Just like the well-known South African Big 5 and less common Small 5, South Africa is also proud to have the “Tiny Ten” which is 10 tiny huntable antelopes.
The most hunted amongst them is the Duiker. You get 3 different species of Duiker, namely Blue Duiker, Grey Duiker and Red Duiker.
The Grey Duiker is found in the western, eastern, southern and central South Africa. Beyond browsing for leaves, flowers, fruits and tubers, they will also eat insects, frogs, small birds and mammals. As long as they have vegetation to eat, they can go without drinking water, for very long periods.
The Red Duiker is a small antelope found in central to southern parts of South Africa. They reside in forest and dense bush habitats in both mountainous and coastal areas where surface water is readily available. Red Duikers browse on leaves, flowers and fruits that have fallen from trees as well as low growing shrubs.
The Blue Duiker is the smallest antelope in South Africa and live mainly in rainforests, where they eat fruits, flowers, leaves, eggs and insects.
When hunting any of the Duiker species, trophy evaluation can be very difficult, as most often, only fleeting glances will be offered. Hunting the Duiker species are extremely difficult for different reasons. The Grey Duiker makes hunting difficult as they have extremely refined senses, camouflaged colouring and a habit of staying in or close to long grass and thick bush. The Red Duiker makes it a great challenge because of its size and shyness. Hunting the Blue Duiker is barely impossible, as they are solitary, silent and extremely difficult to spot.
The next most common antelope that is part of the Tiny Ten is the Grysbok. They also have 2 different species namely the Cape Grysbok and the Sharpe’s Grysbok. The Cape Grysbok is found in the southern parts of South Africa, where the Sharpe’s Grysbok can be found in the northern part.
The Cape Grysbok is endemic to the Western Cape region of South Africa. Its native habit is the Cape Floristic Region and inhabits thick shrubland.
The Sharpe’s Grysbok is a small, shy, solitary antelope found in rocky hill country areas, but they prefer fertile zones on the lower slopes.
When hunting the different species of Grysbok, it is important to know that both species of Grysbok are nocturnal and therefore mostly be hunted at night. They can be hunted at daybreak along the edges of dense vegetation, but it is important for the hunter to be in position before light starts breaking.
The Steenbok is a common small antelope of southern and eastern Africa and can be found in different habitats. From semi-desert to open woodlands and thickets, including open plains, stony savannah and Acacia-grassland mosaics.
Hunting the Steenbok takes time and patience as you will have to stalk it carefully. They lay down in the grass to avoid being spotted and will flush off at the last minute, running away with great speed! Steenbok is known to stop and look back during an escape and this will be the last chance you’ll get to shoot it.
You will find the Dik-Dik living in the bush lands of eastern and southern Africa (Namibia), seeking habitats with plentiful plants.
They usually live in pairs in territories with established series of runways trough and around the borders.
Hunting Dik-Dik is best done along these established series of runways, as they frequently use it. This habit makes them fairly easy to trap and hunt.
Reaching approximately 58cm at the shoulder, the Klipspringer is found in the Northern, Eastern and Southern parts of Africa. They live in high mountainous areas, eating plants growing in mountainous habitats and rocky areas. They never have to drink water, since the succulents they consume provide them with enough fluids to survive. They have extreme good eyesight and inhabit areas, usually not accessible to man. This make hunting a real challenge! Their symbolic relationship with Baboons also allow for an early-warning system. If you would like to hunt this remarkable specie, you have to have a certain amount of physical fitness.
Oribi are graceful, slender-legged, long-necked antelope found in grasslands almost throughout South Africa. They are highly water dependant and tend to avoid steep slopes. Being inquisitive, they often stop after a suitable distance and turn around to look back or even walk back, which make them an easy target to hunt. As this little antelope is a plains dweller, shots will be taken at long distance. It is therefore advisable to choose a flat-shooting calibre, firing a bullet of at least 120 grains, at a muzzle velocity in excess of 2500 fps.
The beautiful little Suni lives in dense underbrush in the south-eastern parts of Africa. Suni feed on leaves, fungi, fruits and flowers and they barely need any water to drink. They are mostly active at night and prefer to sleep in shady sheltered areas during the day. Hunting Suni is best done along game trails, which they frequently use. This makes the Suni easy to trap. Hunters can also take advantage of the animal’s very wary nature, which causes him to freeze for a long period of time before finally running off.
As for most of the mini-lopes, you will only have time to take the shot at whatever part of his body he presents. When hunting for a Trophy, avoid hitting the head or neck. While any calibre rifle would certainly be more than adequate, the hunter will only get a fleeting glance of these tiny antelope, which makes a rifle shot extremely difficult. A shotgun will be the best option for hunting most of the Tiny Ten.
Umdende Hunting Safaris owner and Professional Hunter Clayton Comins, has substantial experience hunting these tiny antelope! Our Team looks forward to Making Your Dreams Come True stalking the tiny 10 of South Africa!