Scientific name:

Kobus ellipsiprymnus. 


What makes it special:

The horns are quite spectacular and make this antelope more than just a donkey lookalike. Only the males (called bulls) carry horns, but every time a female is sighted, there is probably a male lurking around very close.


Recommended caliber:

Medium to heavy caliber preferably .300 or .375 so that it is able to penetrate the furry coat and relatively thick hide of this large antelope.

A great challenge for the hunter who seeks an impressive trophy

Hunting a waterbuck is not as simple as people may be tempted to think, especially considering the fact that it is not a predator. They do, however, often stay near to water (hence the name), so you’ll know where to find them. It is best to hunt them by getting close, while walking in cover yourself. They are hard to hunt in thick cover, since they burst away in one crashing gallop. You may find them standing stealthily facing their pursuer and then suddenly break away from just a few yards away, so you have to be ready for this.

Thick cover and their thick skin is perhaps their best means of defense, the latter primarily because of the smell, which also contaminate the flesh with a taste making this an animal you wont hunt for the meat.


Hunting method

Shots can be places in various places, heart and lungs being good choices if possible, but you risk ruining the cape of the trophy if shooting in the neck. A shot straight at the shoulder should bring it down, if you aim correctly. You should have in mind that when injured, this large and very aggressive antelope can cause substantial damage with the horns.


Don’t forget your binoculars if you want to take them down in the open where it’s easiest. Whenever you sight females, you can be sure there is a male. Patience is what it takes to draw out the male, which is the only gender carrying horn. Be careful when placing your shot or you might end up spending much more time following the injured animal than it took stalking it.

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Know the animal


There are two types of waterbuck. The Common and the Defassa. They are both characterized by their shaggy brown and at times gray coats, but they can be distinguished by a white pattern that appears on the rump of the Common and white patches on either side of the rump of the Defassa.



They prefer areas that are close to the water like the savanna grasslands and the riverine woodlands. This is because not only do such places provide substance in terms of food and water, but the long grass that characterizes these habitats offers a good place to hide from predators. 



They are are grazers and feed exclusively on course grass that is rarely eaten by the other grazers. They also browse leaves from certain bushes and trees and usually feed in the morning and at night.



Primarily because of its size, this animal is usually hunted by a variety of carnivores like lions and cheetahs. Humans obviously hunt them too, mainly for the coat and the horns, which are usually kept as game trophies.


Life cycle

The gestation period for a female is about 280 days after which a single calf is born. After birth, the mother hides the calf and returns to suckle it four or five times a day. Each time, the suckling session is about five minutes long during which time the mother also cleans the calf to make sure that there is no smell that attracts predators.


The calves are weaned for about 8 months and they start grassing at a young age. Later on they form same sex groups and reach their adult weight at 3 years of age. The females are able to mate again within 2-5 weeks after giving birth.



They form herds that range anywhere between 6 to 30 animals. The groups inflate in number during the summer and fragment during winter.


Within these herds there are territory males. The young males are chased from the herd by the territory males as soon as they develop horns.

These young bachelor males start to look for herds of their own. The females are rarely aggressive but the males can be combative, especially when injured.

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Animal Facts

Weight and size

Males weigh about 250 kg, females about 180 kg.

Shoulder height: 1.3 m for males and 1m for females.



Usually found in the savanna grassland, woodlands as well as the riverine forests.



Mainly grazers.



Lions, leopards, cheetahs, crocodiles.


Life cycle

Lives for up to 18 years.

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You can hunt this animal in these countries: