Hunting Springbok is an age-old tradition steeped in the rich tapestry of African wildlife and culture, attracting enthusiasts from around the globe. The national animal of South Africa, the Springbuck or Springbok is an agile and graceful antelope, known for its distinctive leaping behavior, this species can prove to be a challenging yet rewarding quarry for hunters. Found primarily in the grass plains and open veld of southern Africa, these nimble animals have adapted to a variety of habitats. Read on to find out all you need to know about planning a hunt in South Africa, including Prices, Hunting Packages, best areas rifle calibers and bow hunting.

Description and Characteristics

The Springbuck (Antidorcas marsupialis) is a medium-sized antelope native to southern Africa, known for its remarkable agility and speed. Adult Springbuck stand approximately 75 to 100 centimeters tall at the shoulder and weigh between 22 and 50 kilograms, with rams being slightly larger than ewes. Their sleek, compact bodies are built for speed, enabling them to reach velocities of up to 90 kilometers per hour. Springbuck are characterized by a unique, curved horn shape that is present in both sexes, although the horns of males tend to be thicker and longer, averaging around 12 inches in length. The most striking feature of the Springbuck, however, is its incredible pronking behavior, which involves a series of high, arched leaps that can reach heights of up to four meters. This display of strength and agility serves as a warning to predators and a means of communication among Springbuck herds, showcasing their physical capabilities and reinforcing their status as one of Africa’s most iconic species.

Springbuck hunting - Springbuck ram on the African plains
Hunting Springbuck in South Africa

Color Variants

Springbuck exhibit a fascinating array of color variants, each a product of selective breeding or natural genetic mutations. The most prevalent is the common Springbuck, boasting a rich, reddish-brown coat with a distinctive white underbelly and a dark brown stripe running laterally along its flanks. Apart from the classic form, there are three other primary color variants that have gained popularity among breeders: the White Springbuck, Black Springbuck, and Copper Springbuck. The White Springbuck is characterized by its predominantly white coat, a result of leucism. Black Springbuck, as the name suggests, showcase a striking black or dark brown coat, with the lateral stripe often barely visible. Lastly, the Copper Springbuck displays a unique, deep copper hue throughout its coat, having a visually striking appearance.

Springbok Trophy Size

In the world of hunting, a Springbuck’s trophy size is determined by the length and shape of its horns, which serve as a testament to the animal’s age, vitality, and genetic quality. Both rams and ewes possess horns, but the males boast thicker, longer, and more prominently curved horns. Trophy size is typically measured using the length of each horn, the base circumference of the two horns. The Safari Club International scoring system is commonly employed to assess and compare Springbuck trophies. A trophy-class Springbuck typically exhibits horn lengths of 14 inches or more, with some exceptional specimens reaching 16 to 18 inches. The curvature of the horns, which is lyre-shaped has a more pronounced outward flare, and further contributes to the overall aesthetic appeal of the trophy. Minimum for Entry into Rowland Wards record book is 14 inches and minimum for SCI is a score of 30.

Best Locations for Hunting

South Africa boasts an abundance of prime locations for Springbok hunts, offering a diverse range of terrains and ecosystems for hunters to experience. The Eastern Cape, with its vast expanses of grasslands and bushveld, is a popular destination, home to significant populations of all four color variants of Springbuck. The Northern Cape, particularly in the Kalahari and Karoo regions, also provides excellent opportunities for Springbuck, as these arid areas with their sparse vegetation offer the perfect habitat for these agile antelopes. The Free State, another productive hunting destination, features rolling plains and picturesque landscapes that have healthy populations of Springbuck. Additionally, many game reserves and hunting concessions scattered throughout these regions offer hunting opportunities.

Rifles and Calibers for Hunts

Selecting the appropriate rifle hunting, flat shooting caliber for Springbok is important for a successful hunt. Given the Springbuck’s medium size, agility, and speed, it is important to choose a rifle that provides a combination of accuracy, and flat trajectory. A flat-shooting, medium-caliber rifle is typically preferred, with popular choices including the .243 Winchester, 6.5mm Creedmoor, .270 Winchester, and .308 Winchester. These calibers provide a good trajectory, enabling hunters to make clean, humane shots at various distances, which can range from 100 to 350 yards, depending on the terrain and hunting pressure. When it comes to bullet selection, premium controlled-expansion bullets are recommended, as they ensure adequate penetration and energy transfer, resulting in an ethical harvest. Pairing the right rifle and caliber with proper shooting techniques will greatly enhance the overall hunting experience and contribute to success.

Black Springbuck trophy hunting
Hunting a Springbuck ram

Rifle Scopes and Optics for Hunting in South Africa

Equipping your rifle with a suitable scope for Springbok hunting is crucial to ensure accurate shot placement. Given the varying terrains and distances that may be encountered during a Springbuck hunt, a versatile scope with a variable magnification range is highly recommended. A popular choice among hunters is a 4-12x or 6-15x magnification scope, which provides sufficient flexibility to adapt to different shooting distances and situations. Quality glass and lens coatings are essential for maximizing light transmission and providing a clear, crisp image of the target, especially during dawn and dusk when Springbuck are most active.

Best Shot Placement on a Hunt

Achieving the best shot placement on a Springbuck is essential for an ethical and efficient harvest, ensuring a quick dispatch of the animal. As with most antelope species, the most effective and recommended shot placement is the heart-lung area, which can be found directly behind the shoulder and slightly below the dark stripe. A well-placed shot in this region will cause extensive damage to vital organs, resulting in rapid blood loss and a swift demise. To successfully target the heart-lung area, it is crucial for the hunter to be familiar with the Springbuck’s anatomy and to wait for the animal to present a broadside or slightly quartering-away angle.

Bow Hunting Springbuck

Bow hunting Springbuck offers a unique challenge for those seeking a more intimate and stealthy approach to the hunt for these agile antelope. As opposed to rifle hunting, bow hunting demands patience, skill, and a deep understanding of the animal’s behavior. Stalking Springbuck requires the hunter to move quietly and inconspicuously, using the terrain, vegetation, and wind direction to their advantage while closing the distance to within an effective bow range, which is typically around 20 to 40 yards. This close-quarters interaction with the Springbuck adds an element of excitement and fosters a strong connection with the species.

Another popular strategy for bow hunting Springbuck is hunting from a ground blind. Ground blinds are carefully concealed structures, positioned near frequented areas such as waterholes or grazing spots, which provide hunters with an unobtrusive view. By hunting from a ground blind, the hunter can patiently wait for the Springbuck to approach within bow range, allowing for a well-placed shot at the animal’s vital organs.

Bow Hunting Equipment

Selecting the appropriate bow hunting equipment for Springbuck is critical for a successful harvest. Bow speed and trajectory play a significant role in ensuring accurate shot placement on these agile animals. Modern compound bows or high-performance recurve bows, with a draw weight of 50 to 70 pounds, are typically favored for their ability to generate sufficient energy and speed to penetrate the Springbuck’s vital organs effectively.

Lighter arrows, weighing between 380 to 450 grains, are often recommended for hunting Springbuck, as they provide a flatter trajectory and faster flight, which help compensate for any slight misjudgment in distance or unexpected movement by the animal. Combining these lighter arrows with mechanical broad heads, which have expandable cutting blades that deploy upon impact, ensures maximum damage to the vital organs while maintaining the arrow’s aerodynamic qualities during flight.

Springbuck in open grassland
Hunting Springbuck

Springbuck Prices and costs of a Hunting Safari

Standalone prices for a Springbuck hunting Safari is $ 650.

Common Springbuck $ 650.

White Springbuck $ 1550.

Black Springbuck $ 1550.

Copper Springbuck $ 1950.

Daily rates for a Springbuck hunt are:

  • Hunting 2 on 1 (2 hunters sharing a Professional Hunter) @ $ 350 per hunter per day.
  • Hunting 1 on 1 (the hunter has the services of the Professional Hunter to himself) @ $ 450 per hunter per day.

The daily rates include:

  • Accommodation in a hunt lodge
  • Meals
  • Soft drinks
  • The services of a Professional Hunter
  • Field preparation of trophies
  • Delivery of trophies to the Taxidermist
  • Road transportation to and from Johannesburg International Airport

Springbok Hunters Packages

Grand Slam Package $ 8 100

This is an all-inclusive hunt package for one person in South Africa.

Hunting either 1 X 1 or 2 X 1. This plains game hunting package includes Accommodation, meals, the services of a Professional Hunter, Field preparation of trophies, road transport to and from JHB International Airport,  All day fees for 7 days and  the Springbuck Grand Slam – 4  X Springbuck species – 1 x Common Springbuck – 1 x White Springbuck – 1 x Black Springbuck – and 1 x Copper Springbuck.

FAQ’S Frequently asked Questions

What is the best rifle caliber for Springbok?

The 6.5 Creedmoor is the perfect caliber for Springbuck. With premium 120-140 gr bullets it has a flat trajectory and more than enough hitting power to effectively down Springbuck at any regular hunting distance you might encounter.

What does a Springbok Safari cost?

Standalone prices for a Springbuck hunting Safari are as follows:

Common Springbuck $ 650

White Springbuck $ 1550

Black Springbuck $ 1550

Copper Springbuck $ 1950

Daily rates for a Springbuck hunt are:

  • Hunting 2 on 1 (2 hunters sharing a Professional Hunter) @ $ 350 per hunter per day.
  • Hunting 1 on 1 (the hunter has the services of the Professional Hunter to himself) @ $ 450 per hunter per day.

Where is the best place for Springbuck?

The Northern Cape, particularly in the Kalahari and Karoo regions, also provides excellent opportunities for Springbuck, as these arid areas with their sparse vegetation offer the perfect habitat for these agile antelopes.

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.