Field Judging Eland
The Eland is the largest species of antelope in Africa and one of its’ most sought after spiral horned trophies. While field judging Eland, body size and appearance is the easiest way to confirm the maturity of a possible trophy bull.
When field judging Eland, a few characteristics are to be considered:
- Mature Eland bulls are nearly twice the size of a female and stand out due to their massive, muscular bodies
- Mature males have large, prominent dewlaps on their throats
- Mature Eland have a darker tan coat with a blueish gray tint
- Mature males often have some areas of hair loss
- Brush or “rugs” on the forehead is a distinctive characteristic seen only on some older males. If an Eland has a heavy brush it is a reliable sign of maturity, however the lack of one does not mean it is not mature.
- An great indicator of a very old Eland bull is a massive body, bulging neck and horns that appear small (does not mean that the horns are actually small).
There are three factors that need to be taken into account in judging the horns of the Eland: thickness; prominent ridges; and length.
Eland bulls usually carry well matched symmetrical spiral horns with prominent visible raised and steady ridges along the two twists. The spread of the horns can vary greatly, from a narrow almost parallel look to a “V” shape. Most often, mature bulls have considerably thicker bases, more massive and straighter horns compared to female horns that are significantly thinner with less apparent ridges and a tendency to become crooked the older they get.
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