Hunting Golden Wildebeest in Southern Africa

Hunting Golden Wildebeest in Southern Africa
Hunting Golden Wildebeest in Southern Africa

An exotic mutation of the black and blue wildebeest, the golden wildebeest,  or golden gnu as it was named by the Khoi (Hottentot) is a beautiful animal and highly sought after by hunters from around the world. Like its cousins, it was named for the loud snorting sound it makes. In the 1920s, early farmers referred to them as red wildebeest or Vos wildebeest. Alec Rough first captured the golden wildebeest bull in the early 90s in the Limpopo River basin near Botswana.

At first, golden wildebeests were rumored to be crosses between black and blue wildebeests, but extensive testing by nature conservation officials proved the accusations as untrue. The color variation is caused by a recessive gene, similar to that which causes blue eyes in humans.

These beautiful animals have a distinctive golden color, often with dark brown vertical stripes across the chest. Apart from the color difference, they resemble black wildebeest. They are stocky and ox-like in appearance with a golden beard and mane and round, curved horns and pointed ears. They have long lashes and hair on their noses. Their large chests and shoulders make them appear much larger from a distance than they really are up close. A mature bull weighs approximately 300 lbs and stands up to 50" tall at shoulder height.

Cows and calves are typically found in groups of between ten and 150 with one dominant male. Territorial breeding bulls tend to be mostly solitary. The male golden wildebeest form bachelor groups consisting of non-active dominant adult bulls and young bulls.

As with the black wildebeest, both male and female golden wildebeest have horns, with the cow horns being narrower and shorter. Adult bulls have heavily bossed horns. The bulls are typically larger and heavier than the cows.


The blue wildebeest is an ox-like member of the antelope species


Golden Wildebeest Fact Sheet

Scientific Name: Connochaetes taurinus
Gestation Period: 8½ months
Male Weight: 290 kg
Female Weight: 260 kg
Male Height: 1.1 - 1.4 m
Female Height: 1.7 - 2.4m


Golden Wildebeest Hunting Considerations

The walking and stalking wildebeest hunting method works best early in the morning while the animals are grazing. Golden wildebeest make for an interesting and challenging hunt, because the animals are very alert and will canter away hysterically when they perceive a threat.

The minimum caliber for golden wildebeest hunting in open terrain is a .270 with 150-grain bullet. A better choice would be a .300 magnum or 7mm mag with premium heavy-for-caliber bullets. If you're hunting golden wildebeest in the bushveld, opt for a larger caliber, such as a 9.3mm or even a .375. If you're unsure, speak to your professional hunter.

Shot Placement

It is important to factor in the substantial shoulder hump when placing your shot. Don't aim too high!

Line up from behind the back edge of the animal's foreleg and approximately one third up into the torso for a heart-lung shot. Be careful not to go above the horizontal mid-line, or you will simply wound the animal.

As in the case of the black wildebeest, the golden wildebeest can also become very aggressive when wounded, so if you are unsure about shot placement, take your professional hunter's advice.

Hunting Golden Wildebeest in Southern Africa

Golden Wildebeest Shot Placement


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