Dear African hunters, enthusiasts and outfitters
The heaviest, largest, and certainly one of the most majestic in Africa’s wildlerness…
I wanted to showcase the common eland (as opposed to the Giant, or Lord Derby) this month. When I sent the message to the African Dawn Outfitters asking them to send in pictures for this month’s issue, there was some push back. Isn’t the Lord Derby an eland said some? Others thought it warranted showcasing all on its own.
Well, before going further, of course it is an eland, and of course it is an iconic member of the spiral horn group and, of course, the Lord Derby the largest of all antelope. Or is it?
Why I throw that out is that when talking to some professional hunters, they believe there are some areas where the Cape eland can weigh in at more than the magnificent beast of Central and West Africa. And perhaps that is true.
What’s undeniable is how impressive this massive animal is, and it simply has not got the respect it deserves. The Lord Derby eland has for sure, but why not simply ‘the eland’?
Aside from their sheer size, the ‘clicking’ ankle sounds when walking, the ability to jump over mind-boggling high fences, to the different body sizes and hair styles - ‘mops’ – all these attributes collectively inspire admiration. I am not sure what other ungulate has such variety of hair pieces, but it is their proportions, dependent on environment, that gets me.
Because the monsters from northern Namibia and Botswana are just eye-wateringly huge. Tom Murphy’s piece this month is dedicated to hunting the eland family, from the Cape to Cameroon and everywhere in between.
So, north of the Equator as the days get longer, and you are heading to Africa later this year, the eland is one animal you should be taking a good, hard look at to add to your bucket list.