The Eland is the largest antelope species that can be hunted in Africa. There are three recognized Subspecies of the Common Eland namely the Cape, Livingston and Paterson’s Eland. These magnificent creatures are the largest member of the spiral-horned family, mature males can easily weigh in excess of 2000 pounds. Eland is no easy quarry, and their mere size and presence should not be overlooked. Males and females both carry horns, but the males horns grow thick with prominent spirals. Male’s coats-with age go dark around the neck and they start to grow a big tuff of hair on their forehead in-between the base of their horns.
The Cape Eland is the most common specie which is hunted in Africa. This subspecies occurs South Of the Zambezi River which runs through South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. Juvenile animals have prominent white stripes on their sides but tend to loose these with age. This sub specie has adapted very well to various conditions and terrains, thus they can be hunted anywhere from dense thickets, woodlands, mountainous areas and out into open savannah plains.
Livingston Eland are known for their glossy brown pelts and white side stripes. Found in the Miombo woodland areas of South Central Africa( Zambia, Mozambique, Angola, DRC, and Malawi) They are truly a beautiful animal and mature adults often have up to twelve white stripes on their sides.
Patersons also known as the East African Eland occur in East Africa, with populations extending into Somalian Arid areas. In Appearance these animals are very similar to that of the Livingston Eland with prominent white side stripes and a brown pelt, However adult males tend to lose stripes with age as they develop a dark blue coat.
Hunting an Eland is very rewarding and despite their size, these animals are alert, fast and can travel vast distances when on the move. These colossal animals have an acute sense of smell and hearing. Eland is famous for the clicking sound made by knucklebones in their lower legs while walking. Found in herds anywhere from 5 members to 100, there is usually more than one set of eyes and ears you have to deal with when going after these animals. Bull Eland is very territorial and a dominant bull will protect his territory with great determination towards younger less intimidating males. A good trophy bull will have thick prominent spirals on his horns, impressive dewlap as well as a red tuft of hair protruding from his forehead. Never mind the fact that often these old mature bulls have worn down horns from the years of defending their territory.
When hunting Eland one should make sure you use enough gun! A .375 caliber is perfectly suited to taking one of these animals. A well-placed shot with good quality 250grain+ bullet will do the trick. A wounded Eland may keep you in the field for a very long time, and obviously no hunter dreams of this. Encountering an Eland in the field may also be something that happens out of the plan, so always be sure that when hunting in areas where eland sightings occur, the rifle you carrying or simply a backup rifle is enough to do the job.
Rowland Wards Record of big game lists the No1 trophy Eland of having a horn length of 46.5 inches with a circumference of over twelve inches and tip to tip measurement of 25”. This animal was taken in the Limpopo province of South Africa during the year 2005. Safari club international lists their no1 Cape Eland trophy at 116-2/8 inches with a circumference of 12-2/8 inches which was also taken during the year 2005 in the Limpopo region.
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