Kudu Hunting Tips
Africa's trophy kudu is one of game hunters' most sought-after animals, next to the impala. The kudu, which is separated into various subspecies, is seen throughout the continent of Africa, from South Africa to southern Angola.
Most game hunters pursue the male kudu bull for its long, spiraled horns. Although their numbers are extensive and locating them easy enough, harvesting a kudu with a 55" to 60" horn is a bit difficult. Successful kudu hunting for a trophy bull is plausible with different methods, and knowing where to find them is the key to that success. So when is the best time for kudu hunts?
- In the morning, along the animal trails near feeding areas
- During the day, near watering holes
- During the evening, when the animals look for foraging spots
Southern Greater Kudu
Plains game hunters tend to think first of the Southern Greater Kudu when they're going kudu hunting, and that's because it's got the most massive horn of every species, with the most extensive measuring 72 inches. South Africa's Allday area is the home of the current horn record 68 ¼ inches long.
How are the kudu horns measured? Previously, the horns were measured straight from the base to their tip. In 1986, the measurement was changed to measure the spiral, increasing the length of the horn. Southern Greater kudu can have a 60-inch horn, but it's more common to be in the 50-to-55-inch range. About 4% of harvested kudus have a horn measurement of 60 inches or more.
The Southern Greater kudu has doubled its population, with modern game ranchers spending time to make the breed better and increase its size. These antelope can weigh a whopping 600 pounds (and more), with the male's hair color ranging from brown to grey and standing 44 inches at the shoulder. While kudu hunting can be pursued throughout the continent, South Africa is the best place to hunt.
The population has risen, which has seen its numbers go into the Karoo and other adjacent lands. Part of that reason is the private game hunters improving their habitats and managing the numbers. In addition, south African game breeders have successfully bred kudus with an average of 61-inch horns.
Eastern Cape Kudu
This animal species is found solely in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province. In 1977, near the Port Elizabeth area, there was a 58-3/8 inch horn record. These Cape animals are slightly smaller than Southern Greater kudu and have heavier and shorter horns. The Eastern Cape kudu is considered a sub-species and not easily distinguished from the Southern greater kudu. Due to the intermingling of this breed and the northern South African species, it's challenging to find and hunt a genuine Eastern Cape kudu.
The best place to find the Eastern Cape kudu is along the Indian Ocean coast to the semi-arid Karoo.
Best Places for Kudu Hunts in South Africa
When searching for the kudu hunting spots, the best regions will be in North Africa:
- Kwa-Zulu Natal Province
- Limpopo Province
- North West Province
Their habitat tends to be heavy-forested and precipitous terrain with little to no roads or roads in deplorable conditions. As a result, kudu hunts often require more walking, hiking, climbing, waiting, and watching to find the perfect trophy kudu. In many cases, the hunter will begin their hunt before dawn to ensure they get close to the kudu hunting spots.
When looking for the right kudu, you can overlook other notable trophies. But, if you want the 60-inch plus kudu that makes you the envy of your hunting buddies, it's a task worth doing right.
Do Live Animal Auctions Affect Kudu Prices?
No doubt, live animal auctions affect the prices people pay for the 60-inch kudu, and these prices are changing the South African landscape. The costs for prime bulls go into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, with an average 60-inch bull fetching more than US$10,000 in an auction and ensuring hunters don't hunt for anything less. Ranchers will capture the animals from a helicopter to haul them to the nearest game auction at these prices.
Some places have implemented a trophy fee schedule envelops the horn's length measurement. Hunters pay more money the longer the horn is. The majority have a trophy fee price list of Price on Request for the 60-inch or larger kudu. While some places let hunters pursue the largest kudu they find, the concessions that allow this are dwindling.
Finding and capturing a 55 to 59-inch kudu can net you a reasonable offer at auction, and now and then, the farmer will release the older 60-inch bull for a smaller price.
Field Measuring Kudu Horns
You must quickly know the horn's length before shooting, but how do you do this? It can be challenging to judge the kudu horns, as the widespread horns look longer than the narrower horns. Also, the horns will look bigger if you're looking at the kudu from a hill. The key here is to do some research. You need to read up on the trophy kudu, visit a zoo or wild animal park or even see mounts at a hunting convention.
A good trophy kudu has 48 inches or more horn, but the average horn size is in the 50-inch range. Fifty-five inches or more is a great trophy. However, at 60+ inches, the hunter becomes the envy of other trophy kudu hunters. To find those kudus, look for three full curl horns that look deep and close together and are relatively narrow.
The Best Kudu Hunting Rifles Are…
You may wonder what the best rifle is for kudu hunting. There's been much talk about this very subject. Trophy kudus typically weigh 600 pounds and are about 63 inches tall. To ethically harvest a kudu, you need to consider rifles with a lot of power. For instance, you can use a .30 Magnum with its 180-grain bullet from 350-400 yards. A .375 has a 270-grain bullet with more energy and is the choice of many professional hunters.
For kudu hunts, you want more power, not less. So use quality bullets such as the Speer Trophy Bonded Bear Claw or Hornady DGX. These bullets have controlled expansion and excellent weight retention qualities.
Kudu Shot Placement Tips
It's preferable to shoot in the heart and lung area, but a head or neck shot is also acceptable (though it does take more work to get just right). The key to getting the heart and lung shot is to aim behind the foreleg and go up the body a third. When you shoot here, the kudu won't get very far afterward.
Hunting Booking Agents
Charity Safaris offers excellent kudu hunting in the Limpopo Province of South Africa and the Free State. Our outfitters can put you on kudu hunts that produce trophies in the 54 to 60-inch plus range. They also offer Kudu/Sable hunting packages at very competitive pricing. Contact us today to plan a hunt of a lifetime.