Eland Hunting

Eland hunting is in the mountainous areas of the Eastern Cape. Eland is the largest of the Spiral Horned family in South Africa. Older mature males can weigh up to one ton and can be very difficult to bring down.

Shot placement should be on the bottom third of the shoulder for Eland hunting.
Shot placement for eland hunting
How to hunt Eland and how much does it cost

Hunting is by walk and stalk or ambush techniques. A lot of glassing is required to locate Eland. A trophy Eland will cost around $2500.Eland trophy taken in the Eastern Cape South Africa

Interesting facts about the Eland for hunters

  • The word “eland” originates from the Dutch for elk.
  • Eland will often stay and face predators rather than run away..
  • They will group with the calves in the center and will present the offending animal with a wall of kicking legs.
  • Eland will rarely fight. They avoid combat by weighing each other up with the smaller one conceding its ground straight away.
  • If they do not, the more dominant male will give the inferior male a “stare,” which should move it on.
  • Adult eland like their own space and do not tolerate other eland coming within six feet of them.
  • Eland conserves water by not sweating to keep cool. Instead, they allow their body temperature to rise during the day and lose the heat during the cooler nights.
  • This practice can save a 500kg eland five liters of water.
  • It was both food and spiritual inspiration to the prehistoric hunter-gatherer peoples of southern Africa.
  • And it features prominently in rock- and cave-art across the region.
  • Today place names such as “Elands fountain” and surnames such as Mpofu (‘eland’ in Zulu) suggest how central to the region’s culture this antelope once was.
  • The giant eland is also called ‘Lord Derby’s eland’ in honor of Edward Smith-Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby.
  • Lord Derby sent botanist Joseph Burke to South Africa to collect animals for his museum.
  • The eland is much better adapted than cattle to the African environment and is easily domesticated.
  • Eland are farmed for its meat and milk in both South Africa and Russia.
  • A female can produce up to 7kg of milk per day and is richer in fat than cow’s milk.
  • Eland hunting is a great African hunting experience and can be considered together with buffalo and nyala hunting.

The difference between a male and female eland

Mature males are larger and have a very prominent dewlap on the throat. Adult males also have a darker coat, sometimes with a bluish tinge. Males have dense fur on the forehead while females do not. Both sexes have horns. The horns of males are thicker and shorter than those of females.

Eland male grazing in Africa.Mature males are larger and have a very prominent dewlap on the throat.
Eland male grazing in Africa
Females in the sunset with male in the background
Eland females in the sunset with male in the background

About the Eland

Description of Eland

Eland prefers to live in semi-arid areas that contain low bushes and often inhabit grasslands, woodlands, sub-desert, bush, and mountaintops.

They do, however, avoid forests, swamps, and deserts. Eland form herds of up to 500 animals but are not territorial.

Eland hunting will result in a larger trophy than both kudu and roan antelope.

They are spiral-horned antelopes. Females are smaller than males. Females weigh 660–1,320 pounds and stand 49–60 inches at the shoulder.

Bulls weigh 882–2,077 pounds and stand 59–72 inches at the shoulder. Male eland can weigh up to 2,200 pounds.

Apart from the course mane, the coat is fairly smooth. Females have tan skin, while the coats of males are darker, with a blueish tinge.

Bulls can also have vertical white stripes on their sides. As males age, their coat becomes darker.

Males have dense fur on their foreheads and a large dewlap on their throats.

Both males and females have horns with a steady spiral ridge (resembling that of the bushbuck). The horns of males are thicker and shorter than those of females.

Males use their horns during rutting season to fend off and butt heads with rivals, while females use their horns to protect their calves from predators.

Information for Eland hunting

The eland is the slowest antelope, with a peak speed of 25 miles per hour that tires them quickly.

However, they can maintain 14 miles per hour trot indefinitely.

They can jump up 8 feet from a standing start when startled 10 feet for young eland.

Eland’s life expectancy is between 14 and 22 years.

Eland also has a nursery in their herds for their calves.

They migrate widely in search of grazing, and therefore the dominant bulls are not territorial or defensive of their areas of land.

During the females’ estrus cycles, however, bulls become possessive and territorial.

Living in regions with little surface water, the eland, being a nocturnal animal, feeds on vegetation that absorbs moisture from the atmosphere at night.

This provides the eland with sufficient fluid sustenance. The eland is a browser that feeds on a variety of plants.

They can go long periods without water but then needs “tsama” fruits and gemsbok cucumbers for its water requirements.

Eland hunting makes for a fantastic day out in the African bushveld.

Eland Hunting in South Africa

Vital organs showing the position of the heart and lungs. Trophies should have an approximate horn length of 30 - 33 inches
Vital organs for Eland hunting

Your eland trophy should have an average shoulder height of around 67 inches, weigh about 1500 pounds, and have a Horn length of approximately 30 – 33 inches.

The minimum Safari Club International score for an Eland is 77 and is measured by adding the length of each horn and the circumference of bases.

Eland is the largest of the Spiral Horned family in South Africa.

Older mature males can weigh up to one ton and can be very difficult to bring down.

Free-ranging eland hunting is found in the Bedford mountains. However, high-quality bulls are very scarce.

If you are looking for an outstanding bull, you may have to consider going into one of the high fenced reserves.

If you listen closely, and you’ll hear a distinct clicking sound as the herd of approaches.

The Eland’s hooves, which splay apart and click back together under the animals’ great weight, cause the clicking sound.

Trophy Judgement and Rifle Caliber for Eland hunting

Eland Hunting - trophies taken in the Eastern Cape South Africa. Eland can be added to any of our South African Hunting Safari Packages.
Eland Hunting – trophies taken in the Eastern Cape South Africa. Eland can be added to any of our South African Hunting Safari Packages.

As with most African animals, shot placement should always be in the bottom third of the shoulder.

Hunting eland with 7mm or 30 caliber rifles would be the minimum recommended caliber. Loading the eland always proves to be a fun exercise.

For those hunters who do not wish to go through the red tape of bringing a rifle into South Africa, Nick Bowker Hunting has available a Sako carbon light 300 Winchester Magnum fitted with a suppressor.

Mounted on the gun is a Swarovski DS with a built-in rangefinder.

We have hand loaded Hornady ELD-X 200 grain ammunition.

The rifle, including ammunition, is available as part of all hunting packages free of charge.

When judging the trophy quality of eland, it’s essential to look at the size of the ridge on the boss, the color of the dewlap.

Mature bulls will display a black/darkened fringe on the forehead, with the emphasis not always being the length of the horn but the age of the animal.

Eland hunting should always be considered for any African hunting safari.