The History of Blackbuck Hunting in Argentina
A Brief History of the Blackbuck in Argentina
The Blackbuck, also referred to as the Indian antelope, are a species of antelope that were originally found in India. The Blackbuck were introduced into Argentina in the 1920s, and they quickly became one of the country’s most successful imports. Argentina became the perfect country for Blackbucks to thrive as the regions where they live have no natural predators. Because of this, their population continues to grow rapidly. Hunting Blackbucks in Argentina is very challenging but also very exciting. Blackbucks are very similar to gazelles, the main difference being that Blackbucks have dark brown or black dorsal parts and on gazelles they are lighter brown. Physically, Blackbucks weigh anywhere between 75-120 pounds, which makes them one of the smaller of the large mammals. They are also jet black and have straight spiral horns that can measure up to 22 inches. Their long ringed horns make beautiful mounts, and Blackbuck trophies are considered exceptional if the horn length exceeds 22 inches.
Statistics on the Blackbuck in Argentina
Below are some facts and statistics on Blackbucks in Argentina:
- Blackbuck populations in Argentina have been as high as 10,000.
- Blackbucks are some of the fastest animals in the world. They are considered to be the second fastest animal in the world, next to the Cheetah. They can run as fast as 80 kilometers per hour (which equates to 50 mph).
- They are the sole extant member of the genus Antilope and were scientifically described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. Two subspecies are recognized.
- Blackbucks are active mainly through the day and tend to graze on low grasses and browse in forests. They need water daily, so herds will often travel long distances for water.
- Blackbucks are about 74 to 84 cm (29 to 33 in) tall. Males can weigh anywhere from 20–57 kg (44–126 lb), with their average weight being 38 kg (84 lb). Females are smaller and can weigh anywhere from 20–33 kg (44–73 lb) with a 27 kg (60 lb) average weight.
- While the males are the ones with the long, ringed, spiral horns, some females can develop horns as well.
- Males have 35–75 cm (14–30 in) long, ringed horns, though females may develop horns as well.
Where to Hunt the Blackbuck in Argentina
Blackbucks have a long hunting season that lasts from March to November. Blackbucks are herbivores that graze on low grasses. They can generally be found in grassy plains or in thinly forested areas. Blackbucks also need to drink water daily, meaning they will often travel long distances to find a water source. Blackbucks are diurnal animals, which means that they are mainly active during they day. This activity tends to slow down around noon, especially as the days start to get hotter around the summer months. If hunting during summer, it is best to go out during the morning hours while the Blackbucks are at their most active. Within each Blackbuck heard, three smaller groups can be found: the females, the territorial males, and the bachelor males. Heard sizes can vary and there are benefits and disadvantages to hunting larger versus smaller herds. In larger herds, danger (such as hunters) can be detected faster, but individual vigilance of each Blackbuck is lower. This means that if you are targeting a large heard, you may be more likely to get at least one Blackbuck. Additionally, travelling in a large herd requires more resources, so they tend to be more stagnant in terms of location. Smaller groups can travel much easier so they may be harder to find, but once you find them they may be easier to hunt since there are less animals in the group to notice danger.
As with other large game, La Pampa is a popular area in Argentina to hunt Blackbuck. The terrain of La Pampa is mostly flat with some areas of rolling hills, so hunters tend to find this region much easier for hunting than other regions of Argentina.
How to Hunt the Blackbuck
There are two main methods to hunting Blackbuck: stalking and still hunting.
Of the two main hunting methods, stalking is the most difficult way to hunt Blackbuck. This is due to the fact they tend to stay in open plains with short grass, so any movement is fairly visible. Also Blackbuck can be extremely intelligent, and they often will utilize the local birds, such as the Southern Lapwing, which scream and fly around any potential danger. This alert notifies the Blackbuck of potential hunters or predators, so they are able to get away. If you choose to hunt Blackbuck using the stalking method, it is recommended that you use a gun with a long range shot. Rifles such as the 243 Wing, 270 Win or even a 7mm Rem Mag are recommended. The stalking method of hunting is easier when you are in a forested area as it provides better concealment for hunters.
Since stalking Blackbuck can be extremely challenging, hunters often prefer the method of still hunting. This is where hunters wait within shooting distance of a spot that they know the Blackbuck will pass. Blackbuck can often be found in cattle breeding areas. These breeding areas have low fences that Blackbuck cross under to get from one lot to another. Because these areas are typically narrow, Blackbuck must slow down and cross one by one, which gives hunters ample time to shoot at the group. When still hunting, a bow is recommended as the shooting distance is shorter.
How to Get Your Trophy Home
Although they are very abundant in Argentina, Blackbuck trophy exportation requires a Cites permit. This is due to the fact that the population in India (where Blackbuck are originally from) has decreased quickly which has increased awareness of their preservation.
There are companies in Argentina that will manage the handling and shipping of your large game trophies. These companies will handle and prepare the trophies on site according to both the international export requirements and also per their clients’ requests. Trophy handling companies will often salt and dry the hides, dip, bleach, and cut the skulls. They will also often send the trophies to a taxidermist who will inspect the trophies to ensure that they are suitable for export. These companies will also make sure that all necessary paperwork and permits are completed and filed. Once trophies are ready and the export documents are issued, the shipping will be sorted. When dealing with exporting trophies out of Argentina, it is important to note that most shipping companies can only ship trophies to a customs broker at the destination country in order to get clearance. Some companies have a list of brokers that they work with, or experienced hunters can supply their broker’s information. Once the trophies clear into the destination country, they can either be shipped to you or your taxidermist of choice. You can typically expect your trophy to be shipped out of Argentina within 12 months of your hunt. It is recommended that you stay in the area or at your hunting lodge at least 1 more day after your hunts end in order to get the permits and trophies ready. Many trophy handling companies offer packages for US hunters. Typically, these packages include exporting, shipping, and even mounting in the USA.
Ready to Book a Hunting Trip to Argentina Featuring the Blackbuck?
With Argentina being one of the top countries in the world for hunting, there are many great outfitters that operate from fine lodges and camps. Argentina also has a good infrastructure set up of excellent roads and internal flights. Outfitters such as South American Adventures Safari offers a wide range of different packages to help you plan your wonderful trip across Argentina. South American Adventures Safaris was founded in 1988 by father and son José & Marcelo Sodiro and was one of the first established hunting companies in Argentina. Many of the packages offered by South American Adventures Safaris are aimed toward hunting Blackbuck and other large game. South American Adventure packages that feature Blackbuck include the ‘Custom Tailored Big Game & Bird Hunting Programs – Argentina’ package. South American Adventures Safari is also the only outfitter in Argentina invited to participate in the Craig Boddington Endorsed Outfitter Program. Contact South American Adventure Safaris today to book your hunting trip to Argentina featuring Blackbuck hunting!