Kudu are one of the iconic antelope of Africa and perhaps the most hunted due to their abundance and distribution across the continent.
One of Africa’s most stately and sought after game animals, the kudu is widespread and classified into many different subspecies mainly along geographical variances yet they all sport those magnificent spiral curled horns which never fails to quicken the heartbeat.
Hunting kudu remains on the top of the list for just about every hunter who comes to Africa. He is probably second only to the impala as Africa’s most sought-after plains game trophy. The kudu is a big antelope with a stately bearing. He is strikingly beautiful, with long spiral horns that set him apart from all other of the antelope species.
The ‘grey ghost’, as he has been nicknamed, sports a coat of pale-grey to brownish-grey with white vertical stripes down the flank. He has a distinctive white chevron marking between his eyes, which set off the very long spiral horns carried only by the bulls. Kudu cows look very similar to the males and, while they lack horns, their ears are quite prominent and beautiful. Both sexes display white beneath the tail and have a conspicuous hump on the shoulder. Hunting kudu is best accomplished in the bushveld, where leaves, fresh sprouts, seedpods, and fresh grass are abundant.
Kudu are browsers, feeding in the early morning and late afternoon and standing in shade during the heat of the day. They form small family groups usually consisting of cows and young and during the mating season there is always a bull in attendance. Bulls will normally form bachelor herds which can reach up to 10 or more animals however the older bulls remain solitary for much of their lives.
The best time for hunting kudu is early morning or late evening, by walking or glassing from vantage points such as hills and across plains and dambos. Sometimes they are quite inquisitive and will give the hunter ample opportunity for a shot.
There are hunters who believe the best time to find them is midday as they stand beneath shaded trees and form a dark outline which is clearly visible instead of blending in with their surroundings. Bulls also tend to rest by lying down and if you are vigilant and glass an area well you’ll pick up the protruding horns between the brush and grass.
As with all species, when hunting kudu, shot placement is paramount. The neck or head shot can ruin a trophy so rule it out! The high heart/lung shot is the ticket here. Bring your sights directly up the foreleg about one third into the body and squeeze; this shot effectively takes out the plumbing from the heart and your kudu will not go far.