Hunting Roan in Southern Africa

Hunting Roan in Southern Africa
Hunting Roan in Southern Africa

One of the most popular indigenous species in Southern Africa's more northern reaches, game ranching has spread its territory into the Kalahari and Free State.

The roan antelope is known for his strawberry tint with long, pointed ears with tufted tips. The roan is a beautiful and majestic animal with a mask-like facial pattern reminiscent of the gemsbok, which is why it is colloquially known in Afrikaans as bastergemsbok. However, professional hunters prefer to compare the roan more to sable. Either way, the roan is a magnificent addition to any hunting trophy collection, and the hunt itself is an experience that will be treasured for years to come.

Only the eland surpasses the roan in size. Roans weigh approximately 594 lb and measure 4.29-4.62 ft at shoulder height. While roan bulls and cows both have horns with a strong backward curve, the female's are shorter, more slender and less heavily ridged than that of the bull. The roan tends to graze on leaves, herbs, grasses and desert succulents on the wide open grassy African savannas and wooded areas near watering holes.

Roan antelopes can be found in smallish herds that tend to stick together for years. Herds are led by a dominant female and usually only have one adult bull. Young males, who are exiled from herds when they reach sexual maturity, join bachelor groups. Roans use unusual whistling sounds to communicate. A high-pitched squeal conveys anger, while a horse-like snort signals alarm. A low hissing sound indicates that the roan is wounded.

Dominant bulls will ferociously defend their cows against other bulls. They will kneel down and clash horns, push and shove until one of the bulls yields. These high intensity contests rarely causes serious injury.


This majestic and regal antelope is knows for its spectacular horns


Roan Fact Sheet

Scientific Name: Hippotragus equinus
Males Weight: 230 - 320kg
Females Weight: 200 - 250kg
Height: 1.3 - 1.6m
Length: 2.3 - 2.8m


Roan Hunting Considerations

When hunting roan antelope, the hunter should steer well away from the backward sweep of those powerful horns. Don't let the calm gracefulness of a roan roaming the savanna fool you; when wounded, it will become aggressive and can be a dangerous quarry.

Roan antelope can be found around watering holes in the afternoon, or feeding in the open veldt at first light. Bulls tend to be rather cocky and quite easy to approach, but they may go as far as to charge at you, using their scimitar-like horns as a weapon.

Due to the size of the roan antelope, your professional hunter will advise that you carry sufficient gun power and ammunition. The minimum legal minimum would be a .270 Win. Heavier calibers are a much better options, which is why we recommend the .375 H&H, 9.3mm or .338 magnum.

Always speak to your professional hunter and get specific recommendations based on your hunting package and the species included. The roan is a heavy animal and it can be dangerous when wounded.

Shot Placement

As with other antelope species, the heart or lung shot approximately one third up the body from the front leg is the best for side-presentations. Alternatively, aim for the area where the body meets the neck for a spinal or neck shot, and dead in the chest if the roan presents a full frontal shot.


Hunting Roan in Southern Africa

Roan Shot Placement


Hunting Roan in Southern Africa

Roan Shot Placement


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