Elk Facts

A Colorado Bull feeds in late August
A Colorado Bull feeds in late August

Elk are one of the largest of the North American big game animals.  The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is one of the premier websites for elk information and they provide a great resource on elk facts here.

At one time, elk covered most of North America and it is believed that elk populations were well above 10 million.  Unfortunately these herds were greatly decimated as North America was settled. In many places where elk were once very numerous, they could no longer be found.  Many states still do this day do not have a significant elk population.  As recent as 1990 it was estimated there were only around 1 million elk across the entire continent.

Fortunately, elk populations and ranges are growing.  It is exciting to see the comeback elk are making across North America.  An interesting resource gives current numbers of elk across Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.  This report written in 2014 show elk numbers are increasing greatly in all six of these states!  Exciting news for those who like to hunt elk!

States with some Type of Elk Hunting Season:

As of 2016, there are currently 24 states that offer some type of public elk hunting.  Of those that do not have a current season, a few have already introduced elk back into the land with the hopes of having a sustaining elk herd population. There are others that are considering the possibility of elk re-introduction.

While across the board elk populations are on the rise, still most of the strong elk numbers and hunting is concentrated in about 8-10 states.  Most other locations are still fairly limited on providing decent elk hunting.  Many states rely on a fairly tight lottery draw or limited draw that greatly reduces the number of hunter in that state. Other states allow for elk hunting but herd populations are so low that your chances of actually seeing any elk are quite low.

Here is my unofficial list of top 10 states to hunt elk in:

  1. Colorado
  2. Wyoming
  3. Utah
  4. Idaho
  5. Montana
  6. Arizona
  7. New Mexico
  8. Oregon
  9. Nevada
  10. Washington

There are a lot of resources out there to help you plan your hunt.  Here is a great article on the top 5 states for hunting elk with an “Over the Counter” tag.

Look below to see if an elk season is available in your state:

Alabama: No – No Season Available
Alaska: Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
Arizona: Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
Arkansas: Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
California Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
Colorado Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
Connecticut: No – No Season Available
Delaware: No – No Season Available
Florida: No – No Season Available
Georgia: No – No Season Available
Hawaii: No – No Season Available
Idaho Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
Illinois: No – No Season Available
Indiana: No – No Season Available

Iowa: No – No Season Available
Kansas Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
Kentucky Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available 
Louisiana: No – No Season Available
Maine: No – No Season Available
Maryland: No – No Season Available [1]
Massachusetts: No – No Season Available

Michigan Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
Minnesota Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
Mississippi: No – No Season Available
Missouri: No – No Season Available [2]
Montana Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
Nebraska Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
Nevada Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
New Hampshire: No – No Season Available
New Jersey: No – No Season Available
New Mexico Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
New York: No – No Season Available
North Carolina: No – No Season Available [3]
North Dakota Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available

Ohio: No – No Season Available
Oklahoma Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
Oregon Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
Pennsylvania Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
Rhode Island: No – No Season Available
South Carolina: No – No Season Available
South Dakota Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
Tennessee Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available 
Texas: No – No Season Available
Utah Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
Vermont: No – No Season Available
Virginia Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
Washington Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available
West Virginia: No – No Season Available
Wisconsin: No – No Season Available [4]
Wyoming Yes – Current Elk Hunting Season Available

A more general websitesite that will allow you to easily see license information, regulations, and general public land hunting options for each state can be viewed here.

 

[1] http://rmefblog.blogspot.com/2013/07/maryland-passes-on-elk-reintroduction.html

[2] http://www.missourinet.com/2013/07/15/planning-to-begin-for-elk-hunting-season-still-years-away/

[3] http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/2015/12/22/nc-wildlife-proposes-elk-hunting-season/77712810/

[4] http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Wildlifehabitat/elk.html

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