Where To Shoot An Elk?

Hunting for elk is a complicated and challenging but also rewarding experience. Elk are large animals that can be elusive, so hunting them requires patience, dedication, and the right equipment. 

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A hunter must learn how to track an elk’s movements before making their move on them. The first step in hunting elk is identifying the herd’s location by looking for signs of where they have been grazing. Once a hunter knows precisely where an elk herd is located, he has to figure out how best to get close enough without being detected so he can take aim with his weapon and shoot one of them dead. 

Here’s what you need to know about where and how to shoot an elk.

Where To Shoot An Elk - A Step By Step Guide

To make sure you get an excellent clean kill on an elk, follow these steps.

Find And Identify The Elk’s Location

Elk are shy creatures that take great care not to be seen by humans and other animals, so you’ll most likely need a bit of luck on your side too.

To find an elk, it takes patience as well as some good timing. They live in forested areas and can be found near rivers, lakes, or marshes during all seasons of the year.

where to shoot an elk

When hunting an elk, the first thing you need to do s located it; luckily, these large animals have been spotted often near water sources such as rivers, lakes, and marshlands, which makes finding them a bit easier than expected.

Get Proper Gear /Weapons To Shoot At An Elk

The elk is a large animal that weighs up to 1000 pounds and stands over six feet tall. They are challenging to hunt, so it’s important to know what rifle and ammunition will be best for you when going out into the woods. 

The elk is a sizeable boreal forest animal that humans can hunt. To hunt an elk, there are some weapons and tools you need. The weapons  include: 

  1. Bow and arrows, 
  2. A bolt action rifle is typically the most reliable option because it has fewer moving parts than other types of rifles.
  3. In the name of ammunition, You’ll need bullets with a high velocity – at least 2500 fps-as well as extended-range capability (up to 500 yards). Shots should have about 200 ft/lbs of energy which would work well on an animal of this size.
  4. The gun should also have a good scope for accurate shooting.
  5. A handgun for the close shots 
  6. A knife or hatchet for field dressing game animals (i.e., gutting the animal)
  7. Don’t forget about safety – wear blaze orange clothing when shooting an elk to avoid being mistaken for game and attacked by another hunter.

Determine The Time To Hunt

The best time to hunt for elk is in the early morning. This is because you will spot them with their heads up, which makes it easier to shoot. You need excellent aim because elks are very big and can run fast.

Many factors affect when is the best time to hunt for elk. Here are some crucial points you should know about the time of the year and the day.

  1. Hunting seasons vary from state to state.
  2. Snowy weather may make it difficult to see tracks.
  3. The best times of day to hunt are early morning or late evening .so don’t be discouraged if you don’t find any during other times of the day.
  4. It’s not advised that you go alone – bring someone with experience of hunting big game.
  5. The best time of year to go elk hunting is from September through November, when the leaves have fallen off the trees, and it’s easier for hunters to spot them.

Get Prepared For Contingencies

One of the most difficult challenges when hunting elks is preparing for any possible conditions. With winds, rain, snow, and other types of weather unpredictability, it can be hard to plan a perfect shot that will land in the kill zone. A hunter’s best defense against this challenge is being well-prepared with an accurate weapon and good eye protection to not mistake every moving object for your target.

Hunting an elk is not something to be taken lightly. You need to take many factors into account before you go hunting, and one of the essential things is wind condition.

Shoot An Elk In The Heart And Lungs

The elk is a huge animal that can be difficult to hunt. However, if you know the right approach, it will not be too much of a challenge. Aim for the heart and lungs of the elk and shoot. This will kill it quickly without making your prey suffer needlessly, which is much better than a slow process by gutting them to exhaustion.

where to shoot an elk

You must make sure that your bullet will enter through both points to ensure a kill shot.

The best opportunity for this would be a firearm or archery hunter firing at these organs in the elk’s body, which offers them both quick kills with less pain.

Double Lung Shoot

A double lung shoot with the animal standing broadside is the most humane way to take down an elk as it ensures that they are killed quickly. This type of shot provides a hunter with his best opportunity for success, whether using firearms or bows and arrows.

The spot that you should shoot them in will be slightly below the animal’s front leg, about ⅓ of the way up to its chest for maximum penetration and damage while it stands broadside.

Shooting An Elk With A Bow

In the world of archery, there are many different types of bows and arrows. However, it is essential to know which type will best suit your needs before you buy one. For example, if you want a bow that can kill an elk from over 500 yards away, a traditional recurve bow may not be for you. 

Instead, you should choose a compound bow with modern strings made out of carbon fiber or some other synthetic material. This way, when your arrow pierces through the animal’s heart and lungs, and causes less suffering to the elk.

Shooting An Elk With A Rifle

There are a few things that you should consider before making your choice.   The first is the size of the animal you’re hunting; if they’re smaller, you will not need a large caliber rifle. 

The second thing to consider is how far away from the animal will you be shooting? If it’s less than 300 yards, then a .223 or 556 NATO would work just fine, but if it’s more than 300 yards, then a larger caliber such as 308 or 30-06 would be better suited for your needs.

Take Your Time – Don’t Rush The Shot

Shot placement is one of the most critical factors in harvesting an elk. Elk are large animals with a lot of muscle, so they need to be shot in the vitals for instant death. Shot placement is critical for both bowhunters and rifle hunters. 

where to shoot an elk

Having a rifle, you should shoot on either side of the spine at least 3 inches below the top of the back from behind or between the shoulder blades from ahead.

For bow hunting, it’s best to shoot them through their lungs or heart area, which will cause them to die quickly due to lack of oxygen.

Tips On Shooting Elk From A Distance

First, make sure you have the appropriate firearm for your hunt and know how to operate it properly. Find an area where there is little wind that has few trees not to obstruct the visibility of deer or other animals in front of them, leading to missed shots when they are behind cover (trees).

Find an area with good cover and visibility, hide behind a tree in the morning, wait for their long necks to come into view, and then take your shot. Have a safe spot to shoot from that is out of the elk’s eye line. Get close enough so that you can take more than one shot if necessary. 

Make sure you use binoculars before firing at any animal. This will help identify vital organs and take out significant arteries such as lungs, heart, kidneys; this way; you kill faster with less chance of escape or injury.

Tips On Shooting An Elk At Close Range

A hunter can more easily take down a standing elk with the following steps: First, aim for where its heart would be. Next, make sure you have enough room in front of it and behind it so that the aggressive elk may not injure you. Finally, pull back your bowstring before and shoot the bow swiftly.


Have you ever considered elk hunting? Elk is a large deer species that is native to North America. They grow up to 7 feet tall, weigh up to 1000 pounds, and have antlers spanning over 6 feet across. Hunting them requires patience, strategy, and skill. You must know what gear is required for elk hunting and where these animals live to get the best chance of success. 

Elk live up to 10 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity.   Most of this time is spent eating, drinking water, socializing with other elk, or just relaxing. Many things can affect an elk’s life span, including disease, injury, parasites, and whether they have adapted to a habitat change. Elk’s lifespan depends on their environment too.


Elk hunting is a popular sport that requires skill and patience, but there are also some key things to remember while out in the field. For example, If you know the anatomy of an Elk and where to fire a bullet into its body, it will be much easier for you to kill one. 

We hope our post about where to shoot an elk has been helpful in your quest to find the perfect elk hunting spot. It is always important to know your target distance, so you do not miss the shot.

You have now learned the necessary information to take down an Elk. It is a good idea to go over this blog post again if you plan on hunting in the future.

Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at Ballachy.com .

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