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Hippos are the third-largest land mammals and may look as if they are ungainly and slow. They are, however, quite fast and can be extremely aggressive and unpredictable. Despite their massive bulk (bulls average about two tons), they can reach speeds of up to 19 mph on land. They sport huge tusks inside their mouths that never stop growing. Hippos use these massive teeth as weapons, fending off prey that threatens their young and protecting their turf from encroachers. More people are killed in Africa each year by the hippopotamus than by any of the other dangerous game found on the continent.

Hippos spend much of their time in the water due to their sun-sensitive skin, and generally only spend time at land at night in order to graze. They can be hunted on land or in water. In either case, exact shot placement is absolutely critical—anything less than a brain shot usually will not take the animal down. A rifle of at least .40 caliber, along with solid bullets, is recommended. Stalking the hippo on land is the generally the preferred method of hunting. It can be extremely dangerous—and exciting—and one should always be prepared for a charge. When hunting hippo in the water, it’s often difficult to identify the bulls, since most of a hippo’s body is submerged underwater. Once the animal is killed, its body will sink to the bottom of the river—but it will float back up within an hour or two, allowing its recovery. Retrieval, too, can be dangerous work, given that the water will likely be laden with its hippo brethren, as well as plenty of crocodiles.

Hippos are identified as a vulnerable species due to poaching (for their ivory tusks) and loss of access to fresh water due to environmental changes. Legal, regulated hunting helps to support conservation efforts, as the money from hippo hunts go toward conserving these animals, and the harvested meat is provided to local villages.

Hippo hunts are often combined with crocodile and/or plains game hunts. They can be hunted in Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Contact us to start planning your hippo hunt today!