Hunting gemsbok in Texas.

Dustin Catrett: Texas Gemsbok Hunt Report

Texas Exotics Hunt

November, 2023

Less than a hundred yards away the striking white blaze of the gemsbok face stands in stark contrast against the gray twisted trunk and olive toned hues of the mesquite. As the big antelope bull silently moved through the brush, its large taupe colored shoulder filled the crosshairs of my scope with a massive target. Once stopped I clicked the rifle’s safety off while simultaneously twisting the scope’s zoom to 10. “Wait,” whispered my guide Sterling, his eyes firmly pressed into his binocular. Just then two gemsbok cows nervously stopped in front of the bull alerting it to our presence. “Once they clear, you better shoot quick,” he advised. After a tense stare-down they turned and hastily galloped past the bull leaving me with an open shot for the moment. Whoomph the audible wallop of the 195-grain bullet fired from the suppressed 28 Nosler rippled through the bull’s shoulder leaving no doubt it was a solid hit. “Good shot,” smiled Sterling, as we watched it crash through the brush.

After a ten-minute wait and short 50-yard track Sterling discovered it expired within a patch of prickly pear. The gorgeous bull was huge with heavy horns nearing 33 inches in length. After a few celebratory photos Sterling called several more ranch staff to our location to assist with loading the big animal up to take back to the processing facility.

Herd of oryx. One of the most popular exotic species with hunters.

I’ve always loved the look of the gemsbok as it makes for the quintessential trophy of an African safari. It’s distinctive black and white face markings appear like the painted mask of a tribal warrior complete with long straight spear-like horns. The largest of the oryx family, the gemsbok bull can weigh up to 500 lbs. with females weighing slightly less. They are a heavily-built antelope resembling that of a horse with a long black maned tail. Its native range consists of most all of southern east Africa and formerly South Africa. It was first introduced into North America in the early 1960’s most notably in Texas with population numbers now estimated in the thousands.

Champion Ranch in Texas

On the ranch we were hunting, the gemsbok along with its cousins the Arabian and Scimitar horned oryx are plentiful in large reproducing herds thanks to conservation efforts by owner, “Our wildlife management plan is all about sustainability. We provide habitat and forage for over 65 species of exotics on over 8,000 where these animals to flourish.” When bulls reach maturity past breeding age a select number of hunters are permitted to harvest one. “They make a spectacular trophy and offer some of the best table fare,” said Joel. The meat of the gemsbok is prized for its delicious flavor and tenderness comparable to that of the North American elk.

Kalahari Quarter Pounder

Kalahari Quarter Pounder

Gemsbok Burger Recipe

  1. Preheat a grill or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add 1lb. ground gemsbok to a bowl with salt and pepper and Champion Ranch seasoning
  3. Shape the ground meat into 4 evenly sized patties.
  4. Add a dollop of grated butter to the center of each burger and fold it in half. Shape into a disc again, making sure all of the butter is now in the inside of the burger. Repeat for each burger.
  5. Place the burgers on the grill and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes per side or until they’re medium temperature (140-145F). During the last 2 minutes on the second side, add a slice of cheese to each burger.
  6. Serve with fresh lettuce, onion, tomato, and other desired toppings on a lightly grilled and buttered bun.

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