Cape eland hunting is one of the best trophy opportunities available in South Africa. These giants of the bushveld and forest make for a difficult and rewarding main hunt or a thrilling target of opportunity. Anyone hunting in the Eastern Cape should take this enormous antelope into consideration.
The Cape eland ranges through much of South Africa and northward into Botswana and Namibia. Though they were once severely overhunted and disappeared in most regions of South Africa, re-introduction efforts have restored them to most of their former territory and the Eastern Cape is once again a top-notch eland hunting destination.
Cape eland have a tawny coat. Unlike other eland subspecies, they usually have no notable markings, with their white stripes disappearing as they get older. Only a few have white facial markings or dark patches on the back of their legs. Both sexes boast a short mane and a large dewlap; this dewlap has a fringe of long hairs which is more noticeable in bulls. Old males begin to develop a bluish coloration about the neck as they age, and many consider these to be the finest trophies, even when their horns are worn down.
On average, this eland stands about five and a half feet tall at the shoulder. Males usually weigh more than 1500 pounds while females are significantly lighter, averaging less than 1000 pounds.
Both sexes carry beautiful spiraling horns with curved tips which can point in variable directions—it’s not uncommon to see forward-curved or backward-curved horns. Females are known for occasionally carrying the longest horns, but those of males are thicker and heavier. Horns above thirty inches are considered quality trophy length, with horns in the 40 inch range being truly world class. Anything much longer than that may be a record-breaker! That said, you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a target with smaller horns. Eland hunting is difficult, and any healthy bull makes for a very respectable trophy.
Eland hunting is never easy, and the Cape eland can be particularly tough. Unlike some of their more gregarious cousins, they don’t tend to associate in extremely large herds, and generally stick together in groups of about two dozen animals. However, they do share the never-look-back retreat habits of other eland, and will lead you on a merry chase that can last days if they’re alerted.
Another difficulty is their tendency to live in thick cover, and the hunter will often have to stalk them through forests or dense brush. Be prepared for both short-range and long-range shots if you’re engaging in an active hunt like this. Other hunters prefer to use stands or blinds, but this is an extremely unpredictable quarry and even the best placement might not yield an opportunity. Your outfitter will advise you on the best methods for your hunt.
Whichever method you use, one thing is certain: it’s the thrill of a lifetime when you get a bull in your sights. This is a true African hunting experience that nobody should pass up.
Call Global Sporting Safaris today at 888-850-4868, Extension 702 and let us know what type of Cape eland hunting experience you are looking for. We’ll send you information on opportunities that match your goals. Our experienced outfitters are second to none and we’re happy to share personal experiences with you.