Black Buck Antelope
Native to India and Pakistan, the Blackbuck is a medium sized antelope with distinctive spiral horns that are ringed with 1 to 4 spiral turns and can be as long as 28 inches. A trophy Blackbuck has horns that are 18+ inches and in Texas they rarely get much longer than 21-22 inches. The male's upper body is dark brown and appears black during the breeding season turning to a much lighter brown when not in the rut. The chin, chest, belly, inner legs and eye rings are always white. The female and young males are light-brown and the female is typically hornless. Blackbucks usually roam in herds of 15 to 20 animals with a dominant male. Blackbucks are particularly fast animals and can outrun most predators.
In Texas, adult males average approximately 85 pounds, while females average nearly 60 pounds. Originally released in Kerr County in 1932, the blackbuck now free range across much of the Edwards Plateau where the network of open grassland and brush provides excellent forage and cover. Susceptible to cold weather, Blackbuck are limited in range to the north and west by very cold winters. Grazers, Blackbuck prefer short to mid-length grasses but also browse on mesquite and live oaks. Unless stressed by a lack of food sources Blackbuck normally do not eat forbs. The lifespan can be up to 16 years although on average it is 12 years.
Adult males are very territorial and will aggressively defend their range from other males. Young males, and bucks without territories will often form their own bachelor groups until they reach physical maturity (2 - 2½ years of age) at which point they will split from their bachelor herd to establish their own territory. Females will graze through male territories, which is when breeding activity normally occurs. Females reach sexual maturity by 8 months of age, but usually do not breed until nearly 2 years of age whereas males reach sexual maturity at 18 months. Breeding can take place at any time of the year with bucks being the most active in spring and fall. Fawns can be born at any time throughout the year, but rarely in the winter. Gestation is approximately 5 months and within a month of giving birth the female will breed again. Blackbucks rarely have twins.