Hunting Lord Derby Eland

morioc

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Hunting Lord Derby Eland

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Lord Derby Eland in Central African Republic

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Lord Derby Eland Bull in Central Africa

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52.5 inch Lord Derby Eland

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52.5 inch Lord Derby Eland

We don't know much about the Lord Derby Eland, also known as Giant Eland, as it is difficult to find surveys. The subject here is to share what I've noticed during the long walks chasing them since I have been hunting them for a long time now. Lord Derby Eland is one of the biggest antelope in Africa and on the contrary it is not easy to observe. Carrying a great trophy, it is an exceptional species for all the hunters who have enjoyed and who will never forget his tracking and stalking.

It is not easy to truly imagine what it's like when you have never seen one in the wild. Just picture a big and elegant ghostly shape of 600 kg (1,300 pound), 1.8 meter (5.9 feet) in height with a smooth coat reddish brown to chestnut in color with several well defined white stripes on both sides of the body, a huge black haired neck extending to a large pendulous dewlap and a beautiful curly, massive set of horns drifting in and out the bush.

As a savanna antelope they are primarily diurnal. Gregarious specie (up to 100 in herds), only the older bulls disband the herd in the wet season. Highly nomadic with a large home range they spend long hours walking looking for fresh leaves, salt licks and waterholes where they sometimes drink and where the bulls roll in the mud to protect their skin.

Hunting Eland is for me one of the most beautiful experience for one simple reason: he is shy, crafty, clever and you track him. Everyone can hunt a Giant Eland when they are in a good number in an area, it depends on his ability of walking and concentration.


The Eland hunting day always begin by driving around a chosen area, checking the tracks on the roads and salt licks. We don't look for tracks by the water as they don't come often. As you find the tracks, the first thing is to check the freshness of the spoor, dung, leaves and branches by the team and then look for a big bull track, large, square in the front side of the mark, deep on the ground promising a heavy bull.

Before following the trail you have to pack 8 liters of water, camera, rounds, load your rifle and get your mind ready for a long walk. On my side I always boost the morale of the trackers especially the main one because even for them it is a hard hunt. Without a good team of trackers you can forget your Eland unless by a lucky encounter. Their skill, for the best trackers, of following Eland tracks on hard gravel or on burnt terrain is something remarkable. Even for me after many years where I don't have trouble to follow Buffalo, on Eland I lose the trail of 40 animals very easily. While we follow the tracks we always check the different signs; if the dung is green and wet you know they are close, if the leaves and broken trees has moisture on it you know they are close. At that time you have to look for a flicking tail but the trackers will see it long before you. Open your ears to try to catch the noise when they brake the trees or better try to catch the sound of a bull smelling their odor of a strong anise.

Then you hear the tracker going: pssssst... You stop dead still in your tracks and scan and scan again the thick bush you have been walking through for many long hours. Instantaneously you are covered by sweet bees, in your eyes, nose, mouth, ears. You chase them but all of us look at you and you hear, "don't MOVE they are 100 meter in front of us? You wear your head net and are relieved You make one and two steps through the thicket and you point at them with your arm and again I say "don't MOVE..."

We check the swirling midday wind and try to get closer. You think that they are feeding quietly but be sure that with their big ears and eyes, one or two of them have already caught you moving!! They start trotting away in a big cloud of dust... We take the advantage and run towards the cloud to get into a shooting position because they should stop and look back in a moment. You are ready for the first time and at last you see them, you even see the big bull walking broadside 60 meters away between the trees, ruff and dewlap swaying from side to side... Your finger reaches for the trigger of your favorite 375 HH and here you are at the last moment and you instantly forget the last 5, 6, 8 or 9 days of the hard walking pursuit. What great hunting... you have chased the ghost!

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Big Lord Derby Eland Bulls

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Trophy Lord Derby Eland Bulls

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Trophy Lord Derby Eland Bulls

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Trophy Lord Derby Eland Bulls

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Check out the size of the necks in the early season...

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Check out the size of the necks...

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Trophy Lord Derby Eland Bulls

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Lord Derby Eland Bull and Cow

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Trophy Lord Derby Eland Bull on the left

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Lord Derby Eland Bulls running

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48 inch class Lord Derby Eland

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48 inch class Lord Derby Eland

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48 inch class Lord Derby Eland

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Lord Derby Eland curls

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Lord Derby Eland herd

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Medium Lord Derby Eland

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Young Lord Derby Eland Bull

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Time to try...

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Salt lick

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Adding salt

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Lord Derby Eland country

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Lord Derby Eland spoors and dung

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Skinning Eland

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Lord Derby Eland heart

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The Festivities of a Derby Eland Hunt

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A trophy of a lifetime...
 
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AfricaHunting.com

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Fantastic article on one of the great trophies of Africa Christophe! You are certainly going to make a few dream of this well earned trophy of a lifetime.
 

safari-lawyer

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No doubt that the LDE is the grandest animal on the continent. Have a look at this guy, taken by my grandfather, with me in tow, in Cameroon in 2004. The body on this eland was unbelievable. 46 inch horns, well worn.

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graybird

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Fantastic post and pictures!!!
 

enysse

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Awesome pictures! I now have some material to dream about every night!
 

morioc

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Hi Safari-Lawyer, your grand dad shot a great old bull, look at the size and color of the neck and the dewlap, huge..... the horns are smooth, beautiful. He is only 46 because the curls are not deep. This a great trophy to be proud of.
Cheers
 

Caracal

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Wonderful pics. I really enjoy our articles, thank you christophe. I hope one day I'm able to hunt with you.
 

bwanawannabe

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Thanks for the blog Christophe. The lord derby eland is my favorite African animal and your pictures are excellent.
 

Xpraetor

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Wow! What beautiful Trophy bulls! Great post, thank you Christophe.
 

alpinist4life

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My teacher and friend, very nice photos! How'd you convince the warthogs, eland, hartebeest, and maribou to stand and pose in the same picture? ;)
/Adam
 

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jaeger;bt100 said:
Top class!!!!!
Hallo Jaeger
I do agree, it is a magnificant animal! I always thought the Cape Eland was large but this is wow!
Jaeger is German. Are you German speaking?
Just asking!
 

LIMPOPO BIG GAME SAFARIS

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Wow this is fantastic, I'll hunt any Eland above a Buffalo any day.
Maybe one day when I a big ????;)
 

sestoppelman

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Another dream animal, right up there with Bongo! Thanks CM!
 

bassasdaindia

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fantastic Christophe , I hope to hunt a Lord Derby one day

thanks for the post
 

CAustin

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What a wonderful story sir!
 

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Excellent pics, great story! Lord Derby is on the top of my list for sure.
 

flatwater bill

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This is a good article with some great photos. I like the photo of the heart-lungs. No long tracking problem here, with a ragged bullet hole thru the heart. This was a fine shot.
With insurrection and Ebola, terrorism and corruption rife in West Africa in general, a Lord Derby eland hunt retains its high price. Supply and demand at work here. I had hoped one day that a hunt for about 30 grand would be available, but total costs remain about twice that. And up. In my next life I will be a rich rock star.

Markhor, Marco Polo, and LD eland are the big 3 in my estimation.
thanks for the article and the fotos............................FWB
 

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