The Giant Eland or Lord Derby Eland is by no doubt the most impressive of all the eland species. This animal ranks high on anyone’s list of the greatest trophies. Together with the Mountain Nyala and Bongo, the Giant eland requires a specialized hunt in the remote areas of either Cameroon or The northern -Central African Republic. There are two recognized subspecies of this majestic animal, The Eastern and Western Giant eland.
The Eastern Subspecies can be hunted in Cameroon and the Central African Republic. These animals are conserved by hunting outfitters in these extensive regions as the conflicting human urbanization is putting a vast majority of their habitat at risk. There are thought to be 15000 members of this sub species remaining of which 12000 occur in the Central African Republic.
The Western Giant Eland is listed as critically endangered, these animals occur in a scattered population in Senegal. A few hundred members close to the Guinea-Bissau border and a small population in the Niocolo-Koba national Park. There are thought to be only 1000 western Giant Eland remaining. And thus cannot be hunted. Major threats to these populations are poaching and habitat destruction.
The Lord Derby has the same relative body shape as the Common Eland, although males do tend to grow taller and slightly bigger in size. However the Horns of the Giant Eland grow much longer than those of the Common or Livingston Eland and can easily be over 45 inches when measured with the spiral. The Giant Eland have abnormally long legs which allow them to travel many miles between water points and good feeding areas.
These animals are hunted by tracking, and as many hunters know any true tracking hunt can be difficult. What makes hunting the Giant Eland truly unique is Equatorial heat that one needs to deal with while hunting these animals. Areas where these animals occur are usually a sparse forest terrain similar to that of the Miombo woodlands but not as much shade. Saying this, there is very little shade to rest and/or to help with the stalk. Tracking and trying to get close to these animals can go on for many hours and even days.
The best time to hunt big Bull Giant Eland is during the winter from January to March. During this time the midday temperatures average at around 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the evenings are very pleasant. The Bull Giant Eland also joins herds during this time and develops a dark winter cape. The Hair on their neck and muzzle develops into a shade of black which compliments the white side stripes on their body. Big, dark dewlaps also become more noticeable as these big bulls walk in and amongst the cows during this time. Hunting the giant Eland In April or early May can easily be done although, the hunts during this time tend to be significantly more demanding both mentally and physically!
Despite the large size of these animals, they tend to have an extremely secretive nature and thus the species has not been studied in great detail. It has been found that in some areas the herds are relatively sedentary and on the other hand there have been herds which undertake seasonal movements. Herds usually consist anywhere from 25 to 50 members.
When hunting The Giant Eland, make sure to use a hard hitting calibre with a minimum of a200 grain expanding bullet, Use a gun which you are comfortable with, the amount of effort and time that goes into these hunts there is usually only one chance, make it count!
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