The magnificent creature known as the giant oryx, or the Gemsbok, is a remarkable animal that thrives in open country and endures the harshest conditions. This species, native to the Kalahari, can survive for months without surface water, absorbing moisture from the food it consumes. As a social herd animal, the Gemsbok is primarily a grazer but will also browse when necessary.
Both sexes of the Gemsbok possess spear-like horns that are extremely dangerous and deadly when injured, cornered, or threatened. The female of the species, known as the cow, is slightly smaller in body size but has longer and more slender horns than the male, known as the bull. The cow's horns tend to curve slightly backward, while the bull's horns are thicker and straighter. It's worth noting that the cow's horns tend to be longer and more impressive than those of the bull, so keep that in mind when assessing the trophy.
Hunting Gemsbok requires sturdy boots because you will be covering a lot of open country. You will also need a flat-shooting rifle and scope combination that can handle the demands of the open terrain. The Gemsbok is highly alert, possesses excellent eyesight, hearing, and sense of smell, so any approach will need to be carefully planned.
The Gemsbok is one of the toughest antelopes to hunt, and you will need a minimum of a .270 caliber rifle with a good quality 150 grain bullet. An even better choice is a 7mm or 30 caliber Magnum. Spitzer bullets work well in open country, but if you're hunting Gemsbok in the bush, heavy-for-caliber round nose bullets at modest velocities will do the job without the risk of deflection.
One thing to watch out for is the Gemsbok's predominant humped shoulder, which can trick you into shooting too high. To avoid this, aim for the back line of the front leg and squeeze the trigger when the target is about one-third into the body. Never shoot above the horizontal midline of the antelope unless you're in need of a good day's hike. Hunting Gemsbok will provide a magnificent trophy, and the meat is one of the most delicious on the African continent.
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