Hunting Rhino

When it comes to a Rhino hunt, it is always a touchy subject. The worldwide effort to save Rhinos against illegal poaching is a reality. At Kaiwhai Safaris our number of privately owned Rhinos grows every year, through sustainable hunting, that gives the animal value. Thus we breed excessively with them, and together with the hundreds of other private reserves that have Rhino breeding populations, this ensures that they will not go extinct. There are more Rhino in Africa today than in the last 30 years.

The Rhino is seen as the Armoured Truck of the Bushveld. They are the strongest of them all and although they have poor eyesight, they have an exceptional sense of smell and hearing. The speed that these huge animals can run at is often misjudged by hunters. It makes for a very challenging walk-and-stalk.

At Kaiwhai Safaris we have a 100% success rate on Rhino hunting, and we have all the legal permits for this truly once-in-a-lifetime hunt. We hunt the older bulls, that have passed their age of breeding, making it a humane and rewarding hunt.

White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum)
Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis)

Natural History
One of the Big Five. White considerably larger than black, longer, broader, more prehistoric- looking head with broad muzzle, prominent hump in the neck and shoulder region. Weigh as much as 2.5 tons. Exclusively grazing animals, grass only diet; lifespan up to 40 years. Social and relatively docile; aggressive only when actively courting or protecting young. Black rhino smaller in overall body size (a mature bull will weigh about a ton) with smaller, shorter head, rounder ears, distinct prehensile or hooked upper lip. Almost exclusively woody browsers. More temperamental than the white, may charge without provocation. Both types of rhinos carry two continuously growing “horns,” dense, hairlike skin outgrowths.

Sex Determination
White rhino difficult, as some mature females attain the huge size of old males. Females’ horns may be longer than males’, but usually slenderer, with smaller bases. Behaviour upon defecation and urination is also a key. Checking the area below the tail is the best way to be certain of a rhino’s sex.

Trophy Assessment
SCI method (8): length of both horns + circumference of both horns at bases. Roland Ward method (15): length of longest horn. Horn length of 25 inches = good, 28 inches = excellent.

The Hunt
Classified as dangerous but relatively docile. Dominant breeding bulls are strongly territorial, walk the same well-worn paths. Spoor large and easy to find on well-worn game trails and dirt tracks. Grazing animals. Spend the first and last few hours of daylight feeding out in the open, easy to spot from a distance. Have phenomenal hearing, well-developed sense of smell, but poor eyesight. Relatively easy to approach to within fifty paces. Must be done quietly and slowly, from downwind.

Rifle, Calibre, and Bullet Selection
Rhino are considered pachyderms with good reason. Their skin is incredibly thick. Only the very best-quality solid bullets should be used, regardless of calibre. For quick and effective high heart/lung shots (the only shot recommended for a rhino), the 375 H&H and good 300-grain solids are as low as one can legally go. Larger calibres are more effective.

Shot Placement

  • High heart/lung shot from full broadside position is shot of choice: Come up centre of foreleg until you reach a point about ten inches above the prominent skin fold, then shift point of aim rearward about six inches.
  • Quartering frontal shot: Place shot inside the point of the shoulder at that level.
  • Brain shot only on charging rhino.
  • Backup shots usually taken from the rear-end position: Place shot in centre above root of tail.

Shot placement on any of the dangerous game in Africa is vital. Below are some images from a very well-known author, Kevin Robertson’s Book – Perfect Shot Placement for African Big Game. If you would like to buy a copy of this book, which we would recommend, you can get it on Amazon, by clicking here