(Hippotragus niger) southeastern Kenya to Angola and eastern South Africa.
Males are black, females and subordinate males are reddish brown, both with a white undercoat and distinct facial markings. Some females are also black regardless of age. Sweeping horns that are ringed, arch back and average 32″ to 41″ in adult males; 23″ to 32″ in adult females. Both sexes have horns, with females’ usually shorter in length than mature males. Have longer tufts of hair on neck and shoulders. Tails are over 2 feet long with a brushy tip. Males generally weigh between 440 and 500 lbs., females 400 to 5oo.
Form groups of females led by one dominant male. Females form age-based hierarchy in group. Sable rest during the heat of the day. Herds often rest in an outward facing circular pattern, with young in the center, and watch for approaching danger. Whwn startled, usually run short distance befor looking back. However, when pursued, sable can reach speeds of 35 mph that can be sustained over long distances. Have a nomadic nature that causes problems when they migrate away from protected reserves. Males engage in fights by dropping to their knees and “wrestling” using strong neck muscles. Bulls will mark territory by breaking brush. Wounded males defend themselves with aggression.
Grazers that are selective about grasses. Prefer mid-length grasses and leaves. Are known to compete aggressively for food in confined space. Seldom utilize forbs except during dry season. Have been known to starve as opposed to switching to alternative browse.
Seasonal breeders. Males may court and produce year round, but peak of rutting activity usually aligns with period following rainy season (in Africa). Gestation period of 8.5 to 9 months, birthing 1 calf. Males become sexually mature at a year and a half while females typically around 2 years of age.
Up to approximately 17 years.
Very aggressive. Mature bulls may injure or kill other males as well as species like greater kudu and waterbuck, even humans. As selective grazers, can try fertilizing selected areas specifically for sable. Take to sodium salt blocks readily. If space is limited, removing maturing bulls may be appropriate, but may cause a drop in conception rate if only with female herd part-time.
Expect to pay from $10K to $15K for a mature bull sable –> avg. cost is ~$13,750. Check out our ‘Find A Hunt’ section for featured outfitters.
Scoring Your Trophy Sable Antelope
SCI Record Book Minimums:
(N. America - Introduced)
|Gold||97 1/8"||95 5/8"|
Current Record(s) Held:
107 & 6/8 - Sallie B. Wheeler (pictured)