If there is an underrated member of the African antelope clan it must be the waterbuck.
Those heavily ridged horns are beautiful and selectively hunting a good bull is a real challenge. What is little understood is that they are not only tough with each other – a senior bull is merciless in punishing any challenge from juniors and may even kill them – but that they can be just as aggressive with humans. A cornered or wounded waterbuck is more dangerous than many realise.
That shaggy grey coat has a strong musky odour. Many locals will tell you that this helps repel predators, but that seems dubious. I’ve found a number of waterbuck carcasses that had been eaten by cats. Many a PH will tell you that the smell helps to repel mosquitoes, and that sounds more likely.
Interestingly the taint is held within the coat, and does not flavour the meat if skinning is done carefully. That means hooks and a gambrel – field preparation is certain to cross contaminate the meat with the pungent skin oils.
This is a very good common waterbuck just shading 30 inches. An excellent hunt for a classic, if underrated game animal.
About Pete Ryan
Pete Ryan is a hunting writer and photographer based on New Zealand’s South Island. His work has appeared in quality hunting books and magazines around the world. His first book ‘Wild South – Hunting and Fly Fishing the Southern Hemisphere’ launched to critical acclaim. Visit his website at faraway.co.