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The oryx is among the classic antelope species of the African continent. The hunt is, as many other antelope hunts in Africa, usually carried out as a walk where it’s all about glassing for the oryx herds over the open land and spread bushes, and from here starting the stalk, once the herd is located. The oryx is often a part of different fixed package hunting offers in Africa, and it is highly sought-after. Oryx herds often stick to more open landscapes, where they can spot danger from a fair distance; they are always especially looking out for lions. The...

The oryx is among the classic antelope species of the African continent. The hunt is, as many other antelope hunts in Africa, usually carried out as a walk where it’s all about glassing for the oryx herds over the open land and spread bushes, and from here starting the stalk, once the herd is located. The oryx is often a part of different fixed package hunting offers in Africa, and it is highly sought-after. Oryx herds often stick to more open landscapes, where they can spot danger from a fair distance; they are always especially looking out for lions. The herd behavior of the oryx makes the hunt for them quite challenging, as there are many eyes, ears, and noses to detect a hunter closing in, and often shots are taken at well over 150 meters. Often a safari vehicle is used to cover as much land as possible, and once the animals are spotted, the hunt begins!

Oryx, in some places and cultures called “gemsbok”, is an antelope species, and has been under threat of extinction in the past, but due to breeding programs and reintroduction to different areas, the oryx and several subspecies now thrive over most of southern Africa. It is being bred on different game farms, also in the US where it is commercially bred and hunted in New Mexico, Texas, and other states. Both the female and the male oryx carry long horns, and the females’ horns are often the longest, yet the horns of the male are much heavier and larger around the bases. Most of its life is spent in the open savanna plains or in actual desert, where it is fully adapted to live and breed successfully.

The oryx were historically threatened due to poaching and loss of habitat

Trophy hunting for oryx did manage to save the species in most areas, as many reserves where founded, fenced in, and hunted carefully, before reintroducing the oryx into the wild again. Now the oryx is found pretty much anywhere in southern Africa, both in low fenced private areas, as well as in the wild. The horns of the oryx are very long, slim and pitch black. Depending on what subspecies of oryx, the horns grow almost vertically and are placed side by side with very little spread. Many hunters hunt both a female and a male, as they are both great trophies, with their own characteristics. The hunt for oryx is often combined with hunting other plains game antelope species.

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  • The oryx is so common in Namibia, it is placed on their national weapon shield
  • Easily recognized with its horse-like mane and long tail
  • The oryx is one of very few mammals capable of raising its body temperature

Oryx or gemsbok (Oryx gazelle) is larger than the two other well-known oryx subspecies; Arabian oryx and Scimitar oryx. A full-grown male oryx weighs 400-530 lbs. and measures 4 feet over the shoulders. A mature female oryx weighs around 220-460 lbs. with a shoulder height of 3,5 feet. The oryx has a light brown-greyish skin with brighter colors on the rear. It has a black line coming from the top of the mane, all the way down its back, and a wide black line from the back legs to the front legs, and entirely lower legs – very characteristic. Just like the human fingerprint, the facial color pattern is unique for each individual.

Both male and female oryx carry a fine set of trophy horns, but the male horns are wider and heavier, and more sought-after than the female horns, that can grow longer than the males’ in some regions. The trophy is evaluated by their length and the diameter of the bases. Horns longer than 31” are considered a good trophy, yet they can grow to over 40” in length. To pass medal standards the trophy must score:

Bronze: 72     Silver: 77     Gold: 81 ¼ SCI

The oryx are commonly found in herds of 10-40 individuals, consisting of a dominant male bull, a few non-dominant males, and females. There are examples of oryx herds numbering more than 300 animals. They mostly live in dry and remote areas, and have the advantage of being able to live without water for several weeks. The oryx is agile and has a top speed of 60 k/h. The oryx is known to have stabbed predators, especially lions, to death with its long and pointed horns.