Overview of this species and the hunt
As the most common antelope in South Africa, this is one species that is on just about every hunter’s list. A nimble animal of medium stature, the Impala is a very social animal that is well known for living in huge herds. Impalas live in habitats where grazing opportunities are plentiful and you will find them in woodlands, mopane scrub and bushveld. They both browse and graze, but you will often find them near to water sources as they have to drink water on a daily basis. The males have lyre shaped horns but since the herd tends to stick very close together, it can still be difficult to tell the genders apart.
The best time of the year to hunt Impala is during autumn. During this breeding season, the rams will be within the herds. When hunting Impala, be aware that they can very easily sense danger and will flee if they catch sight or smell of you. Stalk quietly when hunting this antelope. As with most plains game, the best time of the day to hunt is early morning or late afternoon and target the feeding areas where you are almost guaranteed to find them. When Impala are alerted to danger, they group tightly together which makes a single shot next to impossible.
Another species of Impala, the black-faced Impala, can be hunted in Namibia and Angola.
A .22 centerfire rifle, a 6mm, a 7mm or a 30 calibre rifle are all good weapon choices if you are looking to take a clean shot that will kill rather than wound. Use a quality heavy round nose bullet if you are hunting in a bushveld area. Although Impala are not the biggest animals, they do have a tough hide. Aiming for the lungs is best if you are hunting for the meat. If you are after the trophy alone, then aiming your shot to the neck is best. Shooting the head is only recommended for experienced hunters.
If you are new to hunting, hunting Impala in South Africa is the best introduction you could ask for.