Bontebok Hunting

Bontebok hunting is usually done by the more experienced African hunter who wants to add this specific trophy to a collection. He will probably already have the bontebok's close relative, the blesbok and all it's colour variants, so a bontebok will complete the set.

The bontebok was indigenous only to the Western Cape province of South Africa, where like the blesbok, they roamed in huge numbers until hunted to near extinction in the early 1800s. The last remaining 17 bontebok were protected on private land and in 1931 translocated to the first Bontebok National Park. In the 1960s their population halved due to disease, so they were moved to another area which is now the current Bontebok National Park. All the bonteboks alive today are descended from this population.

Bontebok Trophy Minimums

Damaliscus pygargus pygargus (Bontebok)
RW Minimum RW Record RW Measurement Method SCI Minimum SCI Record SCI Measurement Method
14" 163/4" 7 36" 474/8" 1

Where To Hunt Bontebok

Once the bontebok population was stabilised and thriving to reach the carrying capacity of the Bontebok National Park, they were translocated to suitable private game farms. A limited quota of bontebok are available to hunt on properties with specific permission to offer bontebok hunting, in the western Cape, eastern Cape and the Free State, South Africa.

Bontebok Hunting Prices

  • Bontebok is a considered as a special antelope species and as such has quite a hefty trophy fee.
  • You will find trophy fees listed from US$1275 up to US$3700.
  • Occasionally they are POR (Price On Request) or they might be published as a price range, from US$2000-US$3000. This gives you a clue that the outfitter advertising bontebok, does not keep them on his property but must take you elsewhere to hunt one and the bontebok landowner's price is not fixed until there is a interested customer.
  • If you are told the bontebok hunt will happen elsewhere away from your main hunt location, ask for details about all possible extra charges involved - does it mean additional transfer charges, overnight stays etc.
  • If you do make POR for a bontebok trophy fee, make sure it is cast in stone, assuming you will be hunting that same year. Do not accept any dithering or maybes on the trophy fee.

Booking A Bontebok Hunt

  • Bontebok is an expensive animal to hunt and there are several things to look out for before booking your hunt. It is also a CITES II species and listed as Endangered by the US Endangered Species Act (ESA). USF&W requires you to apply for additional import permit if you are a US hunter who wants to take the trophy home.
  • At the South African end, when a hunting client expresses a wish to hunt a bontebok, the landowner must apply for a TOPS permit in the client's name. The valid TOPS permit must in your hand when you are hunting. Always check the TOPS permit yourself before hunting for any discrepancy in your details. Never shoot a bontebok (or any other TOPS animal) without seeing the permit first. Never allow yourself to hunt and shoot a TOPS animal on the promise of getting a TOPS permit afterwards.

US Hunters Booking A Bontebok Hunt

  • If you definitely want to hunt a bontebok, you must ensure that the hunting area, on which you aim to hunt the bontebok is registered with the South African bontebok management program.
  • Bear in mind, if you see bontebok on an outfitter's trophy list, he may not actually have them on his own property. He could have access to a bontebok herd on another property and be allowed to bring hunting clients there with the landowner's co-operation. This is import to find out before hand because when you complete the Federal Fish and Wildlife Permit Application Form 3-200-22 For Import Of Sport-Hunted Bontebok Trophies From South Africa, you will need to enter the full details of the landowner on whose property the bontebok will be taken.
  • You will also need a signed statement from the landowner giving you permission to cull a bontebok from their captive herd OR a copy of the landowner's Certification of Registration for the bontebok herd.
  • If the bontebok landowner is not officially registered to keep and allow the hunting of bontebok, USF&W will refuse permission for you to import the trophy. USF&W have a list and will check the registered bontebok landowners.
  • Carefully read The USF&W information on applying for a Permit To Import Of Sport-Hunted Bontebok Trophies From South Africa
  • You need to complete and submit the bontebok permit application at least 90 days before the hunt starts.
  • The permit does not need to be issued before you go on your hunt. However, if it has, you may want to take a copy of your permit with you to give to your outfitter. Always keep the original permit at home, ready to present when the trophy is finally imported.
  • Your outfitter will organise the CITES II export permit with the local Game Department. CITES II export permits have an 6 month validity, so the trophy will need to be exported within the time frame. Any delays with the export or if the shipping date is too close to the CITES expiry date, the CITES permit will need to be re-issued.
  • Check the date when the USF&W bontebok permit expires and don't let the trophy be shipped if the permit has expired or is to close for comfort to the shipping time. The import permit has a 1 year validity and if it expires before the trophy is due, you can always re-apply for it to be re-issued.
  • It is very important that the bontebok is assigned the correct scientific name on the USF&W import permit and CITES II export permit. As with the blesbok, the bontebok was re-classified and is now known as Damaliscus pygargus pygargus. It used to be Damaliscus dorcas dorcas which is still commonly used in reference to the bontebok by many authorities. USF&W use the name Damaliscus pygargus pygargus, so check this matches on the South African CITES export permit, veterinary permit and any other shipping documents. You don't want this seemingly small detail to cause your import to be rejected.

EU and Australian hunters only need a CITES II export permit for importing a bontebok trophy.

Bontebok Hunting Methods

  • Bontebok hunting is just the same as blesbok hunting - being a close relation, they have the same characteristics and reactions.
  • Bontebok prefer open areas and tend to stand around in a herd, facing into the sun, so care needs to be taken when selecting the ram you want and waiting until he is clear of the others. You do not want an unexpected extra bontebok trophy, especially if you are paying top dollar trophy fees. When they move off, they do so in single file, so your chance may come then when they stop.
  • Stalk in as close as possible and be prepared for a fairly long shot of up to 200 yards.
  • Bontebok hunting can one of those awkward hunts when both you and the PH need to understand which animal you are both looking at and picking out to shoot. Try to listen to your own PH and not shoot until you are certain you are both focussed on the same animal. If you are hunting a bontebok in another hunting area, you will possibly have additional people around you, such as the landowner, his PH and his tracker, all offering their own advice. If it is like this, don't feel pressured into taking a shot and getting the wrong animal - if the chosen bontebok runs off, you will usually get another chance when it settles down again.

A Good Bontebok Trophy

  • Look for good horn length and thick bases. Horns around 14-15" would be a good representative trophy, anything bigger will be an excellent trophy.
  • An old bontebok ram will have worn horn ridges and tips.
  • Note that bontebok ewes also have horn which are generally thinner.

Bontebok Hunting Shot Placement

Bontebok Ram Vital Statistics

  • Shoulder Height: 30" / 90cm
  • Weight: 110-140lbs / 50-64kg

Bontebok Habitat and Requirements

  • As bontebok are predominantly grazing animals, they prefer open, short grassland areas with water.

Bontebok Social Structure

  • Bontebok live in separate sex herds. The rams are very territorial and often display dominance by strutting around and sparring with other rams.
  • They are particularly active in early mornings and late afternoon. They rest in shadier spots during the hottest part of the day.
  • The alarm call is a short, sharp snort.

Bontebok Gestation Period

  • After a gestation period of around 7-8 months, one offspring is born.

Bontebok Gender Identification

  • Bontebok rams are larger than the ewes but in general appearance, both sexes have pure white facial, stomach and rump blazes. The body colour graduates from a light brown at the front darkening to a purplish black towards the rear.
  • Both rams and ewes carry ridged lyre-shaped horns. Ewe horns are thinner and more spindly, whereas the ram horns have obvious thick bases and are longer.

Bontebok Gallery

Click images to enlarge
Bontebok Ram
Bontebok Bontebok

Bontebok Trophy Permits (2015)

Damaliscus pygargus pygargus (Bontebok)
CITES II Export Permit CITES II Export Permit & USF&W Import Permit Annex B - CITES II Export Permit CITES II Export Permit

Bontebok Trophy Taxidermy

  • Bontebok have such a rich body colour with pure white blazes, that they make striking full mount displays. A shoulder or pedestal mount would also be a great option.
  • Don't forget to tell your taxidermist not to blacken and polish the horns, if you want the horns to look natural.

What About The Name?

  • Why is this antelope called a bontebok? bonte is the Afrikaans word for 'colourful', relating to the rich, iridescent colour of the animal. Bok is Afrikaans for buck.
  • As mentioned before, there is some discrepancy with the bontebok's scientific name and you will find both used on hunting websites. It was formerly classified as Damaliscus dorcas dorcas, then the Smithsonian Institute reclassified it as Damaliscus pygargus pygargus. The word pygargus is derived from the Greek pugargos meaning 'white-rump'.

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