Tsessebe are often confused with a hartebeest, and although they look very similar the tsessebe is indeed a sub species of the Damaliscus family. The Topi, Korrigum and Tiang are also part of this family, they are essentially sub species of tsessebe but do not carry the tsessebe name.
The common Tsessebe is found in South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. These animals have been conserved over the last decade as their numbers decreased drastically in their natural home ranges. Tsessebe can interbreed with blesbuck and hartebeest which creates an infertile mule. It was due to this interbreeding that tsessebe numbers dramatically decreased in Africa, together with poaching and habitat encroachment. Due to good conservation plans and hunting which puts a value to these animals the Common Tsessebe is now available for Hunting in South Africa, Western Zambia and North East Namibia.
The Topi is found in Southern as well as eastern Kenya but cannot be legally hunted there. There are also fragmented populations of Topi in Uganda and western parts of Tanzania. Hunting licences are not too strict for these animals they may be taken on a 10,14 and 21 day licence in Tanzania. The Topi is slightly bigger than the common tsessebe and their horns grow in a more parallel pattern
The Korrigum may be hunted in Northern Cameroon, Northern parts of the Central African Republic and in Sudan. There are small isolated populations which occur in Benin and Burkina Faso but the Kirrigum may not be hunted in these countries. The Korrigum is actually the largest antelope in the Damaliscus family and is also referred to as the Giant Topi, Giant Tsessebe.
The Tiang is found in small populations in Southern Sudan and may be hunted in the South Western. The Tiang can be recognised by its horns which are relatively parallel and grow significantly longer than those of the common Tsessebe, Korrigum and Topi.
Tsessebe are very social in nature and are often seen grazing with herds of Zebra and wildebeest. The herds usually consist of 5 to 15 animals with few males, females and their young. Although there is only one dominant male within a breeding herd there may be a few more, subordinate makes which stay in the herd. Male and female Tsessebe carry horns, which are ringed from the base upwards. Males tend to be darker than females and the horns of a male tsessebe grow noticeably thicker with heavier bases than those of a female. The female’s horns can grow just as long as what the males do, but are thinner and pointier.
Hunting the tsessebe and its sub species can be done by walking and stalking through fairly open areas where they gather in herds. Tsessebe are reputable for being one of Africa’s fastest running antelope species but when hunting them it is their curiosity which a hunter can rely on. Very similar to the hartebeest, A tsessebe will run when threatened, but the initial run is usually not very far as they will stop, turn and look to see what is threatening them. This often provides a hunter with a very good window of opportunity and time for a clear shot.
Make sure to listen to your guide of professional hunter very carefully when in the field and going after tsessebe. It can be tricky to get in close to these animals due to them often being in the vicinity of other game species. Choosing the right one to take is the next step, and should you be looking for a good trophy, it will take patience and experience to make it happen.
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