“I like hunting roan, especially in West Africa. I think they are harder to hunt than Lord Derby’s eland, for example, because the big, lone roan bulls seem never to stop walking – they feed as they walk – and then, by mid-morning, they start looking for a shady place to stop, ruminate and while away the hot, midday hours. It is then they start walking a figure of eight pattern, not unlike big, lone bongo bulls and, sooner or later, if you are following hot on their heels, you inevitably give them your wind and they are gone. So, when the opportunity arose to hunt roan in Burkina Faso, a country where I have never hunted, I agreed provided I could have two licences without needing to book two hunts. That way, if I saw a really good bull early on in the hunt, I would not have to go through all that mental torment – should I, shouldn’t I? You know the arguments. “The hunt has hardly begun. If I shoot this one what will I do for the rest of the time?” Alternatively, “If we have seen such a big/old one so soon, maybe in all the time left over, we will surely find a much bigger/older one?” And then, as the days tick by without seeing anything remotely as old or as big, you started to hunt differently. You scurry hither and thither and, ultimately, settle for an animal that was not what you were looking for in the third place!”
Peter Flack – hunter, writer, conservationist
Roan Antelope: An Elusive Quarry
It has often puzzled me how to account for the fact that the handsome Roan antelope (Hippotragus Equinus) seems so generally lacking from the trophies secured by sportsmen out on shooting safaris in Africa. This is more surprising as this species of antelope enjoys such a widespread distribution over the continent. Many consider the spread of the Roan over Africa must exceed even that of its more handsome relative – the Sable antelope (Hippotragus niger). I believe the range of the former species is far more extensive. A large number of small herds of Roan are spread over many different regions, whereas the Sable is more confined to special localities. Notwithstanding the wider distribution of the Roan, it does seem abundantly evident that many more Sable are shot by sportsmen. I know of many men who have not once seen a Roan in the wild state; and still more who have not shot a single specimen.
The Roan favors open country or light bush terrain. But, if driven out of it, the species will take readily enough to forest and heavy bush areas. After a period of immunity there they will nearly always return boldly to their former and more-favored haunts. They like best of all a rather upland and rolling countryside, which is not too profusely timbered. The Roan is never to be found at any great distance from water, because it drinks regularly. Both the Roan and Sable antelopes are encountered in much the same type of terrain, each of them preferring flat country and are rarely known to ascent hills of any real height.
In the mature Roan the coloration of its back varies from a warm grey to a pale roan shade; the belly is white and it has black and white face markings which is boldly defined. The Roan is a larger and more heavily built beast than the Sable. It averages between 500 and 750 lb. in weight; while the variation in height at shoulder is roughly 3 to 4 inches in favor of the Roan.
The horns of the Roan are deeply annulated, curve backwards evenly and boldly, diverge as rising from the skull, and sharply pointed. The horns of the bull range from between 24 and 34 inches in length; while those of the female are about 8 inches less.
Roan antelope are not simply located or hunted; but that cannot be the sole reason for so many sportsmen failing to collect a trophy of this species when out on a shooting safari. Say what you will this creature provide a handsome trophy. It is never easy to stalk for a kill and I experienced real hard work in getting my two. But both were worth every particle of the toil and sweat to get them ‘ in the bag’. Such is the luck of big game hunting. Some are unusually fortunate, while others never seem able to find what is most desired by them. ‘A Breath of the Wilds’ by Foran
Western Roan is not only one of the most beautiful and biggest antelope in Western Africa, but also one of the major hunting attractions in West Africa. The Roan Antelope (Hippotragus equinus) is a savanna antelope found in West, Central, East and Southern Africa.
The Roan antelope shares the genus Hippotragus with the extinct Bluebuck (H.leucophaeus) and the Sable antelope (H. niger) and is a member of the family Bovidae. The cladogram (a diagram used to show relations among organisms) below shows the position of the Roan antelope among its relatives.
A good population of Western Roan is found in Burkina Faso in West Africa and it’s probably the least expensive country to hunt Roan in Africa. Large herds are frequently encountered. A good, mature bull will often be found on his own or in a smaller group.
Join us in Burkina Faso, West Africa to pursue this elusive quarry and make it a part of your trophy collection.