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Spiral-horned antelope are large and elusive antelope characterized by outrageously impressive spiralled horns in the males and lovely camouflaged patterns in the females. Only the males have horns, except in the case of Eland where both sexes are horned. The most common species of the spiral-horned antelope found in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa are Kudu, Eland, Nyala and Bushbuck. The spiral in the horns is a result of a growth pulse. At certain times, the horn material will grow faster and thinner and at other times thicker and slower, resulting in spiral horns. Here follows a couple of tips on hunting these magnificent species:
The kudu tends to browse in the early morning and late afternoon. It usually rests during the heat of the day. Hunting kudu can be extremely challenging. It is very sly and extremely elusive with exceptional senses. It will be easiest to look for spoor around water holes as they drink regularly and will never be too far from water. There are several methods that can be used when hunting kudu. One must check likely feeding areas in the early morning hours, and stalk.
It also recommended that one ambush the kudu’s likely feeding areas at daybreak as the bulls return to higher ground and cover. At midday, you can lie in wait by the water, as they are regular drinkers. In addition to these techniques, consider tracking if the ground permits, or try still-hunting in thick cover. Hunting kudu with less than 7mm or .270 caliber rifles would not be recommended.
The Cape Eland is southern Africa’s largest antelope, and also the largest spiral-horned antelope. Eland tends to be nervous, taking flight at the first sign of danger. This could make hunting extremely difficult, as they are difficult to approach and to therefore get within shooting range. Hunting Eland with the right rifle is also of paramount importance. Many Eland are taken with lesser rifles, but the .375 would not be considered overkill! A well-placed shot are very important. A few inches to the left or right with a lesser caliber may make for a long day of tracking or even the loss of a wounded animal. The easiest way to hunt eland is by chance encounter while hunting other game. Ensure that you have a quick follow-up shot, as he will not go down easily.
To be continued… see part 2