Scientific name:

Cervus Canadensis 

 

What makes it special:
The elk is the second largest species of deer in the world and one of the largest mammals on the North American continent. The meat of the elk is highly commercialized as it has high amounts of protein.

 

Recommended caliber:

When hunting the elk a .270 caliber or above is recommended.

Elk hunting - The second largest deer species

Bulls are generally more social than the females and are commonly found in bachelor groupings. The elk can both be nocturnal and diurnal, depending on the temperature and hunting pressure in the specific habitat. 

Hunting method

Though it is a fairly large animal, it is easily spooked and it swiftly runs away when sensing danger. It can leap a distance of almost three meters forward and it can jump a height of 1.5 meters from a standing position. When approaching the elk, a hunter should stay concealed and approach the elk to a distance of 80 to 50 meters before taking the shot. It is easier to hunt the elk in the winter period as it saves its energy and is less likely to take flight when spooked. A hunter should at all times keep a fair distance as its antlers and powerful hind legs can cause serious injuries. Shot placement should be just above the fore limbs, aimed at the lung area. Se our great packages about the great elk hunting here on the site.

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Know the animal

Appearance

The elk has a rather small tail in comparison to the rest of its body as well as other deer species. The bull has large and long antlers that are shed annually and both sexes have elongated faces with sharp pointy ears. They usually have a dark brown colored coat, which grows thicker and brighter during the winter.  When calves are born, they usually have a chestnut coloration with spots all over their bodies, which then disappears after a few days.

 

Habitat

The elk prefers forests and forested areas with dense undergrowth for camouflaging and dietary purposes. 

 

Diet

Its diet compromises of grass, leafy plants and bark from trees, which supplement its mineral needs.

 

Predators
Being a rather large animal, most of its predators usually targets the offspring. Predators include wolves, coyote packs, cougars, brown bears, dholes, Siberian tigers and leopards.

 

Life cycle

The gestation period of the elk is 240-262 days, the female reaches sexual maturity at the age of 2, while the male reaches sexual maturity at the age of 4. Young males do not get an opportunity to mate because of the existing hierarchies. A wild elk usually lives between 8-10 years and in captivity the life expectancy is around 20 years. 

 

Behavior

Most bulls start forming harems in the pre rut season and visual displays are usually exhibited to scare of challengers. When fighting is unavoidable, the bulls use their antlers to crash and slash their opponents in fights that rarely are, but can be fatal. To make themselves more attractive to the females, bulls coat themselves with urinated mud. When the rut period is over the females regroup in larger numbers to help protect and nurse the calves after birth. At the start of the summer period, the elk rubs itself on the bark of trees to remove excess hair from the winter period. The testosterone level of the bulls fall during the summer and this is when they shed their antlers.

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Animal Facts

Weight
An adult female is known to weigh an average of 240 kilograms while that of the male weighs up to 330 kilograms.

 

Shoulder height

1.3 meters on average

 

Habitat

The elk prefers forests and forested areas with dense undergrowth for camouflaging and dietary purposes. 

 

Diet

Its diet consists of grass, leafy plants and bark from trees.

 

Predators

Wolves, coyote packs, cougars, brown bears, dholes, Siberian tigers and leopards.

 

Life cycle

A wild elk usually lives between 8-10 years and in captivity the life expectancy is around 20 years. 

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