Roan Antelopes are one of the largest and most striking antelope species in Africa. They are known for their distinct reddish-brown coats, white eyebrows, and long, sharp horns. Roan Antelopes are highly sought after by hunters due to their impressive size and beauty. However, hunting Roan Antelopes requires careful preparation, knowledge of the animal’s behavior, and adherence to ethical hunting practices.

Roan Antelope hunting is a popular activity among big game hunters, but it is important to note that there are legal restrictions in place to protect Roan Antelope populations. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to Roan Antelope hunting, including the legalities of hunting, where to find Roan Antelopes, hunting gear and accessories, preparing for a hunt, tips for success, conservation efforts, and ethical considerations.

The Roan Antelope

CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Artiodactyla
FAMILY: Bovidae

The roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus) is a savanna antelope with a horse-like build (they even smell similar to horses), and one of the largest species of African game. Only eland and cape buffalo are larger. Similar in appearance to sable, the two species are sometimes confused although sable are darker. These unique animals have long, elf-like ears tipped with tassels of black hair. Found in West, Central, East and Southern Africa in woodland and grassland savanna, they are herd animals and will be in groups of five to 35 individuals.

They are mostly grazing animals, but when grass becomes scarce, they revert readily to browsing. This is something that is somewhat unique to them, as even their close relative the sable cannot do this. Because of this, they are able to survive droughts and hard times better than sable do. They are dependent on water, however.

Like many African plains game species, roan antelope don’t have a fixed breeding season so calves can be born any time of year. There is usually one dominant bull in a herd with separate bachelor herds of younger bulls. Sometimes, the bulls will fight and have an interesting method of getting down on their knees and clashing horns.

Where to Find Roan Antelopes

Roan Antelopes can be found in several African countries, including Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. They prefer open savanna and woodland habitats, and are often found near water sources such as rivers and lakes.

Roan Antelope

Roan Conservation Efforts

Threats to Roan Antelope Populations

Roan Antelope populations are threatened by habitat loss and poaching. It is important to support conservation efforts to protect these magnificent animals. Listed by IUCN as lower risk, conservation dependent and is on CITES Appendix III in Ghana.

The Role of Hunting in Conservation

Hunting can play a role in conservation efforts by providing funding for habitat protection and anti-poaching efforts. Free roaming populations of roan antelope have declined dramatically in recent years as a result of habitat deterioration, poaching, agricultural encroachment, and have been slaughtered deliberately in tsetse fly control efforts. However, due to conservation efforts by hunters (mostly in South Africa), they have made an incredible comeback.

Roan Antelope Hunting

Roan antelope are wary, have good eyesight and sense of smell. They are very aggressive and remarkably tough. Usually a roan is part of a plains game package, but they can also be combined with a buffalo hunt in Mozambique. It makes sense to do it this way as your day fees are already taken care of. Our hunting concession in Mozambique holds a good number of mature roan bulls measuring up to an amazing 30 inches.

Roan antelope hunting is done by spot-and-stalk and tracking. You will often spot them from the safari vehicle, but ethical hunting is not done from the vehicle. Expect to do some walking on your hunt. Some hunters expect a roan hunt to be easy since they are so large, but it is fairly difficult.

We suggest that you hunt between April and October as the weather is dryer, cooler, and more pleasant. The visibility is also better this time of year because the leaves have fallen from the trees and brush.

Roan Antelope
Large mature roan bull taken in South Africa where they are numerous thanks to hunters

Shot Placement

Good shot placement is required when hunting roan antelope. Don’t be under-gunned; they are heavy, tough, aggressive, and therefore potentially dangerous quarry. Absolute minimum would be the .270 Win with the 30 calibers and even larger being a much better choice. Your best bet for hunting roan antelope is a good .338 magnum, the 9.3mm or the trusty .375 H&H. The high heart/lung shot “on the shoulder” is where you’ll want to put it; straight up the front leg one-third into the body.

Trophy Expectations

A quality mature roan bull will be a minimum of 26″. Bulls up to 30″ have been taken on our hunting concessions. A Roland Ward bull will measure 28″.

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Outdoors International

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My hunt was absolutely top notch.

The outfitter is a fantastic man and incredibly hard working and knowledgeable, there is no doubt he will do everything within his power to make peoples hunts successful and enjoyable. I plan to do it again with him next year for sure.

Wade Zuver

Our hunt was excellent.

We saw bucks every day along with all other sorts of wildlife. Mountain goats, bears, and foxes were common sights. Fishing and crabbing was special bonus. The food was excellent, the crew was amazing. Outdoors International did a great job of finding exactly what we were looking for.

Jesse Neveau

What an amazing experience!

The hunting lodge was out of this world!, Rooms, food and the scenery were all A+. Our guide was exceptional and had us on Shiras moose all five days. We saw over 30 total with at least 10 bulls. They had a plan for everything including taxidermy and game processing.

Kayla Redmon