Hartebeest Hunting

Hartebeest are large antelope with high shoulders, long, thin legs and elongated heads. They are very alert and prefer open, flat areas, so be prepared for quite a long shot.

Hartebeest Trophy Minimums

Alcelaphus buselaphus cokii (Coke's Hartebeest)
RW Minimum RW Record RW Measurement Method SCI Minimum SCI Record SCI Measurement Method
187/8" 24" 7 50" 73" 5
Alcelaphus buselaphus major (Western Hartebeest)
RW Minimum RW Record RW Measurement Method SCI Minimum SCI Record SCI Measurement Method
221/2" 283/4" 7 60" 791/8" 5
Alcelaphus buselaphus lelwel (Lelwel Hartebeest)
RW Minimum RW Record RW Measurement Method SCI Minimum SCI Record SCI Measurement Method
23" 275/8" 7 60" 765/8" 5
Alcelaphus buselaphus caama (Cape, Red Hartebeest)
RW Minimum RW Record RW Measurement Method SCI Minimum SCI Record SCI Measurement Method
23" 291/2" 7 62 814/8" 5
Alcelaphus buselaphus lichtensteini (Lichtenstein's Hartebeest)
RW Minimum RW Record RW Measurement Method SCI Minimum SCI Record SCI Measurement Method
181/2" 243/8" 7 53" 76" 5
Alcelaphus buselaphus swaynei (Swayne's Hartebeest)
RW Minimum RW Record RW Measurement Method SCI Minimum SCI Record SCI Measurement Method
167/8" 203/4" 7 N/A 574/8" 5
Alcelaphus buselaphus swaynei x lelwel (Neumann's Hartebeest)
RW Minimum RW Record RW Measurement Method SCI Minimum SCI Record SCI Measurement Method
N/A N/A 7 51" 672/8" 5
Alcelaphus buselaphus cokii x lelwel (Jackson's Hartebeest)
RW Minimum RW Record RW Measurement Method SCI Minimum SCI Record SCI Measurement Method
N/A N/A 7 N/A 741/8" 5

Where To Hunt Hartebeest

Several hartebeest subspecies have hybridized in some areas and new names were given to the hybrid animals. So if you were a hunter and collector it may be quite hard to distinguish the races and know for sure what you are hunting.

  • The western hartebeest is mostly an isolated subspecies except where the range overlaps with the Lelwel hartebeest at the Cameroon/CAR border region. However you can confidently know you are hunting the western hartebeest in Benin, Burkina Faso and Cameroon. Occasionally you will find the western hartebeest referred to as 'Major Hartebeest' on a trophy list which is in deference to it's scientific name, Alcelaphus buselaphus major.
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Western Hartebeest
Western Hartebeest
  • You can hunt the Lelwel hartebeest in the Central African Republic (CAR) and into the south-west corner of Ethiopia. However the Lelwel hartebeest is also known as the Jackson's hartebeest when it crossbred with the Coke's hartebeest. Technically there is no such thing as a Jackson's hartebeest in hartebeest taxonomy. Confused? Hang in there, it gets worse...When the Lelwel/Jackson's hartebeest hybridized with Coke's hartebeest it also made the Kenya Highland hartebeest which cannot be hunted because it is in Kenya BUT when it is in Uganda, it is known as the Ugandan Lelwel hartebeest. However you will mostly find the hartebeest on trophy lists for Uganda as the Jackson's hartbeest.
  • When and where the Lelwel hartebeest hydridizes with a Swayne's hartebeest it makes a Neumann's hartebeest.

So in a nutshell...

Lelwel/Jackson's Hartebeest + Coke's Hartebeest = Kenya Highland Highland Hartebeest OR Ugandan Lelwel Hartebeest/Jackson's Hartebeest

Lelwel/Jackson's Hartebeest + Swayne's Hartebeest = Neumann's Hartebeest

  • When it comes to the record books, SCI has separate categories for Jackson's, Lelwel, Neumann's, Coke's and Swaynes's hartebeests with historic records for the Kenya Highland Highland hartebeest. Rowland Ward does not classify Neumann's or Jackson's hartebeests.
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Lelwel Hartebeest
Lelwel Or Jackson's Hartebeest
  • Having said you can hunt a Lelwel hartebeest in Ethiopia, you won't find one on a trophy list because they are listed as Neumann's hartebeest. The hybrid Neumann's hartebeest may be hunted in a small area of Ethiopia, east of the Omo River and north of Lake Turkana, plum between the ranges of the Swayne's and Lelwel hartebeest.
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Neumann's Hartebeest
Neumann's Hartebeest (Swayne's & Lelwel Hybrid)
  • The Swayne's hartebeest, as well as the Tora hartebeest, of Ethiopia are not huntable as they are considered 'endangered' and 'critically endangered' respectively.
  • As mentioned briefly before, the hartebeest that you can hunt in Uganda is listed by hunt outfitters as a Jackson's hartebeest, but in reality is a Ugandan Lelwel hartebeest.
  • You can hunt a Coke's hartebeest in the Masailand region of northern Tanzania.
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Coke's Hartebeest
Coke's Hartebeest
  • You can hunt Lichtenstein's hartebeest in the Selous Reserve and south-central Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia. Lichtenstein's hartebeest do occur naturally in South Africa in the far north of the Kruger Park where of course you may not hunt them. There may be a few available to hunt on the odd game farm where they are specifically bred. Lichtenstein's hartebeest is not huntable in Zimbabwe as it has Specially Protected Animal status because the numbers were so low. In Namibia there may be a few naturally occurring Lichtenstein's hartebeest in the Caprivi area but most will be animals translocated to game farms for breeding.
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Lichtenstein's Hartebeest
Lichtenstein's Hartebeest
  • You can hunt a Cape hartebeest, sometimes referred to as a red hartebeest, in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.
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Cape Hartebeest
Cape Or Red Hartebeest

Hartebeest Hunting Prices

  • In Cameroon the western hartebeest is a Group B savanna animal which you may choose to hunt, probably while hunting the Lord Derby eland. In most cases the trophy fees are in Euros so a western hartebeest will be between 750 Euros to 900 Euros.
  • In Benin the western hartebeest trophy fee is from 800 Euros to 1500 Euros.
  • In Burkina Faso the western hartebeest trophy fee is between 290 Euros and 400 Euros.
  • In the Central African Republic (CAR) you may hunt a Lelwel hartebeest on a savanna hunt for a trophy fee of around 1000 Euros.
  • In Ethiopia you can hunt a Neumann's hartebeest for around US$4000.
  • In Uganda, the so-called Jackson's hartebeest carries a trophy fee of between US$1500 and US$2500.
  • In Tanzania, the Government trophy fee for a Coke's hartebeest is US$650 but you may pay between US$1000 and US$1600 once Community Development/anti-poaching fees are added. The Government trophy fee for a Lichtenstein's hartebeest is also US$650 and this goes up to between US$750 and US$1300 once the extras are added. Both hartebeest are available to hunt on 10, 16 and 21 day licences.
  • In Mozambique the Lichtenstein's hartebeest has a non-refundable licence fee of about US$650 to US$750 and a trophy fee of between US$1200 and US$1800.
  • In South Africa you can hunt a Cape or red hartebeest for between US$950 and US$1350. They are commonly available on hunt packages of set species.
  • In Namibia the trophy fee for a Cape or red hartebeest is between US$500 and US$700.

Hartebeest Hunting Methods

  • Hunting hartebeest is best done by first glassing an area from the high ground. Once you locate a herd, keep well out of their sight while you determine which animal is a good shootable bull.
  • Hartebeest can be quite tricky to hunt because they are so observant of anything unusual in their area. They usually take flight at once with their weird rocking horse motion and head bobbing. However curiosity often gets the better of them and they may stop to see what's happening behind them which is when you may get a shot.

A Good Hartebeest Trophy

  • Both male and female hartebeest have horns - the male's horns generally have much heavier bases.
  • Horn length, thick bases and symmetry will all go to make a good trophy.
  • It is necessary to evaluate hartebeest horns not only from the front and but also the side to see how far the tips extend backwards.

Hartebeest Hunting Shot Placement

  • As hartebeest shot placement is similar to other antelope plains game species, go to Shot Placement On Plains Game.
  • Watch out for the humped withers when hunting hartebeest, as they may lead you to shoot too high.

Male Hartebeest Vital Statistics

Bull Hartebeest Vital Statistics
  Western Hartebeest Coke's Hartebeest Lelwel Hartebeest Lichtenstein's Hartebeest Cape/Red Hartebeest Jackson's Hartebeest Neumann's Hartebeest
Shoulder Height48-54"

Hartebeest Habitat and Requirements

  • They prefer the edges of open plains and selectively graze on medium-high grasses.
  • If the grazing is fresh or they can eat tubers, they are not particularly water-dependent.

Hartebeest Social Structure

  • Hartebeest are typically found in family groups with one dominant male, batchelor herds and all female herds.
  • There is a strict ranking between the males, though the herd changes with frequent comings and goings.
  • Old bulls which are past their prime are to be found on margins of the habitat.

Hartebeest Gestation Period

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

Hartebeest Gender Identification

  • Male hartebeest are a dark brown colour while females are more of a yellow brown.
  • Both sexes have horns.
  • Horn thickness and heavy bases are indicators of a male hartebeest. Females can have just as long horns but they are generally thinner.

Hartebeest Trophy Permits (2015)

Huntable Hartebeest

Hartebeest Trophy Taxidermy

A really big hartebeest makes an unusual full mount display, otherwise they make great shoulder, skull mounts or pedestal displays.

Don't forget to tell your taxidermist if you want the horns left in the natural colour rather than polished black.

Click images to enlarge
Hartebeest Full Mount Hartebeest Pedestal Wall Mount Hartebeest Shoulder Mount Hartebeest Skull Mount
Taxidermy photos courtesy of Life-Form Taxidermy

So Who Is Behind The Name?

The name 'hartebeest' is derived from the Afrikaans 'hertebeest' which means 'deer' and 'beast' because it was thought to resemble a deer.

  • The Coke's hartebeest was named after the Honourable Wenman Clarence Walpole Coke (1828 - 1907) who was a British soldier.
  • The word 'lelwel' is a native term for this subspecies of hartebeest and is not a person.
  • Lichtenstein's hartebeest is named after Dr Henry Martin Heinrich Karl Lichtenstein (1780 - 1857) who was a German doctor of medicine who had a great longing to travel, especially in South Africa so offered his services as tutor to the Governor's son. After his travels in 1811, Lichtenstein became Professor of Zoology at Berlin and in 1844 was the founder of the Berlin Zoologischen Garten.
  • Swayne's hartebeest is named after Harald George Carlos Swayne (1860–1940) was a colonel in the British military who served in British Somaliland and was a keen big game hunter and naturalist. His notes were an invaluable contribution to the knowledge of several African animals.
  • Neumann's hartebeest was named after the famous elephant hunter, Arthur Henry Neumann who collected African specimens for the British Museum while hunting and exploring. He came across his hartebeest at the north-eastern corner of Lake Rudolf.
  • The Jackson's hartebeest was named after Sir Frederick John Jackson (1859 - 1929) who was an English administrator, explorer and ornithologist.

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