Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus)
Klipspringers are small, stocky bovids. The males have wide-set, spike-like horns averaging 10cm long. Males and females have preorbital glands, males have preputial glands and neither sex has hoof glands. The coat is thick and the individual hairs are loosely connected to the skin are hollow. Females are slightly larger than males the female standing at 50-53cms to the shoulder, the male standing at 49-52cms to the shoulder. Klipspringers are selective browsers.
They prefer lush evergreen shrubs and herbs but will eat fruit, seed pods, flowers and lichens. They will leave their home ranges to forage on new grass shoots and will drink when water is available but generally get water from their food. Klipspringers have a black speckled brown coats and black “tear marks” on the inner corners of their eyes. Klipspringers form territorial, monogamous pairs that share a permanent home range. Groups are male-female pairs or family groups of a pair and the young of the year. Single klipspringers generally make up less than 10% of the population and are almost always unmated males. Pairs stay close together, the male typically standing guard while the female forages and cares for the young.
During the dry season, when resources are scarce, pairs may congregate into small groups of 6-8. Such groups break up into pairs once food becomes abundant again. Klipspringers mark the perimeter of their territories with secretion from their preorbital glands and with dung deposits. Males actively defend their territory by horn presenting and by chasing intruders. Males fight by stabbing and butting heads; females fight by biting. Klipspringer tracks are unique and they are sure footed rock climbers.
Klipspringers feed early morning and late afternoon, resting in the shade of his rocky habitat during the heat of the day. When disturbed he is quick to take cover in the shelter of his rocky habitat. Look for Klipspringer in rocky terrain approaching from below as Klipspringers are used to predation from above. The Klipspringer gives a shrill whistle when alarmed and that can give his position away.
The Klipspringer’s habit of stopping to look back at what is chasing him is common to many species of antelope and will often provide the opportunity for a shot. Follow him slowly, as he is not likely to go far, preferring to keep his pursuer in sight. While any .22 centerfire with a 45 to 55 grain bullet will suffice, Klipspringers are often taken with larger calibres. Larger calibres with soft, fast expanding bullets are likely to ruin the cape. The .223 with full metal jacketed bullets would be a good choice. Let your PH guide you on shot placement. When he knows your rifle/bullet combination he can advise the best point of aim. Klipspringer can be a real challenge due to the terrain that the Klipspringer inhabits.