Regional Names

Afrikaans: Luiperd French: léopard
German: Leopard Nama: Garub
Portuguese: Leopardo Sesotho: Nkwe
Shangaan: Yingwe Shona: Mbada
Spanish: Leopardo Swahili: Chui
Tswana: Nkwe Xhosa: Ingwe
Zulu: Ingwe
Average Body Dimensions Trophy Dimensions
Average male mass:  130 lb (±60 kg) Rowland Ward Minimum: 153/8” (39,0cm): Method-17
Average shoulder height:  2.5’ (76cm) Rowland Ward Record: 19” (48,3cm)
Spoor size front:  3.6” (91mm) SCI Minimum (Rifle):  14 / SCI Record (Rifle): 1911/16: Method-15
Spoor size rear: 3.6” (91mm) SCI Minimum (Bow):  12 / SCI Record (Bow) – 1718/16


Widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa. Sparsely prevalent in Turkey, Middle-East and South-East Asia.


Solitary animals that reside in smallish home ranges of about 3.9 mi2 (10 km2). Primarily nocturnal, but is seen in daytime quite often. It rests in thick shade such as dense canopy trees, caves or shady spots amongst rocks. Drags prey up trees to prevent competition from other carnivores or scavengers and when undisturbed they return to feed on the carcasses for several days.

* Read more in Game Animals of the World by Chris & Tilde Stuart

Hunting tips

Leopards are extremely fast and attack from cover at short range when wounded. Reaction time is limited. Since leopards are scavengers and consume carrion, the most popular hunting method is baiting. Baits are hung hanging down from horizontal branches devoid of interfering leafage in a manner which will silhouette the leopard against the sky or a backdrop of uniformity and force the leopard to reach down to grab the bait. Everything must be set-up to offer the hunter a full broadside shot from a hide about fifty yards downwind. Wash in scent killing clothing and construct a hide that will be dark inside and not permit any light entering from the rear. Best times in the hide commence before sundown and terminate after sunrise. Early evening and just before sunrise are good times to wait in hides at taken baits.

Sexual Differentiation

Males are larger than females. Look for a heavy neck and large head if genitals cannot be seen.

Habitat & Food

Leopard occupy and prevail in virtually any rural habitat except full-blown deserts and from sea level almost 19,000 ft (±6000m) altitudes. The hunt and scavenge and eat any vertebrate species (including fish and insects) to about 25 lb (±100 kg).

Rifle & Cartridge Recommendations

Leopards are also considered ‘soft’ and have highly developed nervous systems as compared to thick skinned members of the Big Five. Where legal very accurate high velocity medium and transition bore cartridges are recommended. We recommend night vision riflescopes, but normal daylight scopes with high light transmission characteristics such as large tube- and large objective lens diameters can be used with red light assistance linked to a rheostat system. Riflescopes with fine illuminated dots/reticules are then recommended. Stay clear of bead sights on leopard – you lose the bead against the spots.

Rifles : Semi-automatic (where legal/permitted) and bolt actions work well.

Bullets : Massive expansion, weight retaining, fifth generation, sixth and seventh generation bullets are recommended.

Typical Cartridges :

.270 Winchester/Wby Magnum 130-gr bullets
7mm Magnums 140-gr bullets
.300 Dakota/Wby Mags/RUM 150-gr bullets
8 x68mms / 8mm Rem Mag 200-gr bullets
.338 Magnums 225-gr bullets

* Read more in African Dangerous Game Cartridges and in African Medium Bore Cartridges by Pierre van der Walt