There are few experiences more challenging and rewarding than Lord Derby eland hunting. It takes patience, determination, and physical endurance—but the reward is one of the most impressive trophies Africa has to offer.
The Lord Derby eland, also known as the giant eland, is the largest antelope species on Earth. It usually grows from seven to nine feet long, stands from just under five to nearly six feet tall at the shoulder, and weighs about 1,000-2,000 pounds. But it isn’t just their size that makes them such excellent trophies: these majestic creatures carry incredible spiral horns that can occasionally reach lengths of more than four feet. Adding to their distinctive appearance is a huge hair-fringed dewlap that hangs from their necks. Between the horns above and the dewlaps below, they make for an imposing sight.
These antelope have tan to reddish-brown coats slashed with white stripes. Other markings include a white mouth, prominent black patches on the back of the front legs, a black collar with a white base, a tufted tail, and a strip of black hair from forehead to nose that often gives the animal a stern appearance when faced head-on.
Before deciding on a specific Lord Derby eland hunting trip, it’s important to know about local variation in appearance. Lord Derby elands are less brightly colored and have fewer stripes than the western giant elands, but they are larger and have longer horns. Sudanese Lord Derbys display a rust-red mat of forehead hair and those from Ubangi-Chari show mats of a dark chestnut tone instead. The latter also have longer and thinner horns than those from other areas.
The hunting season lasts from January through March, and most hunts last two to three weeks.
Lord Derby eland hunting almost always requires active pursuit. These are wary, fast-moving animals that rarely stay in one place for long, and most hunts must be done by tracking on foot. Usually a professional hunter or guide will take clients through promising areas at dawn to look for fresh tracks, often from a vehicle if there are roads. Once tracks are found, the hunters must follow them as speedily as they can manage in order to catch up to the quarry. This can sometimes take days and lead far from the beaten path, making the services of a tried-and-true outfitter or PH absolutely essential.
On top of moving quickly, the hunters must be extremely cautious—if you frighten an eland, it will often bolt immediately. Don’t count on it slowing down any time soon if this happens, either; one botched opportunity can result in hours or days of extra tracking before you catch up again. Make sure this doesn’t happen by paying close attention to your guide and never rushing your first shot.
The difficulties make it all the more satisfying when you succeed. It’s an unforgettable thrill that is rarely matched by other hunts, and the trophy is a worthwhile reward.
Call today or fill out the form below and let us know what type of Lord Derby 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 our personal experiences with you.