Despite the close kinship of deer and elk, both species represent very different challenges to the NOMADs who hunt them. Most experienced hunters and guides would agree that deer can be an easier quarry to pursue, but if you learn to embrace the ways in which these species differ and apply the skills you’ve learned hunting deer, you’ll have a much better chance of bagging a big bull. In this article, we’ll cover the difference between deer and elk hunting so you can have the edge over whichever game you choose to pursue.
Elk hunting usually takes place in the Rocky Mountains. The terrain can be very challenging. You’ll often be several thousand feet above sea level while you pursue your quarry. Most guides will recommend that you get yourself in great physical condition before heading out west. It’s also a good idea to give yourself a few days to acclimate to the altitude before scheduling your first elk hunt.
It’s important to understand the difference between deer and elk hunting so you can ensure you’re using the right equipment. Your rifle or bow of choice is a given, but you’ll also need high-quality optics to help find the herds, especially when seeking elk in rugged terrain. When hunting either species, you’ll want to be sure you’re wearing the finest hunting gear available to keep you quiet, camouflaged and comfortable while stalking your prey.
Because deer and elk have important biological and behavioral differences, you’ll need to use a different approach when hunting one or the other. For example, deer tend to be browsers, while elk tend to graze. This means that you’ll usually hunt deer in forests or along edge habitats, but elk are more likely to be in open woodlands and meadows. Additionally, while deer range over a square mile or two, elk inhabit vast areas that can cover 500 square miles or more. Elk also tend to travel in vast herds, sometimes comprised of several hundred individuals, while deer rarely form such large aggregations.
The bottom line? While you can scoot up a tree and wait for a deer to come to you, especially whitetails, elk hunting usually entails trekking miles over rough terrain in search of your prey.
Hunting deer can provide a solid basis for the scouting skills required to track down a herd of elk. It is still important to look for things like tracks and droppings, but remember that the tracks you’re after are much larger and rounded than the pointed tracks left by deer. The scat of both animals is similar in shape, but elk pellets are roughly twice the size of deer pellets.
Once you find a sign or two suggesting that elk are in the area, you’ll need to find a good vantage point where you can glass large plots of land quickly and efficiently. When you spot a herd, the next step is to devise a plan for getting within range of your rifle or bow.
It is very important to keep the wind in your face, which will often require you to circle around the herd. Elk tend to rely on their nose more than their ears. Scent-masking gear is crucial here in the windy, open country. Thermals can often swirl and change during the day. Additionally, you’ll usually be approaching elk from a greater distance, so the wind can help cover your sounds better.
Many hunters are drawn to the sport of elk hunting because of the animals’ great size or the challenging nature of their habitat, but others hunt for more pragmatic purposes—specifically, the freezer-stuffing quantities of delicious meat that elk can provide. Whereas you may harvest 30 to 60 pounds of boneless meat from a deer, you may need to purchase an extra freezer to accommodate the 100 to 300 pounds of edible meat provided by an elk.
Although taste is obviously subjective, most wild game aficionados agree that elk is one of the best meats available to North American hunters. Elk meat is often compared to slightly sweet beef and is considered excellent table fare.
Whether you’re hunting deer, elk, turkey or some other game, your gear is always a crucial element. Get every edge you can over your prey by equipping yourself with some of the best performance hunting apparel on the market. Shop the expansive Nomad collection today for high quality hunting jackets, camouflage clothing and more.
Alaska is arguably the best place in the world for a NOMAD to hunt. You can pursue everything from waterfowl to grizzlies and Dall sheep within the state’s borders. The scenery and challenge of the terrain is simply unmatched. But many ignore one of the most intriguing targets lurking out in the rugged Alaskan wilderness: the Kodiak mountain goat. Denizens of some of the most inhospitable terrain in the state, these large goats are worthy and challenging quarry for your next trip. Here’s everything you need to know about Kodiak mountain goat hunting in Alaska.
There’s nothing wrong with hunting rabbits, squirrels and other small game. But few hunters drift off to sleep at night dreaming of these critters. It’s big game that quickens the pulse and inspires the imagination. And you can’t talk about big game without mentioning moose. Standing nearly 7 feet high at the shoulder and weighing as much as 1,500 pounds, moose are one of the largest animals pursued by hunters anywhere. And moose hunting in Alaska adds all of the challenges that make for a dream trip. To give you the edge, here are some essential moose hunting Alaska tips and gear.
Although it can take a lifetime to master, bowhunting can be extremely rewarding. You’ll be surprised how quickly the bow will begin to feel like an extension of your body. Even if you use the most sophisticated compound bow available, you’ll still feel a primal connection with the hunters who came before you. After all, NOMADs have been feeding their families with bows for far longer than with high-powered rifles and commercially produced tree stands. Feeling the urge and ready to learn to bow hunt? Use this comprehensive guide to bowhunting for beginners.