Elk are one of the most sought-after big game species to hunt in North America. They are large, loud and live in unforgiving and beautiful mountainous habitats. Before setting out to the mountain side for an exciting elk hunt, here are eight facts about elk that will help you better understand, and better hunt these majestic animals.

One Queen Cow Rules the Herd

Elk live in herds of up to 400 elk and are segregated by gender. In the summer, elk herds can have up to 400 elk that are all lead by one old cow. This cow leads the way to the high mountains in the summer for other cows can give birth, where each cow has a single calf that can stand within 20 minutes of being born. In the winter, the old cow directs the herd to lower elevations to graze snowy for grass and shrubs. Elk are inactive in the middle of the day and late at night. 

Velvet is a Coolant 

Makes sense, we all know how cool looks, turns out, it actually keeps elk cool. The blood that pumps through the veins in the velvet on a bull’s developing antlers cools before it returns to the heart to help keep the large elk cool in the summer heat.  

Ancestral Species of Elk Probably had Tusks

An Elks top two canine teeth are called ivories. Scientists believe ivories are remnants of saber-like tusks that ancestral species of elk used in combat. Most hunters save ivories as a memento of the hunt.

Fawns are Born Camouflaged from Predators. 

Fawns are born one at a time to their cow mom, in late May into Mid-June. Cows often leave their fawns unattended for hours. It is important for fawns to be born with spots because they camouflage from predators. Fawns can walk within 20 minutes of being born and run shortly after.

Elk can Beat Horses in Short races

The Guinness Book of World Records states that the fastest speed of a racehorse ever recorded was achieved was just under 44 miles per hour. Elk can reach a maximum speed of 45 miles per hour. Over rough terrain, such as rocks, elevation changes, and snow wild elk will easily beat any average horse. 

Antlers Grow Up to an Inch a Day

A Bull elk’s antlers can grow up to 4 feet above the head. Antlers are dependent on Testosterone. Each winter, after mating season, the testosterone in elk drops so low they shed their antlers. In the summer they to regrow their antlers coated in velvet. Velvet starts to shed as does start to come into heat, so theyare hard horned for the rut. 

Be Ready to Pack out 200-500 lbs Once you Shoot your Elk 

Elk is big, really big. When fully grown a rocky mountain elk cow will weigh 500 lbs and a mature bull elk will weigh about 700lbs and stand about 5ft tall at the shoulder. When quartering out an elk and only taking meat you can bet you will be packing out at least 180lbs of meat. If you are planning on capping out a bull elk consider the weight of the more than 40lbs antlers, heavy cape and all the meat. All of this in addition to your gear. So, you better get in shape or get a guide!

There is a lot is Going On When an Elk Bugles 

Elk Bugle is one of the most exciting parts about hunting elk. Look closely when elk bugle. You will see both his lips and his nostrils moving. Bull elk simultaneously roar and whistle to make the famous elk bugle.