All About Elk

We want to share our knowledge of elk with you.

As a hunter, you learn so much about wildlife, especially the wildlife you are hunting.  You learn their patterns, signs, and characteristics.  Here are a few signs of elk you might see in the wild.

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Elk Rub

Elk Rub

RUB– This is when a bull elk rubs his antler’s velvet off. This usually happens in the last two weeks of August. This is the first sign of the elk’s rut. The rub in the picture was done by a very large bull.  You can tell he is large because of the size of his rubbing tree and because he snapped the tree in half. Also, notice the height of the rub itself.  Whoever did this rub is a “monster”.  This is also a way for the bull elk to mark it’s territory.  This is where he lives!






This bull’s velvet is almost all rubbed off which means the rut will be soon. At this point, the bulls still run together, but in just a week or two the big bulls will be gathering their harems and the smaller bulls will be pushed to the outer circle of the herd.







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Wallow– Bull elk like to wallow during the rut.  It’s a good way for them to cool down and mark their territory.








Rake, Scrape or Scratch-  Bull elk scrape their antlers on the ground and in bushes to let other bulls know they are around and they are ready to fight.







Beds– Elk scrape the ground with their hooves to make their beds.  This is a good place to scout for bulls!







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Bugle- The bugle of the elk can send shivers down your spine in the early morning!  Bull elk bugle to keep track of their herd and find new girlfriends.  Bulls will bugle in response to other bugles and/or cow mews.  They like to know where the other bulls are at all times.


Listen to a Bull Elk Bugling



Mew – Cow elk make this sound a lot during their estrus cycle (Rut).  They also make it throughout the year to talk to their babies and keep track of the herd.

Listen to a Mewing Cow Elk



Fence jumps-  These are good places to look for patterns of elk travel.  They are usually low hanging barbed wire places that are easy to jump and easy to go under for yearlings and calves. They are also good places to find sheds!

Drinkers- Any type of man made trough. Many of them are originally used for cattle, but there are a lot that are what they call  “GAME WATER” These usually have fences around them to keep cattle out.

This is the same drinker… Watch how every couple days a new species appears. Wolf, Elk and a Bear

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Water Tanks- These were originally built for cattle. They are great place for the animals to cool off, get a drink and play!

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Ground Blind- Ground blinds are mostly used to sit wallows and water holes; a great way to get up close to a big bull.






Tree stand- Used mostly for sitting water or wallows.  Hunters must sit completely still, especially in mountainous areas








Scouting- Many hunters scout before the hunt to find where the bulls are hanging out.  Some hunters are looking for the BIG or unique bull and will scout for them and try to find all their patterns.






Compound Bow – The compound bow or Muzzle loader are the weapons of choice if you want to hunt the rut in your lifetime, otherwise, you’d have to get a Trophy Bull Tag for the rifle hunt which is very very tough to acquire.


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