When it comes to bow hunting, South Africa offers a plethora of exciting opportunities. One such adventure that should not be missed is the exhilarating experience of hunting Eland, one of the largest antelope species found on the African continent. With its imposing size, amazing strength, and elusive nature, Eland makes for a challenging target that will test the skills and patience, this is what you can experience on a bow hunt in South Africa.
The Eland – Largest Antelope in South Africa
Before diving into the intricacies of bow hunting Eland, it is important to understand the fascinating characteristics of this huge animal. Eland, scientifically known as Taurotragus oryx, is native to the African plains and bushveld. It is renowned for its impressive size, with males weighing up to 2000 pounds and standing over 6 feet tall at the shoulder. You get two different South African subspecies the Cape Eland and Livingstone Eland, Giant or Lord Derby Eland are found in central Africa. When they come to water you can hear a distinctive click as they walk. Both sexes have horns, the cow will have horns that are slightly thinner, while a mature males horns will be much thicker and he will have a dewlap and dark fringe on the forehead, they are part of the spiral horn slam.
These magnificent animal possesses a distinct set of spiraled horns that can reach lengths of up to 47 inches. Their coats vary in color, ranging from a reddish-brown to a grayish hue, allowing them to blend seamlessly into their natural habitat. Despite their substantial size, Eland are agile and possess remarkable endurance, making them challenging prey on an African Safari. There are no seasonal restrictions on hunting these animals. The best place to hunt them is the Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces.
Bow Hunting Eland in South Africa
Bow hunting an Eland bull in South Africa is a thrilling adventure that combines archery skills, strategy, and patience. The first step to embarking on this safari is to choose a reputable hunting outfitter or hunting concession that specializes in archery safaris. These experts will provide you with the necessary guidance, equipment, and knowledge to maximize your chances of success.
Upon arrival at the hunting destination, you will be greeted by the breathtaking landscapes of South Africa. Your professional guide will take you through the necessary preparations, and check your equipment including the bow, arrows, and other essential gear.
Make sure that you have a compound or crossbow with a minimum 65 pound draw weight. Your arrows should be of the durable and light carbon fiber type with a minimum final arrow weight of 450 grains. Choose sharp broad heads with a cutting diameter of 1.5 inches (Muzzy and Montec work well), they can be either mechanical open on contact or fixed blade design.
They will also ensure that you are familiar with the local hunting regulations and are well-versed in ethical hunting practices.
Scouting and Tracking
Scouting and tracking play a crucial role in the success of a hunt for a trophy Eland bull. Before setting out, your guide will acquaint you with the typical behaviors, feeding patterns, and habitats of Eland. This knowledge will aid you in identifying potential hunting grounds and strategizing your approach. The vastness of South Africa’s wilderness makes this process even more exciting, as each hunt offers a unique and unpredictable experience.
Accompanied by your experienced guide, you will start with scouting expeditions, searching for fresh tracks, droppings, and other signs of Eland activity. As you follow these clues, you will enter the world of Eland, immersing yourself in the beauty of the African bush. The thrill of spotting a herd of Eland is unparalleled, and it is during these moments that your skills as a hunter will truly be put to the test.
Setting Up the Perfect Shot on an Eland Hunt
Archery hunting Eland requires careful planning and execution to ensure a clean and ethical kill. Once you have located a suitable herd, your guide will assist you in selecting the best vantage point for your shot. This could involve crawling or stealthily maneuvering closer to the animals, taking advantage of natural cover and foliage to remain undetected.
Shot Placement on a Trophy
The distance and angle of your shot will largely depend on your skill level and personal preference. However, it is crucial to remember that Eland are robust animals, and good shot placement is essential to ensure a humane harvest. If you are in a blind you will have more time to choose your shot, look for a broadside shot and aim behind the shoulder a third of the way up from the bottom of the chest into the heart-lung area . The next best option is the quartering away shot, aim for the off side front leg for a perfect lung shot. Your guide will provide guidance on shot placement, taking into account the anatomy and behavior of Eland, to maximize your chances of hitting the vitals.
Celebrating a Successful Hunt
After a successful shot, the real work begins. Tracking a wounded Eland can be an intense and physically demanding task, often requiring teamwork and perseverance. The meat of Eland is highly regarded for its quality and flavor, making for excellent eating when the fillets are cooked over an open fire.
Back at the lodge, you can celebrate your triumph with friends, sharing stories of your adventure and relishing in the camaraderie that comes with a successful harvesting trophy animals. The memories made during your time in South Africa will undoubtedly stay with you for a lifetime, serving as a testament to the incredible experiences that archery hunting Eland can offer.
Eland bow hunting in South Africa is a captivating and rewarding experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the bushveld. With its majestic stature and challenging nature, Eland provides the perfect opportunity for archery hunting enthusiasts to test their skills and embark on an unforgettable adventure. Remember to choose a reputable company, respect ethical hunting practices, and relish in the beauty and excitement that an African hunting Safari has to offer. Happy hunting!
FAQ’s Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Eland?
The Eland is one of the largest antelope species found in Africa. It is known for its impressive size, reaching up to 2,200 pounds in weight and standing over 6 feet tall at the shoulder. They are related to Kudu, Nyala and Bushbuck.
Why is hunting Eland in Southern Africa exciting?
Hunting Eland in Southern Africa is exciting because it combines archery skills, strategy, and loads of patience. The Eland’s size, strength, and elusive nature make it a challenging target for archers.
What do I need for a Eland hunting safari in Africa?
To embark on an Eland hunting safari in Africa, you will need to choose a reputable company or hunting concession that specializes in archery safaris. You will also need a compound or crossbow with a minimum 65 pound draw weight, arrows weighing 450 grains or more and good quality broad heads.
What role does scouting and tracking play in hunting Eland?
Scouting and tracking are crucial in hunting Eland. Before the hunt, your guide will familiarize you with Eland behaviors, feeding patterns, and habitats. This knowledge will help you identify potential areas that may hold Eland and strategize your approach.
Adrian Anderson first obtained his Professional Hunters license in 1991. He is a Big Five and Dangerous Game licensed Professional Hunter and Hunting Outfitter. He has a tremendous love for wildlife and the African bush and enjoys sharing his knowledge with the hunting clients that he guides. Guiding hunters in Africa’s wild places is a passion and seeing them succeed with their goals brings satisfaction. With knowledge of the Safari industry built up over 32 years he is well qualified to give guidance to his hunting clients.