the wind in your face and try to stay hidden as far as possible. Getting in close to these animals is not very common and shots are normally no closer than 150 yards. Take your time and focus on the shot placement.
Suitable calibers when targeting these animals will be the same as a good caliber that you would use for white tail in America or Roe Deer in Europe. A 243 Winchester shooting a 90 grain bullet is a good starting point, up to a 7mm rem mag. Be sure not to use a large caliber such as a 338 Magnum or similar as due to the small bodies on these animals the bigger calibers tend to damage the trophy.
If you are looking for a great African Thompson’s Gazelle hunt, give us a call or fill out the form below and let us help you find the perfect thompson’s gazelle hunt for you.