Giraffe Hunting

There are 9 subspecies of giraffe most of which are strictly protected and not huntable.

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Nubian Giraffe

Nubian giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis camelopardalis, from South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Somali Giraffe

Somali or reticulated giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata, from north-east Kenya, southern Ethiopia and Somalia.

Angolan Giraffe

Angolan giraffe or Namibian giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis angolensis, from north Namibia, south-west Zambia, Botswana and western Zimbabwe.

Kordofan Giraffe

Kordofan giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis antiquorum, from south Chad, the Central African Republic, north Cameroon, and north-east Congo.

Masai Giraffe

Masai giraffe or Kilimanjaro giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi, from south central Kenya and in Tanzania.

Rothschild's Giraffe

Rothschild's giraffe, Baringo or Ugandan giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi, from Uganda and Kenya. It is the only giraffe with five ossicones, or horns.

South African Giraffe

South African giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa, is found in north South Africa, south Botswana, south Zimbabwe and south-west Mozambique.

Rhodesian Giraffe

Rhodesian giraffe or Thornicroft's giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti from the Luangwa Valley in east Zambia.

West African Giraffe

West African giraffe, Niger or Nigerian giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis peralta, from south-west Niger.

Very great difference of opinion exists amongst sportsmen as to whether giraffe-hunting is a pursuit which can be indulged in with a clear conscience, and the fact that the question should arise points to some grounds for reasonable doubt. It is, I believe, by many considered the vie plus ultra of African sport, and by those, too, who could not possibly be guilty of wanton cruelty. Certainly one can scarcely consider it an elevating form of sport...

...for when once a giraffe is brought to a stand nothing but honest pity can be for its beautiful, stately helplessness. None with any real grit in them will pretend that they derive from the fall of these great harmless creatures the same amount of satisfaction afforded by the death of a lion or buffalo. 'In Haunts Of Wild Game' by Frederick Vaughan Kirby

Where To Hunt Giraffe

Of the 9 subspecies of giraffe, the South African variety, Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa is huntable in South Africa and Zimbabwe. The Angolan giraffe may be hunted in the north of Namibia but further south you will be hunting the South African giraffe.

Giraffe Hunting Prices

  • In South Africa the trophy fee for a giraffe will be between US$2500 and US$3800. If a giraffe is a priority species, check with the outfitter whether he has a suitable bull to hunt - sometimes, though giraffe is on the trophy list, there might not be a huntable one on the game farm.
  • In Namibia you can hunt a giraffe for between US$1500 and US$3000.
  • In Zimbabwe the giraffe trophy fee is between US$1400 and US$3500.

Giraffe Hunting Methods

  • Giraffe have exceptionally good eyesight, acute hearing and a very cautious nature, so along with his height should make for a challenging hunt. If they are not used to being hunted however and are familiar with people and vehicles, they are likely to be quite 'tame' and 'sitting ducks' for a shot.
  • Spotting, walking and stalking the likely habitats.
  • Tracking fresh giraffe spoor is quite easy and can be productive.
  • Fast accurate shooting is a must because they can see everything from their height and won't hang around, especially if they are used to being hunted.

A Good Giraffe Trophy

There are no official giraffe trophy records in Rowland Ward or SCI. On a game farm in South Africa or Namibia, you will probably be told which individual giraffe to shoot - probably an old bull well past his prime. An old bull giraffe will usually be darker than the others, with knobbly bumps on their skulls, carry a lot of battle scars and have a very strong, offensive odour.

If you are intending to keep the giraffe skin, possibly for a rug, you might select a slightly younger or smaller animal whose skin may be in a better condition.

Giraffe skin particularly needs fast and thorough cleaning or it will be useless for a trophy mount.

Giraffe Hunting Shot Placement

  • Shot placement in a giraffe is different from all other species due to the animal's specific anatomy.
  • It should be borne in mind that everything behind the shoulder is stomach.
  • The heart lies in the mid third of the body and in line with the centre of the foreleg and the top of the heart is about where the bottom of the neck leaves the body.
  • A frontal chest shot can be taken by drawing a cross between the very top of the shoulder joints and the centre of the chest and placing your shot where the two lines cross.
  • Another option is the frontal neck shot.
  • Alternatively, the brain lies just behind and just above the eye, but if you take this option, remember to compensate for the fact that you are shooting 'uphill'.
  • A minimum calibre of 375 H&H is recommended for all shots on this species except the brain shot, where a .30 calibre would be sufficient.
  • African Hunter Shot Placement Pocket Field Guide for giraffe

Bull Giraffe Vital Statistics

These stats are for the huntable South African giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa
  • Height: 5–6m / 16–20 ft
  • Weight: 2628lbs / 1192kg

Giraffe Habitat and Requirements

  • Giraffes inhabit savannas, grasslands, or open woodlands.
  • They prefer areas with acacia growth.
  • They drink large quantities of water.
  • When searching for more food they will venture into areas with denser foliage.

Giraffe Social Structure

  • Female giraffes associate in groups of a dozen or so members, occasionally including a few younger males.
  • Younger males tend to live in bachelor herds.
  • Older males often lead solitary lives.

Giraffe Gestation Period

  • All giraffes have a 14 - 15 month gestation period and usually 1 calf is produced.

Giraffe Gender Identification

  • Males are much larger than females.
  • Males are generally darker in colour and mature male giraffe have more pronounced horns with one or more bony bumps on the head.
  • Mature solitary males emit a distinctive smell which is how they became known as 'old stinkers'.

Giraffe Trophy Permits (2015)

South African Giraffe

Giraffe Trophy Taxidermy

If you have a high ceiling in your trophy room and the budget, a standing full mount giraffe would be spectacular. If you don't have quite the space, a giraffe shoulder or floor pedestal mount might be a good alternative. If space is really tight a giraffe skull mount or floor rug looks really good.

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Giraffe Full Mount Giraffe Full Mount Giraffe Pedestal Mount Giraffe Neck Pedestal Mount Giraffe Shoulder Mount Giraffe Skull Mount
Taxidermy photos courtesy of Life-Form Taxidermy

So Who Is Behind The Name?

  • The name 'giraffe' is derived from the Arabic word 'zarafa' which means 'fast-walker'.
  • The species name camelopardalis is from Latin but based on the Ancient Greek for camel and leopard, animals which the giraffe was thought to resemble.
  • Most of the giraffe subspecies are named after the regions of Africa in which they occur or in the case of the reticulated (Somali and Rothschild's) giraffe, the name is descriptive of the skin pattern of large, polygonal patches outlined by a network of white lines.
  • The Rothschild's giraffe was named after Lionel Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild (1868 - 1937) who was a British-born zoologist and collector. In 1889 he created a private natural history museum to house his collection in the grounds of the family house in Tring, Herfordshire. The museum is still open to the public.
  • Thornicroft's (Rhodesian) giraffe was named after Henry Scott Thornicroft (b.1876) who was a Commissioner in north-western Rhodesia and later northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). He shot his giraffe in the Luangwa Valley and sent the skin and bones to the Natural History Museum, London where Richard Lydekker verified it to be a new subspecies.
  • The Masai giraffe was named after Herr L von Tippelskirch who was a member of a German scientific expedition to what is now, northern Tanzania in 1896. Von Tippelskirch bought back the skin of a female giraffe from near Lake Eyasi which was identified as a new giraffe subspecies.

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