Blesbok Antelope

(Damaliscus dorcas phillippsi) eastern and central South Africa.



Brown antelope with pale to white face blaze, belly, inner legs, and base of tail.  Name is derived from facial markings — ‘bles’ is the Afrikaan word for blaze.  These markings appear in a cross formation and often times resemble the “Mrs. Butterworth” syrup bottle (see photo, right).  Young are born tan with none of the markings of adults.  Face and snout appear elongated and seemingly disproportionate.  Blesbok antelope have ringed, lyre-shaped horns that curve out and up.  Lengths of adult male and females horns are similar, ranging from 14 to 20 inches, with adult males usually exhibiting greater thickness.  Horns of males may be shorter than that of female if excessive wear.  Male weights range from 135 to 175 lbs.; females from 120 to 155 lbs.

Note:  Blesbok antelope are often mistaken for bontetok antelope whose overall appearances are very similar.


Prefer open grassland with some cover.  Not considered an aggressive species when open space available.  Males are territorial during breeding, often standing near –or resting on — large dung piles.  Will also mark territory with scrapes in the ground and rubs made by preorbital gland secretions from forehead.  Blesbok will display by scraping ground with their horns and defend territory from other non-threatening species (see video below).  Fight other males and court females passing through territory.   Males have been known to kill yearling males in confined situations.

Food Habits

Graze on short grasses.  May take to forbs and browse occasionally.


Breeding will often take place between September and December. Gestation period is 7 to 8 months with females having 1 young.  In the U.S., most births are documented in the Summer months between May and August.  Young are weaned after around 4 months, with newborns very Males and females are sexually mature at 27 months.

Life Span

Can live up to 17 yrs.

Keeping Blesbok

Often occupy relatively small territories of 2.5 to 6 acres in size.  Blesbok are slow to take introduced foods.  Molasses can be used in conjunction with commercial supplemental rations to help entice feeding.  Will readily hybridize with bontetok antelope, producing fertile offspring that usually more resemble bontetok.  Also hybridize with red hartebeest, but young are infertile.  Avoid small enclosures when young are to be born, as adult males may kill yearling males.  Are not considered good jumpers but are known to “scramble” over 4 & 1/2 ft. fence , therefore 6 ft. fence is recommended.  Will slip through or under fence if given the chance, so checking fence for damage is imperative.

Blesbok Hunting

Blesbok hunts generally range from $3500 to $6000 depending on size and outfitter package –> avg. cost is ~ $5000.

Scoring Your Trophy Blesbok Antelope

SCI Record Book Minimums:

  Standard Bow
Bronze 40" 35"
Silver 43 7/8" 42 7/8"
Gold 46" 44 7/8"

Current Record(s) Held:

56 & 3/8 - Angus Murray (pictured)

Score Your Trophy

Blesbok Antelope Trophy Score Sheet

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