The following applies to hunting the Burchell’s or the mountain zebra.
Hunting zebra in South Africa is hunting for one of the four most popular animals to hunt in Africa. Zebra rugs are the most popular way of having your zebra trophy mounted.
Hunting zebra in Africa is far more difficult than a hunter would expect. Zebra have fine-tuned hearing and smelling and have exceptional eyesight. Because zebra are herd animals it is very hard to approach a herd unseen and a shot should be taken as soon as one is presented. The vital organs area is situated low in the chest making it rather easy to wound one of these striped animals. It is legal to hunt zebra with the correct permissions.
Take note of the so-called sergeant stripes formed on the shoulder of a zebra. This is the best indicator as to where the shot should be placed. The black body stripes extend to below the belly where they end up against the stripes from the opposite side. Burchell’s zebra have a distinct shadow stripe between the black stripes that are more prominent towards the rump of the animal. They have fewer leg stripes that display less prominent. The average body weight these animals run the scale up to is approximately 700 lb. (320 kg) with an average shoulder height of approximately 51” (1,3 m).
Zebra are gregarious, living in smaller family groups of between eight and 15 animals. A dominant stallion will defend his harem actively against possible intruders. The stallion will evict younger males as soon as he feels they become a threat to his supremacy. They are are grazers that prefer savanna- and limited woodlands. Zebra have to use water on a daily basis so are seldom too far from a permanent water source.
The .270 Win should be considered minimum equipment with the 30 calibers being a better choice. Look to heavy for caliber expanding soft-points when hunting zebra. This is a remarkably tough member of the equine family; shot placement is critical and, if poorly placed, you will be in for a long day and at risk of losing your trophy. There are many stories of hunters who have shot the zebra with their favorite 30 caliber and later wished they had used the old .375 H&H, so do not be afraid of being over-gunned. The high heart/lung shot is the way to go here. As always, sight up the center of the front leg and place your shot between one third and half way into the body. Higher up and further forward through the center of the shoulder blade will net the shoulder/spinal shot and your zebra will drop to the shot. If you are offered the frontal presentation when hunting zebra, place your shot dead center in the chest at the base of the neck.
The best time of year to hunt zebra in South Africa is the second week of April until the end of October and even to mid-November when the bush has receded most. When hunting zebra in the Free State the terrain opens up to large open plains and even mountainous areas. This is where the skill of the hunter is tested with regards to marksmanship.
Zebra hunting is usually done in African countries, including South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. Additionally, there are outfitters in the United States (primarily Texas) where Zebra hunting is offered.