Standing 1.2mts at the shoulder (male), 1mt to the shoulder (female) and weighing 230kg (male) and 200kg (female), the Gemsbok inhabits open country and can survive in very harsh conditions. Gemsbok can go without water for months at a time, taking the moisture he needs from what is eaten.
This herd animal is mainly a grazer but it will browse if necessary. When injured, cornered or threatened, the Gemsbok can be an aggressive and dangerous, as both bulls and cows have long, tapering horns which are needle sharp. The cow is of smaller body size but her horns are longer and thinner than those of the bull.
The horns of the cow also tend to have a rearward curve, while the horns of the bull are straighter and thicker. A flat shooting calibre is useful when hunting Gemsbok. .270 is a minimum requirement for Gemsbok, or one of the 7mm or .30 Magnums with quality bullets. The Gemsbok has a humped shoulder, which can induce an unwary hunter to place his shot too high. The shot should not be higher than the horizontal mid point line of the animal’s body.