What makes hunting Eland special?

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by dmyers, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. steve ahrenberg

    steve ahrenberg AH Veteran

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    I've been fortunate enough to have hunted three of the four Elands. My Cape Eland was shot in RSA in about 2001 (I think) t was on a fairly small property, the walking wasn't terribly long or hard.

    The second was my Livingstone Eland. I hunted and shot it in the Tondwa concession in far Northeast Zambia. It was a classic tracking hunt. We tracked the herd literally most of the day, I was able to witness one of the finest pure tracking jobs I had ever seen. Long grass, rock fields, open plains, you name it, we followed. One small mistake for a mid-day drink...man down.

    My last and most recent was my LDE in C.A.R. tough environment, dangerous times. It was 2012, Joseph Kony and the LRA was causing all kinds of trouble in the bush. Confrontations with Sudanese Elephant poachers. There was civil unrest in Bangui. So aside from just the long and desperate tracking days, your still in C.A.R. and its not really safe anywhere. We closed the gap and killed on day 5 (I think).

    The last of the Eland, the EA Eland or Patterson's Eland, I was unsuccessful in 2016 in Tanzania. The area was horribly poached and the PH was a poseur.

    I am hoping to complete the Eland this year, going back to Tanzania in August.

    Elands...yep, there's just something about em'

    Steve
     
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  2. Jeffrey Masters

    Jeffrey Masters AH Veteran

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    Holy Cow!! Yes sir, I'd say thre is definitely something about them!!
     

  3. billc

    billc AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    united state- Co Nm Mt Wy Pa , canada ,mexico ,south africa- Northwest, Limpopo, freestste.Northern cape,East cape, namibia

    Thanks Tim I missed that post some how.

    Hutch I do not know name of ranch. There was only 1 mature bull 1 young bull and 2 cows and they wanted them gone. I said I would hunt the big bull and we tracked him all day. Was a great hunt and one I remember. Lammie is a great Ph and you will laugh and take some great animals with him.
     
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  4. seattlesetters

    seattlesetters AH Veteran

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    If you don’t mind saying, with whom did you book your Spiral Horn Slam hunt with?
     

  5. billc

    billc AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    He is part of the Paw print group in july. Will be 7 of us hunting in total and he is after the spiral and some extras.
     
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  6. seattlesetters

    seattlesetters AH Veteran

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    Good to know, Bill.

    The more I think and plan, the more I lean toward a Spiral Horn Slam along with 3-4 others (Impala!) if I end up in RSA.

    That really seems to be what would make me happiest.
     
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  7. Schalk Pienaar Safaris Namibia

    Schalk Pienaar Safaris Namibia SPONSOR Since 2019 AH Senior Member

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    In my opinion an old Eland bull is one of the toughest animals to hunt in Africa. By far my favorite plains game animal to hunt. IMG_4256.JPG IMG_0108.JPG IMG_0091.JPG IMG_0130.JPG FullSizeRender.jpg IMG_0141.JPG
     
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  8. Ragman

    Ragman AH Elite

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    Saw a dandy in the Eastern Cape when I was there in July, but had already spent over my budget. If I am lucky enough to be able to return sometime in the future, an Eland is high on the list!
     
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  9. Newboomer

    Newboomer GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Lammie is the man. I've had the great pleasure of hunting with him the last two years. He is very particular in what he lets you shoot. Not just any animal, it has to be, in his words, "That's a nice one." Then you can shoot. I am going to hunt eland with him next April (2019). I need an eland and a bushbuck to complete my spiral slam.
     
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  10. JPbowhunter

    JPbowhunter AH Fanatic

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    If i could travel to africa and only shoot one animal before coming home eland would be it for me, I'd hunt one over most of the big 5.
     
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  11. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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  12. dmyers

    dmyers AH Veteran

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    Is the fact that they are so big a factor that makes them so exciting? I know moose hunters that are addicted the the sheer mass of a big bull moose.
     

  13. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Elite

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    I shot my Eland in SA on my 2017 trip. It was the same one I tried to get in 2013. It took a solid 7 days to be able to get it in 2017. I also did my spiral slam in 2017 even though I shot another Kudu in 2013. The 2013 was deep curls but not real wide. I liked the wide on my daughter shot. I told the PH if we found a wide one I would like to take it. That was the 1st animal I was able to shoot in 2017. It was 32" wide tip to tip.

    They are not easy to get when on large properties and spot and stalk
     
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  14. Schalk Pienaar Safaris Namibia

    Schalk Pienaar Safaris Namibia SPONSOR Since 2019 AH Senior Member

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    Thank you. Yes these were all hunted in Eastern Namibia and the area is densely populated with Terminalia trees, making it very challenging. You have to track them for miles and miles and you hardly ever get a shot at over 80-100y. Most of them are 40-60 yard shots. Very exiting!
     
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  15. Ryan

    Ryan AH Fanatic

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    Possibly. It's amazing how something so large can disappear, which can be said of moose too. I hunted eland for several days in Namibia in '16 and left without ever seeing a mature bull other than a quick sight through the trees and trail cam shots. This year in the East Cape of South Africa I hadn't originally planned on hunting one but it worked into my plans. We dialed into one the second time looking for a big bull. The last four hours was a game of chess. Check mate.
    IMG_20180914_203005.jpeg
     

  16. steve ahrenberg

    steve ahrenberg AH Veteran

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    I quoted my own post here for a reason. I put this up when the thread was posted. At that time, I had three of the four Elands of the world. I got back September 10th or so, from Ibanda/Rumanyika concession in extreme NW Tanzania. So far NW, that our camp was literally 1K from the Kagera river which forms the international boundary with both Rwanda and Uganda. I was successful on the East African Eland along with EA Roan, Topi, Bohor Reedbuck, Defassa Waterbuck, two 26" Impala and two Buffalo, one of which was 49".

    I hunted with Wayne Grant, had a marvelous Safari.

    Cape Eland
    Livingstone Eland
    Lord Derby Eland
    Pattersone Eland !!!!

    Complete, 19 years.

    IMG_1478.JPG
     
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  17. IdaRam

    IdaRam SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Congrats! Well done on a BIG accomplishment!
    Would love to read a report on this hunt ;) And see a few more pictures :D
     
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  18. steve ahrenberg

    steve ahrenberg AH Veteran

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    I'll put some up in the morning.

    The four Elands was a goal on this Safari. Completing all three Roans of Africa was an unintended gift. I didn't even realize there were three until Wayne told me as we were stalking the bull I shot.
     
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  19. steve ahrenberg

    steve ahrenberg AH Veteran

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    Here is the entire chapter from the book I'm currently finishing up. It's passed my "editing" but not my editors, editing. :)
    Long, but its a 19 year quest.



    The Elands…


    I began my African hunting in earnest, in 1999. As for many, I hunted in South Africa. My first foray into a PG hunt was a package called “The Magnificent Seven.” It was, Impala, Kudu, Bushbuck, Warthog, Zebra, Steinbok and Blesbok.

    I purchased the Safari at the SCI show in Reno, 1998. I bought it from Phillip Bronkhorst Safaris. I had a wonderful trip and as with many, I was hooked. I actually rebooked before l got back to the airport for the trip home.

    The following year, I hunted a bunch of typical second Safari stuff to include a Cape Eland.

    After returning home, I wanted to expand my African hunting into the wild and untamed Africa, I knew was still there. I employed the expertise of John Barth of Adventure Unlimited. John spent much time with me and we came up with a plan that made sense on how to move my hunting, throughout Africa. We booked a Safari to Zambia for Sitatunga, Roan, Blue Duiker and…The Livingstone Eland.

    The Safari was with Muchinga Adventures. The hunt was conducted in their Tondwa concession which is a remote little piece of Africa in the far North Eastern corner, right up by DRC, Tanzania, on the Southwest corner of Lake Tanganyika. I had a young, energetic PH named Terry Von Royen.

    The Safari was great, I killed a Sitatunga, a Roan, a representative Blue Duiker and my Livingstone Eland. The Eland hunt was proper Eland tracking. We saw the herd run across the track early in the morning. We departed the cruiser on foot. The tracking was difficult, we followed trough long grass, fields of rock, Savanna and Mopane forest.

    We finally caught them at water, sometime around mid-day. I was presented a longish shot, I put my .375HH upon the sticks and had collected the second of four Elands. I believe that was 2004.

    For the next 5-6 years I hunted Lions, Leopards, Elephants and a myriad of Buffaloes and PG species throughout Africa.

    I had always had my eye on the Central African Republic (CAR) and its long list of exotic and endemic species and its unique environment. In December of 2012, I found myself in Bangui, CAR with a 21-day Safari license in hand. The company I hunted with, Central African Wildlife Adventures or CAWA has one of the very few areas that one can hunt Bongo and Lord Derby Eland (LDE) in one safari.

    Incidentally, the entire Safari team; Clients and PH’s flew in from Paris, CDG, together. I was to hunt with Mike Fell. On the flight in, we were able to discuss my desires and priorities. As for most folks, Bongo and Eland were the most desired of all. My hunt being late December, early January would ensure the LDE would be dressed in their long, elegant, rutting black mane.

    A short drive from the airstrip found us at camp Kocho, on the banks of the Kocho river. If a more peaceful place exists on Earth, I’ve yet to see it. It is truly old Africa here. Highly French West Africa influenced. It is remote, as remote as anywhere I’ve been in Africa. It is three days drive from Bangui.

    The owner, Erik Mararv runs a nice operation and spotless camp. All the furniture is made on site with local African hardwoods. The ambiance of the Bako’s (River Forests) is in stark contrast to the hot and dry Savanna, which oddly, is only a step or two away. You literally walk from Savanna to Bako in one or two steps.

    Mike and I would begin our Safari in Kocho camp. The other two clients, a married team were to drive another eight hours on to Mbari camp, on the Mbari river. It is affectionately known as “Bongo” camp.

    Distances here are far, much longer than hunting in East Africa. I have never spent so much of my day just getting to where the hunting would commence. Accordingly, we arose and ate early and got home proportionately late. No camp life to speak of, eat, sleep…start over the next morning.

    The first hunting day we drove to a few “Salines” (natural salt licks) the animals seem to really gather at these and you will occasionally catch some game animal at one either licking or actually eating the salty soil.

    I believe it was the second saline we checked. There had been a large herd of Eland here earlier. Not knowing what was in the herd, we began to follow. The tracking is mostly fast, following a herd of over 100 animals the size of an Eland you’d believe to be easy and stay easy. However, there were times they seem to simply vanish into the hot African bush. Conversely there were times the entire herd had walked through a burn, leaving tracks that anyone could follow. It was as if we were following muddy footprints across white carpet.

    Tracking Lord Derby’s Eland requires dedication, if you stop to rest, they continue on, extending their lead. We continued at a good pace up until dark, we began to catch them and actually could see bits and pieces of a few animals through the Terminalia Trees. It was then, at that moment I caught my first look at the Lord Derby Eland.

    He is tall, taller than you may think. It struck me that this bull was as tall as a Moose. They seem to effortlessly glide along with a graceful trot. They are clothed in a smooth coat of tawny elegance with vertical bars of flowing white silk, combining into nothing short of hot buttered rum. The bull’s mane was long and black as ebony.

    I was forever changed. The vision before me was more than I had ever read about. I was hunting the Holy Grail of all the Antelopes in what to me was “The Garden of Eden.” I felt unworthy as to my place in this moment. I firmly remember thinking, this must be the most spectacular hunting trophy on this planet.

    We were not able to sort them out and lost to the light. We had a two hour walk back to the cruiser as there are very few hunting roads here. After getting back to the cruiser, we still had two hours of rough Africa back to camp Kocho. Late dinner, off to bed.

    The next hunting day began where we ended our tracking the previous evening. We tracked fast, long and hard. We followed through open hot savanna, we followed through hopelessly long fields of long grass, huge “lakerie’s” (rock fields). They seemed to moved with a mission, never stopping. They seemed to feed as they moved, still not stopping. We would drink, eat while tracking, knowing if we stopped, they would stretch their lead. All this with the Eland unaware of our pursuit. As with day one, we caught them right around dusk, with the same results.

    We repeated this process every single day. We would begin our day where the previous one ended.

    Day 5 of the Safari started no different than any of the previous. We drove as close to the end of the last evenings tracking and began. Mike and I were both fit, Mike from long hunting days and myself from 25 years of riding and racing bicycles. I was prepared for whatever and however long this would go on.

    Not long into the tracking, we came across a herd of Lewel’s Hartebeest. It was one of my animals and this herd had a bruiser of a bull that Mike didn’t think we should pass on. I short stalk and one shot had him down.

    Now what? We’re on track of LDE and have to deal with this animal. Our driver walked back to the cruiser. The hunting party skinned and quartered the animal. We had finished about the same time the cruiser made its way back to us. We made the decision to hide the meat and cape in a cool stream within one of the countless Bako’s, every one seemed to have a clean, cool small river or stream.

    With that behind us, we continued on with the tracking, knowing this cost us precious time we would need to make up. The time was about 10AM.

    We had been going a couple hours if memory serves me right. We were just leaving some thick bush and crossing into yet another lakerie. As we emerged, the lead tracker stopped and pointed at three Roan bulls. Roan were also on contract and I did want one. As I rose my binos to have a look at the Roan, Mike grabbed my shoulder and spun me around, now looking 90 degrees to the left. We had caught them. Before us, was the herd we had been tracking. It was at least 100 strong. The herd contained two bulls. One, long in horn but not heavy, the other, thick broomed off horns. He was covered in mud from the water hole they were now at.

    The herd was oblivious to our presence. Mike put the shooting sticks up and asked me which bull. We agreed, the old shorter bull was the one. My .375 roared, the bull staggered. Mike ordered to shoot him again. As I started to squeeze, he began to fall. A second shot wasn’t needed.

    I was in a state of tunnel vision. It didn’t really fully hit me that I had just killed the Holy Grail of all Antelopes in the purest of fashions.

    We all walked the 150 yards to the fallen beast and were all without words. His long, black, rutting cape was so much more than I had expected. His coat was perfect.

    I had toyed with the idea of doing a full mount and had chatted with Mike about it previously. He agreed, it must be. We skinned it for full mount, quartered it. After we finished, we covered it with brush and retired to the shade for lunch. We figured we had a pretty good wait for the cruiser.

    I was awoke from a brief nap by the far off sound of the little diesel, chugging its way through the bush.

    By the time we loaded all the quarters, the cape and skull it was getting late. I figured another 4 hours back to camp Kocho. We also had to stop to retrieve the Hartebeest from the Bako we had cached it in.

    As we approached the outskirts of camp, Mike asked me to fire a couple shots into an unsuspecting tree to relay our success onward to camp. As we arrived at the Kocho river (which has to be crossed) the entire camp was waiting on the other side. We reached the far bank and stopped. We were greeted with on of the finest celebrations I’ve seen in all my years of hunting. We were carried upon their shoulders and had branches of trees adorning our attire. Quite a welcoming it was.

    Even then, I really never gave any thought to successfully hunting all 4 of the Elands. But as it now Stands, I only have a Patterson or East African left.

    I took a couple years off from hunting Africa. I planned on a return to pursue the last of the Elands. I made one of my only errors of my hunting career. I booked a discounted hunt with a dodgy outfitter and didn’t use my friend and booking agent, John Barth. I would hunt an open area called Kilwa.

    I had a 21-day license on a 16-day hunt. To make a long, dreadful story readable, it was terrible. I killed a couple Buffalo and a few other species but the place had no anti-poaching, no water and nearly no animals. I went home without my primary species, Patterson’s Eland. That was 2015.

    I did desire to go back to Tanzania and hunt Patterson’s Eland and soon. John Barth and I began to look around at what was available. He knew I had wanted to hunt Leopard again at some point. The hunt John found was in a concession in NW Tanzania called Ibanda. It was actually with Wayne Grant who literally wrote the book on Leopard Hunting. This hunt was too good to pass up, we planned it for fall of 2017.

    As I stated previously, I’m a dedicated cyclist. I’ve been riding and racing for 30 years. As the time for my trip was rapidly approaching, I was fighting a significant overuse cycling tendinopathy issue. I was in far too much pain to fly the distances required to get to Tanzania. I had no choice but to ask to postpone, if Wayne was able to.

    Wayne was disappointed but understood and we planned it for the fall of 2018.

    I arrived on schedule to the little town of Bukoba, Tanzania, which is right on the East shore of Lake Victoria. After the third or fourth “Ammo counting drill” with the Tanzanian authorities, we were free to go.

    The drive to camp was a quick 3-1/2 hours, 120K of Tar, 120K of dirt, mostly pretty good. Conversation with Wayne was easy. He and I are only one-year apart and see most everything the same way. I could tell this was going to be an enjoyable Safari.

    Upon arrival to camp, Wayne introduced me to the staff and showed me my quarters for the duration. We had a quick lunch, checked the rifle and prepared for the next day, the first hunting day. Wayne was clear as to my priorities, Patterson’s Eland, Topi and East African Sitatunga. I also had two Buffalo on license and will always partake in another Buffalo hunt.

    As day one started, we drove around the concession, which is right on the Kagera river, which forms the international boundary with Rwanda and a bit north, Uganda. There were afternoon storms nearly every day. The grass had been burnt and the new green grass was growing rapidly. In places it looked like a golf course. There were hills and much topography, unlike anywhere I had previously hunted in Africa. The hills were mostly green. In places the grass was long enough to wave in the breeze. This place was truly amazing.

    The game was plentiful. Defassa Waterbuck were everywhere. I did have interest in one but really wanted to hunt Eland first. Along the way to a Saline (salt Lick) we spotted some East African Roan. I hadn’t really thought about Roan but this East African Roan would give me all three species, Southern, Western and East African.

    We put on a stalk and I made a 285-yard shot. We had collected our first trophy. He was a fine bull and I was proud to have shot him.

    The next morning, we drove our normal route, across a big Korongo, past the “old camp” and up the hill where the Waterbuck all hang out at.

    We hadn’t been out that long when Pemba, one of our trackers, told us…Eland. Wayne stopped the cruiser and we disembarked. We began a stalk of cat and mouse that went on for a couple hours. The herd finally made a mistake on a hunch that Wayne had about us positioning ourselves on a small rise, thinking they may come across the flat on the other side. The big blue bull was third or fourth in line. I was ready on the shooting sticks, Wayne did something, (I can’t remember) to get the bull to stop. I shot, full broadside and I felt good about the shot.

    We gave them a few minutes and took a look where he was standing. There was some blood but not much. We began to track blood and tracks. He was still in the herd. Wayne thought I had made a good shot and we kept thinking we would come across him soon. We tracked and tracked and tracked some more. The blood was quickly disappearing.

    Wayne stopped and told me he thinks my shot wasn’t fatal and he was hit in the leg somewhere. I agreed with him.

    As we continued on, the desperation started, I hate that feeling more than anything in the world. About then, we got a lucky break…We saw them. The bull was still in the herd and doing fine. There was blood visible, high on his right front leg.

    Now we were motivated, we speed up to a brisk walk. I am still un-able to run due to my tendinopathy. The herd looked as thought they were going to cross the big Korongo, mentioned earlier. Wayne told me to hurry up and we’ll get an open shot as they come up the other side.

    Just then, the Eland made their second error. They decided they didn’t want to cross the Korongo and made a sharp right turn. They would present a shot. I was ready in my scope, Wayne was watching in his binos. “No, no, no, no…that’s the bull, shoot him” I had only a running shot, which I pulled off. I was able to get another shot off, not knowing if I had hit it on the second shot.

    Now the cruiser shows up with the hunting party. We have fresh tracks and more blood. We slowly followed, Wayne intuitively knew the bull was going to leave the herd. Right where Wayne found where he separated, we saw him disappearing off the edge of the same Korongo. We approached the edge and there he stood, he was sick and dying. I fired another shot with my .375HH and had collected the fourth and final Eland.

    He was magnificent. Huge in body, modest in horn. The Eland here seem all to be about the same size in horn. He has a long and pronounced dewlap. He died like a true warrior. He gave us a great hunt, one I will remember for the rest of my days. My first shot was in front of the shoulder, through the brisket. My first running shot was good, my second, hail Mary was a raking gut shot.

    My nearly 20-year quest to hunt all of Africa’s Eland was now complete. We did it in good country, with good men, in a classic and proper manner.
     

  20. steve ahrenberg

    steve ahrenberg AH Veteran

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    Here is the result of the LDE Hunt.

    IMG_2160.JPG
     

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