Hunting Red Hartebeest offers the seasoned hunter an opportunity to pursue this agile speedster of the African plains. Their unique horn shape will add another dimension to your trophy room. If you are planning a Safari hunt in South Africa this article will answer all the questions you may have including Prices, Hunting Packages, trophy sizes, best areas and rifle calibers for these unique animals.

Hunting a Red Hartebeest Bull in Long Grass
Cross bow Hunting - Red Hartebeest in South Africa.

Description and Characteristics

The Red Hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus caama) is a visually striking, medium-sized antelope native to the grasslands and highveld of southern Africa. These magnificent animals are distinguished by their reddish-brown coat, elongated, narrow face, and unique curved horns that arc back and upwards, forming a heart shape. Red Hartebeests are renowned for their exceptional speed and stamina, boasting the ability to maintain speeds of up to 40 miles per hour over considerable distances. Males typically weigh between 330 and 440 pounds, while females weigh between 220 and 330 pounds, with both sexes standing approximately 4 to 5 feet tall at the shoulder. Both bulls and cows carry horns. This species forms part of the plains game group of animals.

Trophy Size

When after Red Hartebeests, trophy size is primarily determined by the length, thickness, and shape of the horns. A sought-after bull typically features horns measuring 20 inches or more in length, with a pronounced curve and an impressive spread. A good Hartebeest will have heavy horn bases, a wide bell shape and long horn tips. Both Rowland Ward and Safari Club International keep record books for this species. Minimum for entry into RW is 23 inches and SCI requires a score of 63.

Best Locations for Hartebeest Hunting

Red Hartebeests are widely distributed across southern Africa, with prime locations found in countries such as South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. Top destinations include the Eastern Cape, Limpopo Province, and Free State. In Namibia, the huge, open plains and bushveld provide opportunities for pursuing this species. Private game reserves and concessions in these countries offer well-managed, sustainable hunting experiences that are easily available to visiting sportsmen.

Rifles and Calibers for Hartebeest Hunts

Selecting a suitable rifle hunting caliber is important for a successful Hartebeest trip. Due to the animal’s body size and tenacity, medium to large caliber rifles are recommended. Popular choices include the .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, and the 7mm Remington Magnum. These calibers offer a combination of power, accuracy, and manageable recoil that make them well suited for taking down Red Hartebeest. Bullets should be of the premium, controlled expansion type in weights of 150 – 180 gr for best performance.

Red Hartebeest hunt - young hunter and Red Hartebeest
Red Hartebeest hunting - Bull lying in the grass

Rifle Scopes and Optics for Hunting Red Hartebeest

A high-quality rifle scope is important for enhancing shooting accuracy when hunting Red Hartebeest. A variable magnification scope, ranging from 3- 9x or 4- 12x, is recommended, as it provides the flexibility to adjust for varying shooting distances. The scope should have a robust, weather-resistant construction to ensure optimal performance in the harsh environments and dust conditions often encountered during Red Hartebeest hunts. This type of rifle scope should be sighted in at 150 – 200 yards.

Best Shot Placement

Ethical shot placement is of paramount importance when hunting Red Hartebeest. The ideal shot aims for the heart-lung area, located just behind the shoulder in the lower third of the animal’s body. This shot placement maximizes the chances of hitting vital organs, resulting in an ethical kill. Neck shots can be effective but require a higher level of skill and precision due to the smaller target area. Hunters should only attempt neck shots if they are confident in their shooting abilities and have a good, solid rest.

Bow Hunting Hartebeest

Bow hunting Red Hartebeests presents a challenge that demands exceptional skill, stealth, and patience. Due to their keen senses and incredible speed, bow hunters must be adept at stalking their quarry and getting within close range, typically 30 to 50 yards, to ensure an effective and ethical shot. A bow hunt in South Africa for Red Hartebeests allows hunters to experience the thrill of a more primitive and intimate method. Most Bow hunted Hartebeest are shot from either a good bow blind or tree stand over water or feed.

Bow Hunting Equipment

When preparing for a Red Hartebeest bow hunt, selecting the right equipment is essential. A high-quality compound or recurve bow with a minimum draw weight of 60 to 70 pounds is recommended, as Hartebeests require a reasonable amount of power for a clean, humane kill. Durable arrows made of carbon fiber combined with razor-sharp, fixed-blade or mechanical broad heads with a cutting diameter one and a quarter inches, ensure optimal penetration and damage to vital organs. Arrow weight should be in the region of 450-550 gr.

In addition to the bow and arrows, essential bow gear includes camouflage clothing, comfortable and sturdy footwear, and a rangefinder for accurately judging distances. Equipping yourself with the right bow gear will not only improve your chances of success but also enhance your overall experience in the captivating African bush.

Red Hartebeest on the open plains of South Africa.
Bow Hunting red Hartebeest - trophy bull

Red Hartebeest Prices and costs of a Hunting Safari

The trophy fee or price to hunt a Red Hartebeest is $ 1 700.

This price does not include the day fee of $ 350 per hunter per day, hunting 2 on 1 (Two hunters sharing one Professional Hunter).

A five day African Safari including the day fee and trophy fee will cost $ 3 450.

Packages in South Africa

A Red Hartebeest package for 4 plains game species will cost $ 5 800.

This is a 7 day package including 1 X Red Hartebeest, 1 X Blue Wildebeest, 1 X Blesbok and 1 X Springbuck or Impala.

Included in this package hunt:

  • Accommodation in a hunt lodge
  • Meals
  • Water and soft drinks
  • The services of a Professional Hunter and his tracker
  • Field preparation of trophies
  • Delivery of trophies to the Taxidermist

Road transportation to and from Johannesburg International Airport


Hunting Hartebeest  offers an unforgettable adventure for hunters seeking a thrilling and challenging hunt in the awe-inspiring landscapes of southern Africa. Whether hunting Red Hartebeest with a rifle or a bow, success requires skill, patience, and a deep understanding of the animals behavior patterns and habitat.

FAQ’S Frequently asked Questions

How much does it cost to hunt Red Hartebeest?

A Red Hartebeest standalone hunt for five days will cost $ 3 450. This hunt will include the following: Accommodation, Meals, Water and soft drinks, The services of a Professional Hunter and his tracker, Field preparation of your trophies, Delivery of your trophies to the local Taxidermist and Road transportation to and from Johannesburg International Airport.

Additional costs to consider include travel expenses, taxidermy, and shipping of your trophies back home. Prices are subject to change, and it’s essential to consult with your outfitter for the most accurate and up-to-date pricing.

What is the best shot placement on Red Hartebeest?

The ideal shot placement on Red Hartebeest is in the heart-lung area, located just behind the shoulder in the lower third of the animal’s body. This shot placement maximizes the chances of hitting vital organs, resulting in an ethical kill. Neck shots can be effective but require a higher level of skill and precision due to the smaller target area. Hunters should only attempt neck shots if they are confident in their shooting abilities, the animal is not too far and they have a good, solid shooting rest.

What is the best rifle caliber for Red Hartebeest?

The best rifle caliber for Red Hartebeest is the 7mm Remington Magnum.

The 7mm Remington Magnum is a popular choice for hunting Hartebeest. It offers excellent accuracy, a flat trajectory, and sufficient power to take down the animal at all normal hunting distances in Africa. This caliber should be combined with premium, controlled expansion bullets weighing 160 – 170 gr for best results.

Caliber choice largely depends on personal preference regarding recoil and your personal shooting ability.

Adrian Anderson has been a Licensed Professional Hunter and Hunting Outfitter for 32 years

Adrian Anderson first obtained his Professional Hunters license in 1991. He is a Big Five and Dangerous Game licensed Professional Hunter and Hunting Outfitter. He has a tremendous love for wildlife and the African bush and enjoys sharing his knowledge with the hunting clients that he guides. Guiding hunters in Africa’s wild places is a passion and seeing them succeed with their goals brings satisfaction. With knowledge of the Safari industry built up over 32 years he is well qualified to give guidance to his hunting clients.