Scientific name:

Connochaetes taurinus

 

What makes it special:

The blue wildebeest is also called the brindled gnu, the common or the white-bearded wildebeest (as opposed to the white-tailed gnu: The black wildebeest). Besides the tail and beard differences from its closest relative, it can be identified by its grey to slate color and the parentheses-shaped horns.

 

Recommended caliber:

.275 is the effective minimum in bringing it down but larger calibers are often advisable.

Hunt the Blue Wildebeest - Plains Game

Like the black variant of the gnu (which originates from the blue), this is a muscular and fast antelope that will not hesitate to charge when wounded. They are found in numerous locations in southern and eastern Africa and are easy to spot but hard to get, because their great senses and life in a herd gives no easy way of closing in on them. Despite their name, they are found in a lot of different color variations.

 

Hunting method

The blue wildebeest is easily found in the open grasslands but does also exist in the bushvelds. They should be approached upwind because of their shyness and sensitivity. Hunting them in bushes is quite tricky. The easiest option is going for their known resting place. Their fast course of action is flight though they run a short distance then stand to assess the degree of danger. Their speed places them among the top ten fastest mammals with speeds of up to 80 km/h. Side shots around four inches below the raised shoulders will bring the animal down fast. Approaching them should be done from the back especially when not sure of the bullets location. There have been incidents where a wounded animal rises up and charges at it hunter after being wounded.

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Know the animal

Appearance

The blue wildebeest isn’t actually very blue but has a greyish to slate color making it at least bluer than the black wildebeest. Both males and females carry horns, the females’, however, only about half as large. The pair of horns starts at the center of their forehead with almost no separation, then curves downwards from the side then upwards. These large antelopes have well built bodies with strong forelegs and well developed shoulders. They are up to 2.4 meters long, 1.4 meters tall (shoulders) and weigh up to275 kg. Their tail is black and measures up to 56 cm. They have mane and beards on the upper and lower side of the neck respectively. Their face is distinctly rectangular and well formed. On each side, there are dark strips running vertically.

 

Habitat

They are found in grassland and open woodland of East and South Africa. More specifically, you’ll find them in Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

 

Diet

They are majorly herbivorous feeding on a variety of grasses and shrubs.

 

Predators

Their main predators are lions, crocodiles and hyenas though other predators try their luck on the young ones too.

 

Life cycle

The gestation period is between eight and nine months. Reproduction is highly seasonal with mating taking place at the end of the rainy season and calves given birth to two to three weeks before the onset of rains. Female don’t separate from the herd to give birth but endure in the herd and the young ones gains mobility after around 20 minutes. The female give birth once every year to only one child, which is breastfed for four months. Males attain sexual maturity after three to four years. Female are a little faster: two and a half years.

 

Behavior

Back wildebeests are social animals and spend most of the time in herds. They form herds basing on age and gender with the juveniles in the bachelors herd being more close to each other than to the older females or males. Mature female and males make their herds too, but they have greater distances of separation during grazing. Like the black wildebeest, they graze mainly during late hours of the day or early in the morning. They are known to form herds of up to thousands, especially at night.

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Animal Facts

Weight and size

Weight: Up to 275 kg.
Shoulder height: 140 cm.

 

Habitat

They are found in grassland and open woodland of eastern and southern Africa. 

 

Diet

They are herbivores and feed on a variety of shrubs and grass.

 

Predators

Lions, crocodiles and hyenas 

 

Life cycle

20 years.

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