Arizona Elk

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Arizona Elk

Before European settlers migrated to North America, there were an estimated 10 million elk spread through every part of the continent except the Great Basin Desert and the Southern coastal plains. Because of settler expansion and market hunting, the total North American elk population had dwindled to about 90,000 by 1922 and about 40,000 of those were concentrated in the Yellowstone Park area. In 1913, 83 elk from Yellowstone were transplanted in Arizona near Chevelon Lake in the Arizona White Mountains region. Even with harvesting via licensed hunting, today the Arizona elk population has grown to about 35,000.

Picture of Elk

Characteristics and Behavior

A large bull elk can weigh up to 1,200 pounds but average from 600 to 800 pounds and an adult cow will range from 450 to 600 pounds. They are the second largest animal in the deer family with the moose being the largest. Elks can attain speeds up to 40 miles per hour over short distances and can sustain speeds of 30 miles per hour for long periods. Elk are strong swimmers and can leap vertically 8 to 10 feet.

A bull elk’s average life span is 14 to 16 years and the cows average a year longer. They have been know to live as long 25 years. Antler development is a function of age. The antler cast occurs in January to March for adult bulls and from March through May for sub-adults. New growth occurs shortly after the cast. The growing period ranges from 90 days for yearlings to 150 days for adult bulls. Therefore it’s possible to see yearlings with old spikes at the same time as bulls with a foot of velvet. Cows do not have antlers.

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Picture of Elk

By early August, antler growth is complete. The velvet dries up and the antlers harden. The velvet is stripped off in a matter of hours and the elk polishes its antlers against trees. By early September, the bull is ready for the rut (mating). Bugling and harem formation occurs. Harems may number up to 30, depending on the vigor of the bull, but usually average 15 to 20 cows.

After mating, the cow will separate from the herd and seek out dense cover to prepare as a nursery. She will drive off last year’s calf only weeks before parturition. Twins are extremely rare. At birth, calves average nearly 30 pounds with males averaging 4 pounds more than cows. Within hours, a newborn calf can move and is led from the birthing spot to a safer place.

After a week, the female will band with other females and after two to three weeks the calves, now able to run, will join the group creating herds numbering in the hundreds. By September, the calves have shed their juvenile spotted coats.

Arizona Habitat

Elk inhabit forested areas at high altitude within a range where a water source is nearby. They prefer the higher elevations from 7,000 to about 10,000 feet which is referred to as their “summer range”. They will migrate to lower elevations during the winter when heavy snow forces them to seek lower ground. Their typical habitats include the White Mountains area, the Mogollon Rim and the Kaibab Forest.

Herds can commonly be seen in the areas around Flagstaff, Williams, Payson, Heber Overgaard, Show Low, Pinetop Lakeside, Greer, Alpine and generally any forested area. They feed primarily on grasses, shrubs and tree foliage. Their predators include mountain lions and packs of coyotes that will attach young elk.

See also  7mm-08 Remington for Elk Hunting? Best Ammo (Round, Load, Cartridge) for a Successful Elk Hunt Hunting Calibers 04 Apr, 2020 Posted By: Foundry Outdoors Is the 7mm-08 Remington a viable caliber/load/round/cartridge for elk hunting? The accurate answer is “it depends”. However, the goal of this article is simply to address the question of whether the 7mm-08 Remington is within the ideal range of suitable calibers to harvest elk. As with anything, the devil is in the details. To answer the question completely, we would need to evaluate the downrange distance to the elk, the bullet type, the grain weight of the bullet, the physical condition of the firearm, the size of the elk in question, the shot placement, the local wind conditions, the expected accuracy of the shooter, the ethics of the ideal maximum number of shots – the list goes on. [Click Here to Shop 7mm-08 Remington Ammo]What we can do is provide a framework to understand what average conditions might look like, and whether those are reasonably viable for a shot from the average shooter to harvest a elk in the fewest number of shots possible, i.e., ethically. Let’s dive right in. In the question of “Is the 7mm-08 Remington within the ideal range of suitable calibers for elk hunting?” our answer is: Yes, the 7mm-08 Remington is A GOOD CHOICE for elk hunting, under average conditions, from a mid-range distance, with a medium grain expanding bullet, and with correct shot placement.Let’s look at those assumptions a bit closer in the following table. Assumption Value Caliber 7mm-08 Remington Animal Species Elk Muzzle Energy 2450 foot-pounds Animal Weight 720 lbs Shot Distance 200 yardsWhat is the average muzzle energy for a 7mm-08 Remington? In this case, we have assumed the average muzzle energy for a 7mm-08 Remington round is approximately 2450 foot-pounds. What is the average weight of an adult male elk? Here we have leaned conservative by taking the average weight of a male individual of the species, since females generally weigh less and require less stopping power. In this case, the average weight of an adult male elk is approximately 720 lbs. [Click Here to Shop 7mm-08 Remington Ammo]What is the distance this species is typically hunted from? Distance, of course, plays an important role in the viability of a given caliber in elk hunting. The kinetic energy of the projectile drops dramatically the further downrange it travels primarily due to energy lost in the form of heat generated by friction against the air itself. This phenonemon is known as drag or air resistance. Thus, a caliber that is effective from 50 yards may not have enough stopping power from 200 yards. With that said, we have assumed the average hunting distance for elk to be approximately 200 yards. What about the other assumptions? We have three other primary assumptions being made here. First, the average bullet weight is encapsulated in the average muzzle energy for the 7mm-08 Remington. The second important assumption is ‘slightly-suboptimal’ to ‘optimal’ shot placement. That is to say, we assume the elk being harvested is shot directly or nearly directly in the vitals (heart and/or lungs). The third assumption is that a projectile with appropriate terminal ballistics is being used, which for hunting usually means an expanding bullet.Various calibersA common thread you may encounter in online forums is anecdote after anecdote of large animals being brought down by small caliber bullets, or small animals surviving large caliber bullets. Of course those stories exist, and they are not disputed here. A 22LR cartridge can fell a bull elephant under the right conditions, and a newborn squirrel can survive a 50 BMG round under other specific conditions. Again, the goal of this article is simply to address the question of whether 7mm-08 Remington is within the ideal range of suitable calibers to harvest elk - and to this question, the response again is yes, the 7mm-08 Remington is A GOOD CHOICE for elk hunting. [Click Here to Shop 7mm-08 Remington Ammo]This article does not serve as the final say, but simply as a starting point for beginner hunters, as well as a venue for further discussion. Please feel free to agree, disagree, and share stories from your own experience in the comments section below. Disclaimer: the information above is purely for illustrative purposes and should not be taken as permission to use a particular caliber, a statement of the legality or safety of using certain calibers, or legal advice in any way. You must read and understand your own local laws before hunting elk to know whether your caliber of choice is a legal option.Foundry Outdoors is your trusted home for buying archery, camping, fishing, hunting, shooting sports, and outdoor gear online.We offer cheap ammo and bulk ammo deals on the most popular ammo calibers. We have a variety of deals on Rifle Ammo, Handgun Ammo, Shotgun Ammo & Rimfire Ammo, as well as ammo for target practice, plinking, hunting, or shooting competitions. Our website lists special deals on 9mm Ammo, 10mm Ammo, 45-70 Ammo, 6.5 Creedmoor ammo, 300 Blackout Ammo, 10mm Ammo, 5.56 Ammo, Underwood Ammo, Buffalo Bore Ammo and more special deals on bulk ammo.We offer a 100% Authenticity Guarantee on all products sold on our website. Please email us if you have questions about any of our product listings. 1 Comments Ted - Aug 28, 2024Shot placement is the key. I find most 140(139) grain bullets serve me well. Hunting should be fair chase. Sniping at 400+ yards is not hunting. Leave a commentComments have to be approved before showing up Your Name * Your Email * Your Comment * Post Comment

Although elk are timid, with expansion of home developments into their natural habitats, elk will graze within communities. As long as humans do not approach them, they usually will permit people to watch them as they graze. They are beautiful animals and if you come across a herd, just sit quietly and enjoy these majestic animals.

When you drive through forested country, always be on the lookout for elk. Every year there are many incidents of elk suddenly leaping onto roads and even freeways. At a weight of 800 to 1,200 pounds, those type of accidents can cause serious damage and can result in fatalities.

More Information

About Elk – Wikipedia

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>