The Mountain Nyala is considered by some to be the rarest of the spiral horned species. This animal is truly special, found only in the Bale National Park in Ethiopia as well as the parks surrounding areas. It is estimated that there are only 4000 Mountain Nyala left to date and there is strict control when issuing permits to hunt one of these fine specimens. An interesting fact is that the Mountain Nyala was only discovered in 1908 and described by English naturalist Richard Lydekker in 1910.
The areas in which Mountain Nyala are hunted is in the Ethiopian Highlands at elevations above 9000 ft. There are said to be populations much lower down around 3000ft, but these may not be hunted. It is thought that the populations lower down are those which are returning to their natural habitat and the only reason many specimens are found so high up is due to the animals trying to escape human settlement in the lower lying areas.
Mountain Nyala are hunted in the Ethiopian highlands at altitudes of 9000ft right up to 14000ft.There are populations of Mountain Nyala much lower down around 3000ft but these are strictly conserved, as this is actually where their natural habitat lies. It is human encroachment in these areas which is thought to be the reason that these animals move so high up into the mountains.
Only The Male Mountain Nyala carry lyre shaped horns, very similar in shape to that of the common Nyala. The mountain Nyala is however a lot bigger both in body size and horn length when compared to the Southern/common Nyala. A Bull mountain Nyala with horns anywhere close to 30 inches is a fine specimen. The Rowland Ward minimum is 33 inches; world number one measured 39.5inches with an SCI score of 117 inches.
The method of hunting these fine animals involves covering vast distances on horseback and often setting up fly camps overnight in an area. The Mountain Nyala are active only in low light periods so most hunting is done early hours of the morning and late afternoon. The areas where the animals occur will need to be glassed extensively with spotting scopes; some outfitters even have spotters who sleep in the field and radio in when a good specimen is spotted. Once a suitable trophy has been identified the stalk is usually done on foot to get into a good shooting position. The shots on these animals can be anywhere from 100 yards to 400 yards.
Majority of mountain Nyala hunting safaris are a minimum of 15days. This allows enough time to pick out a good trophy bull as well as a few extra days to harvest some of the species which are found lower down on the plateau.
A mountain Nyala is a truly once in a lifetime animal to take and is one of those species which demands a full mount. However if a full mount is not an option then a pedestal or even a shoulder mount will do. Choose your taxidermist very wisely as this is an animal which is not very common and should by all means be given the utmost care and detail.
Caliber choices range from a 7mm magnum up to a fast shooting 338 magnum calibre. Bullets should be designed for good penetration right up to at least 400 yards. Get to know where your rifle is hitting from 200 through to 500 yards. These animals are hunted in the mountains and giving up a shot on an exceptional bull due to the fact that he’s a bit far out is a position you really don’t want to find yourself in.
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