Why go impala hunting? The reasons are hard to count—this is one of the most popular game animals in Africa. It’s often considered an excellent choice for opening up a first safari, and it’s a great bait animal as well, believed by many to be the leopard’s favorite food. The meat is excellent and a favorite post-hunt meal for many sportsmen and outfitters. Then there’s the matter of the trophy: the long, curving horns make for an excellent skull or shoulder mount, and its coat of many colors makes it very tempting to ship the entire animal home. The real question is why wouldn’t you want to go on an impala hunt?
The impala can be found everywhere from South Africa and Botswana north to Kenya, as well as in Namibia and Angola, the home countries of the rare black-faced impala. They are one of the most common antelope on the continent with numbers ranging around two million, and virtually every African country represented by GSS offers opportunities for impala hunting.
The impala has a very distinctive multihued coat. The majority is reddish and gives it its Afrikaans name, rooibok (red buck). It suddenly becomes lighter along the flanks, then turns pure white on the belly and under parts. A black stripe down the center of the tail forms an M with two diagonal black stripes down either side of the rump, and white and black markings are present on the face, chin and legs. The black-faced impala is larger and has a distinctive black stripe running from its nose to its forehead.
Most impala stand about three feet tall at the shoulder. Males are significantly heavier than females and can weigh as much as 180 pounds.
Only males carry horns. Their multiple graceful curves form a lyre shape averaging about 20 inches. Anything at least an inch above average is trophy length, but if you find one with horns greater than 30 inches long during your impala hunt then you’ve got a real monster on your hands. Don’t miss!
The best time to go on your impala hunt is during the rut, when the strongest males (who often—but not always—make the best trophies) will be traveling with herds of females. Take note that this situation will call for more careful shooting, especially if you’re using a large-caliber rifle loaded with solids—the last thing you want to do is wound the females and young after your bullet passes through the ram. The impala’s tendency to group together tightly when frightened makes this even trickier.
The most commonly recommended rifles for impala hunting are those ranging from 6mm to .30 caliber. High lung shots are the best choice for bringing your target down quickly without spoiling the meat; heart shots are excellent if you are mostly interested in the trophy and want to be absolutely sure he doesn’t go anywhere.
Call Global Sporting Safaris today at 888-850-4868, Extension 701 and let us know what type of impala hunting experience you are looking for. We’ll send you information on opportunities that match your goals. Our experienced outfitters are second to none and we’re happy to share personal experiences with you.