Blackbuck Antelope

(Antilope cervicapra) India & Pakistan

mature blackbuck male

ID

Blackbuck antelope are one of the smallest antelope species of the exotic breeds.  Mature males differ in appearance greatly from that of females.  As males age, their coloration graduates from a light tan at birth to dark brown, almost black, at 5 to 6 years of age and older.  These older males exhibit a striking contrast in color with their bright white bellies, muzzle, and “eyebrows”.  Females and young have similar white markings to males with main coat color being tan.  Male horns “corkscrew” upward in a V-shape with 1-4 tight spirals (depending on age and genetic potential).  Females usually lack horns, but some may (see picture – below).  Female horns are often thinner, smoother, and may grow in non-typical patterns.  Males typically weigh from 70 – 100 lbs while females weigh slightly less.

Behavior

female sporting non-typical horns

Tend to inhabit open grasslands and are primarily diurnal.  Considered one of the fastest animals in the world.  Their keen eye sight and blazing speeds are its main protection against predators. When alarmed, the herd disperses in high leaps and bounds, then breaks off into a quick gallop.  Males use horns in displaying rituals to attract females and fighting for breeding rights during the rut.  Males will lock horns and push against each other until one male concedes defeat.  Playful sparring occurs much in the same way, but lacking intensity.

Food Habits

Grazers that feed primarily on grass in open prairies.  Also consume leaves, herbs and shrubs.

Breeding

Blackbuck males fight for dominance during the rut and protect their territories from intruding males (see Video below).  With their heads tilted back and horns parallel, they proudly display for potential breeding does. Breeding can occur throughout the year, with peaks seen from August to October and March to April. Decline in the number of births during the winter months.  Blackbuck does have a short gestation period of 5 months which allows them to breed twice a year.  While they usually give birth to only 1 young at a time, 2 breeding cycles per year often results in 2 young born in a 12 month period.  Blackbuck reach sexual maturity at a year and a half (does as young as 8 months).

Life Span

Usually 10 to 12 and up to 15 years.  The oldest blackbuck on record was 18 years of age.

Keeping Blackbuck

One of the few exotics that do not require a high fence to stock on your property.  They will seldom jump a low fence unless they feel threatened or cornered.  If looking to add blackbuck to your ranch, be sure to thoroughly check all perimeter fences (low or high) for weakness or holes that these minuscule animals will explore and possibly slip through. They do require a dependable water source and shelter during periods of snow.  At feeding stations, blackbuck tend to be timid, allowing other animals to feed first.  Moderately prolific breeders, they give birth to an average of 2 young per year, 1 every 6 months or so.

Blackbuck Hunting

Expect to pay anywhere between $1500 and $2800 for a trophy blackbuck, depending on outfitter and package –> avg. cost is ~ $2100.

Stocking

Blackbuck stock can range from $200 – $300 for yearling males and females and up to $1500 for mature, breeder males.

Scoring Your Trophy Blackbuck Antelope

SCI Record Book Minimums:

(N. America - Introduced)

  Standard Bow
Bronze 54" 48"
Silver 60 5/8" 57 6/8"
Gold 65 1/8" 63"

Current Record(s) Held:

#1 - 81 & 1/8 - L. Irvin Barnhart

#3 - 80 & 4/8 - L. Irvin Barnhart (pictured)

Current Record Holder for TrophyBlackbuck Antelope

Score Your Trophy

Blackbuck Antelope Trophy Score Sheet

Click here to find an official Safari Club International (SCI) Measurer.