How Much Do You Know About Elk Hunting?


By: Olivia Cantor

6 Min Quiz

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

Elks are majestic creatures, but they’re also skilled at escaping and evading even the best hunters. It takes some serious thought and skill to hunt these big bucks. Take our elk hunting quiz to see if you’re the great hunter that can track them.

Elk are cousins of the usual deer. However, what is one visual marker that makes them look very different?

Elk have thicker, shaggier coats. In fact, their coats get even thicker in the wintertime. Also, male elks have thicker fur around their necks, like lions!


Elk are very sociable and like to communicate with each other. Because of this, what should an elk hunter learn?

Hardworking elk hunters know how to make at least a few different elk calls. That's because knowing the right elk call can lure curious elk out to your shooting area.


Elk are a bit like vampires. When is the best time of day for elk hunting?

Elk tend to be active at night. Because of this, it's a good idea to get used to night hunting when you're aiming for elk.


Because elk are usually found in mountainous regions, many beginning hunters will experience mountain sickness. What is the simplest solution to this issue?

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) will give you headaches, fatigue, appetite loss and lack of sleep. Thankfully, these issues go away in a day or two. To lessen the effects, it's a good idea to drink lots of water.


If you're not going too far out into the mountains and woods, it's a good idea to secure the services of a ranch owner nearby. What would the person's services be for?

Ranchers usually have horses, and a friendly one can help you bring out an elk carcass from the woods, provided you aren’t too far out. You can even strike a deal for sharing the elk resources from the carcass.


Some hunters work in pairs when it comes to elk. This is because you can distract an elk better when there are two of you. What does the non-shooting partner do?

The “caller” in the hunter pair can attract an elk to himself or herself, while the shooter can be in a better shooting position. This way, the shooter can have a larger target to shoot at.


When you’re out hunting elk, you sometimes need a stable platform for your rifle. You can use one part of your gear not just for storage, but also as a sandbag for your rifle. What is this?

Aside from carrying your supplies, a backpack can also function as a sandbag for a stable rifle rest. This is very useful, especially when the elk you're aiming for is far away.


Some elk simply don’t respond to elk calls, either because they are too scared or too smart. What is the reversal that you should do to catch them?

If an elk isn’t responding to your calls and coming nearer, then you should try listening in on where it is and following it carefully. If you can figure out where it goes, then all you have to do is lie in wait.


When elk voice out, they can be very bossy. What do elk usually sound like?

Elk tend to sound like trumpets. They've got different ways of doing it, for different purposes.


Though many hunters zero in on an elk’s calls, some hunters study movement patterns and then stake out one place. What do these hunters use as a camouflaged base?

A blind, or ground blind, is a camouflaged spot where hunters wait for elk. They’re designed to keep elk from getting too suspicious.


When staying in shape for hunting elk, you have to think about your back, chest and other “carrying” muscles in your body. What do you need those muscles for?

Most beginning elk hunters forget they're also carrying backpacks. Aside from weapons and heavy clothes, supplies must be brought in as well. Exercise helps people with carrying all that.


If you’re interested in hunting elk, then you should know when the season starts. Which workers' holiday is a good marker for the start of the season in most places?

Elk season starts from mid-August to mid-September in most areas. If you’re having a beer on Labor Day, then chances are it’s elk season.


Though elk and deer are from the same family, what do elk prefer, rather than browsing through the woods for plants?

It's one big difference between deer and elk. Elk graze at the edge of the woodlands. On the other hand, deer browse through the different plants they can eat in the woods.


Sometimes, elk season has dry and hot days. Where's the best place to wait for an elk to appear when that happens?

Elk need lots of water, particularly the bigger ones. On a hot and dry day, it's a good idea to camp out near a watering hole. You may have to wait until it's near dark, but it's a good gamble.


Hunting elk is mostly done by tracking and following them. What should be the most comfortable and durable part of a hunter's getup?

Your boots should be broken in and very comfortable when hunting elk. Given all the walking you'll have to do, you won't need blisters or weird tightness around your feet.


What's one confidential piece of hunting advice when you find a good area for hunting elk?

The real secret of some hunters or hunting groups is that they keep the best hunting grounds a secret. That way, they won’t have too much competition. Smart!


Bows and rifles are used in hunting elk. However, in many states they separate the times of the season when you can use one weapon or the other. Which one's first, usually?

In many states and counties, bow users get first dibs in the elk season. One reason for this is that archers won't have a big impact on the population during mating season.


Yes or no: Do female elk usually grow antlers?

Cow elk, or female elk, don’t grow antlers. They could have bumps where antlers would be, but that’s it. Cow elk with antlers are unusual.


Elk can be fast-moving creatures, particularly if they think they’re being tracked. What's one way a hunter can prepare for an elk's fast movement before the season starts?

Hunting elk’s a very good reason to stay in shape. You have to move fast across rough terrain. Your body should be ready to handle that!


Hunting elk doesn’t end with taking one down. What's an important skill an elk hunter has to use, after he takes down an elk?

Now that you have an elk carcass, you should know how to skin it, quarter it, and, at the very least, cut some meat from it so you can eat. Taking a photo is cute, but the hunt isn't complete unless you've had your fill of the kill.


When using a rifle to hunt elk, what's a good follow-up action when you've downed an elk?

It’s common advice for new elk hunters to take a second shot with their rifles when they’ve hit it already. Even if they lose more meat, it prevents elk from running.


Some areas allow bow hunters to hunt with rifle hunters. However, in other counties or states, they have strictly separate seasons. What is one major reason for this weapon separation?

Bow hunters usually come in close, so they can have a better chance at a sure shot with an elk. This can put them in a rifle hunter's line of fire. Separating the weapon seasons for some areas prevents accidents.


What does it mean if elk tracks are avoiding narrow gaps in between trees?

If elk tracks go around narrow tree spaces, then it's probably a bull, or male elk. That's because it's avoiding having antlers hit one tree or the other.


If you're new to elk hunting, then an outfitter could be your best friend. What does an outfitter do, at the very least?

Outfitters help people hunt elk. They're assumed experts at tracking and attracting elk. However, it's always a good idea to do a background check.


Elk bugle calls work really well only during a particular time of the hunting season. What is this important time for elk?

Bull elk are at their noisiest during mating season, when they're broadcasting their presence to all cow elk nearby. Once the mating season's over, bugling bulls will be hard to find.


Most veteran elk hunters go deep into the woodlands to find elk. What preparation do they usually make before they go on a hunt?

The best hunters don’t go into a hunting area blind. In fact, the best hunters are those who are very familiar with one hunting area. Some even know individual elk by their mating calls!


What's the one big advantage that a rifle has over the bow, when it comes to hunting elk?

A rifle's main advantage over a bow is the extended range. Rifles can take shots at targets that can be out of range of most bows. And they can still be very accurate.


Why is it important to clean the floor of a chosen hiding place when hunting elk?

You can have the perfect line of fire on the elk's path, but a single crackle of a broken twig can make an elk suspicious. This is why it's always a good idea to sweep a hiding place correctly.


Sometimes an elk will present itself, but you'll need a long shot to take it out. What piece of equipment does your rifle need to do this right?

Many successful elk hunters have rifle scopes mounted on their weapons. However, old-timers suggest that the rifle scopes should be designed for rough use and simple operation.


Sometimes, it’s better for all concerned if a hunter decides to concentrate on cow elk, or females. Why's this the case?

Controlling the number of cow elks around is better for the health of the local elk population, in terms of cow-to-bull ratio, general health and population size. It also helps lessen agricultural loss for farmers.


During the mating season, if you can't find a bull elk, what else should you look for, so you can zero in on a bull?

Sometimes you may have difficulty finding a bull elk during the mating season. If that's the case, you should track cow elk. You can be sure that a bull elk will try to attract one, one way or the other.


Bull elk are ornery about their sleeping place. What happens if you surprise one in its resting area?

When a bull elk is surprised in its resting area, it can decide to leave the general place alone for weeks. It'll take some time before it feels secure with that sleeping place again.


Although elk can sometimes have territory near agricultural land, what's one sign of civilization they always stay away from?

Roads are a no-no for elk. That’s probably because of the noisy cars. Yes, there are stories of elk crossing roads, but more often than not they steer clear of them.


Aside from your rifle scope, you also need what piece of gear if you’re going to be eyeballing the surrounding elk country?

With a rifle scope, you'd have to swing the rifle around, and it has a narrow field of view. Binoculars give you a wider view and the needed magnification, in a smaller package.


Elk have times when they're lazy or sluggish, during mid-mornings. Why does this happen to them?

If elk eat later in the day, then the mid-morning of the next day is when they may feel sluggish from digesting their food. This is the perfect time to track and hunt them.


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