Hippopotamus amphibius

Hippo is classified as a dangerous game animal as it is very dangerous to approach on land and swallow waters. It simply does not take much for an old bull to charge.  It can even get worse if a hunter find himself between a hippo and water or a young one and his mother. Hippos don’t feed in the water, but they venture out onto dry land mostly during night in search for shorter grass to feed on.

Some countries may require a minimum calibre of .375 H&H or then South Africa require the use of only solids or monolithic solids on hippo. We would how ever advise to use a minimum of a .375 category calibre and a minimum of 275 grain solids. The shot placement will be dictated on where you will find the hippo. If the bull is in the water the other vitals will obviously not be visible, and a brain shot would then be the only option. From the side, the brain is situated on the line between the ears and the eyes. But not further forward than midway between the ear and the eye. From the front you can draw a line from each ear to the opposite eye, where the lines intersect one another will be your aiming spot. The angle of the head plays a role as well. Alternatively, you will notice a V shape, up-side down on his fore head. Put the bullet into the V’s corner (top) and the bullet will pass through the brain. If the hippo lifts his head you will need to put the bullet closer to a spot between the eyes. The hippo will sink and it might take 1-2 hours for him to surface. If it is a running river the water will take him down stream and you will need to look down stream for him, don’t take too long as the crocodiles will have a good feast on him.


If the Hippo is on land you will have to familiarise yourself of its heart/lung area if you not going for the brain. From the side on, simply take you aim at the back of the front leg, go up with this line until half way up his body; don’t go over the halfway position. If the bull is quartering away it is also a good opportunity to go for the heart/lung shot, aim for the opposite shoulder.

The frontal chest shot is very difficult as the head most likely will be in the way. If t is quartering towards, avoid taking this shot as a first shot. But if the shot are going to be taken you would need to get the bullet in between the middle of the fore legs, if the legs are positioned right next to each other (not walking position).

On a wounded hippo that is on the run from you, the hunter can either go for a shot on the hip bones as to anchor/stop him, or can simply wait for the hippo to turn his head in such a way that the hunter can put a shot in from behind the ear into the brain. The hippo might not always present this shot and it is not always easy to put in such a shot on a running hippo.