Posted on: 29th Aug 18 at 1:35 pm by Realtree Global
In Pictures: Ian Harford Hunting Eland in South Africa Ian Harford takes to the South African Brush on the trail for Eland. There’s two main subspecies of Eland, the Southern or common Eland, and the Giant Eland, which, can be found in central, or Western Africa. During this hunting trip, Ian is hunting the common Eland, which doesn’t grow quite as large as the magnificent 950 kg Giant Eland. However, they’re still not easy to hunt. In fact, Ian has been after one particular Eland for three days. Discover the journey Ian takes throughout his final day of the hunt. Picture 1
1: Ian’s best method for hunting Eland over the previous three days has been to stay across the hillside and then spot the valleys on the far side. If you’re fortunate, you may spot the Eland as they move between the brush. But whatever happens, as soon as you see them, you’ve got to make a plan. And make it quick. Once the Eland disappears into the thick brush, it’s almost impossible to stalk into them.
2: The days here start very early. It’s often the best time to find Eland when they’re moving around. They will graze out in the planes during the evening but then move back into the brush during the day.
3: South Africa offers some extremely exciting typography. You move over one ridge and you can have a herd of blesbok in front of you. Head over another ridge and there’s Impala. Or worst still, Giraffe. There’s certainly no escaping those giant periscope eyes. Picture 4 4: The first sighting was an Eland bull feeding out in the clearing. Ian’s plan for the afternoon was to wait for the animals to emerge from the brush and feed up onto the planes. The team head out on foot around 4 o’clock and stalk into the herd. This gives Ian just enough sparse cover at the bottom of the hill, with the herd out in the open. The plan worked perfectly.
5: Ian and the team stalking within 100 -110 yards of the Eland bull and it wasstanding perfectly for Ian to take a clear shot. As Ian mounted his shooting sticks he saw two horns emerge behind the bull. Although the animal is huge you just can’t risk taking that shot, the bullet could pass through the animal and strike the one behind.Ian was hunting with the 30-06 which It wouldn’t be enough to kill the animal at the back.
6: By this time the sun was falling in the sky and it disappeared behind the hills. Which mean that the opportunity had passed. Ian tipped his cap and gently let the Eland wonder off.
7: Moving onto another afternoon hunting, and this is where it really gets tough. After 4 o’clock in the afternoon, you have little over 1 hour – 1½ hours to get into the animals before the sun disappears over the mountains and you’re finished.
8: The guide knows his farm really well and just seems to know where his animals will be. Ian has to just trust his judgment and head out into the brush once again. Through the thorn bushes, across the valleys and low and behold, there’s the herd once again. Unfortunately, the team left it just a little too late and the sun had fallen in the sky. For Ian, it was just not worth taking the shot; he’s got to be absolutely sure he can connect properly. That the point of impact was going to be exactly where he wanted it to be and that he can retrieve the animal. So, the team decided to back off and return the following morning.
9: Early the team rise and head out to see if they could spot the herd once again on the plane. After locating the Eland it was clear the herd were moving at some pace. Elandhave very long strides and although they tried their best to keep up, the herd were always one step ahead of them. But then the Eland disappeared and moved into the bush at the bottom. Ian knewthat they would re-appear at the far side of the valley and he got into position. Setting up on his sticks, it was now a test of patience.
10: Low and behold the bull emerged from the brush with two cows. The target area is large but the point of impact is critical. The best option for Ian at this time was to take a double lung shot. Of course, a high heart shot is the preferred option. However, Ian just didn’t want to take that risk at 190 yards. The bull could just shift his position slightly before Ian had the chance to take his shot.Ian was ready on the on the sticks, steady. The bull stood perfectly broadside. Ian gently squeezed the trigger and the shot connected perfectly. Blood loss was instantaneous and the animal passed just a few feet away.
11: “There is so much game and the populations are so healthy. It really is a pleasure to be around here. Even if we don’t see the one that we want. “
So another incredible hunt in South Africa and of course a magnificent Eland bull that is going to deliver 350 kg of biltong to a local game fair this weekend.