Did you know that elk is among the bulkiest species in the deer family as well as in North America and Eastern Asia? Not many elk hunters know this. An elk also referred to as wapiti, is one of those species of Cervidae (deer family) that are considered to be the largest. Why else do you think they are so popular in North America and Eastern Asia?
They are pretty massive in size, which is why hunters want to know how much does an elk weigh? How much does an elk quarter weigh? And how much does an elk hindquarter weight?
These are the kind of questions that usually pop up in both professional and rookie hunters’ minds. So let’s address them all, shall we?
Elk live weight: General information about elk weight
Let me tell you some interesting facts about the deer family. One of the species from Crevidae that is considered to be almost as large as an elk is the South Asian sambar. But, as its name suggests, they mainly reside in Southern Asia. While the elks are mainly found in North America and Eastern Asia.
Another species that ranks second in terms of weight is moose. Moose weight is comparatively lower than an elk’s despite the fact that the latter looks relatively smaller than the former. And this is the reason why many hunters have a knack for confusing moose with an elk.
So, especially a mature bull elk? Approximately 725 lbs. But this number can vary, obviously. The average weight falls somewhere between 550 to 800 lbs. While the weight of mature cows is somewhere between 500 and 600 lbs each.
Cow Elk Hunting Techniques - ElkNut Outdoor Productions
If we have to compare an elk to a deer, then the former is considerably heavier than the latter. As a matter of fact, an elk is significantly larger than most species of the deer family. And not just larger but also 6 to 7 times heavier than all others species of deer.
So now you know how much does an elk weigh. And it’s because of this large weight that they need to consume at least 3 pounds of food for every 100 pounds of body weight. Such a large quantity of food is consumed daily. So an elk needs to eat at least 30 pounds of food in one whole day or 24 hours. Pretty shocking, isn’t it?
How much meat do you get from an elk?
If you really want to know how much meat do you get from an elk? Because both the questions don’t have the same answers. And this is something that not many hunters know.
Do you know the meaning of viscera? It is the animal’s internal organs primarily located in the body’s main cavities. In most cases, it is the abdomen region. It’s where the intestines are located. So the correct answer to your question, how much meat do you get from an elk, is the weight of the animal’s viscera.
The correct elk carcass guideline
Below I have listed the elk carcass guidelines as published by the Agricultural Experiment Station of the University of Wyoming. This guideline is a very valuable piece of information as it helps to answer several questions that pop up in the minds of many elk hunters.
For the publication, around 25 thousand elks, and 60 thousand hunters were used in order to draw accurate results and relevant information about elk hunting. So if you want to know an elk weigh at every stage of its life, the first chart is the correct answer to that question.
While the second chart answers questions like how much does an elk quarter weigh? Or how much does an elk hindquarter weight?
Field Dressed Weight
Field Dressed Weight
3½ – 4½
5½ – 6½
7½ – 8½
Weight in Pounds
Hind Quarter 1
Hind Quarter 2
Back straps (2)
Rib, Neck & Loin Meat
How much does an elk weigh and What is the average dressed weight of an elk?
A very important fact that all elk hunters must know is that the typically dressed weight of a mature, normal elk is around 70 percent of the whole body weight of a living elk. So the regularly dressed weight of a mature bull should be at least 540 lbs and that of a smaller calf should be around 176 lbs.
Another equally important fact that all elk hunters must know is the boneless meat weight of an elk. Since bones are considered to add more figures to any typically dressed weight of an elk, once you eliminate the bones, the average weight tends to take a nosedive. For cows, the average weight reduces down to at least 90 lbs. While in bulls, it lowers down to 270 lbs.
Packing your game
Ask any elk hunter and he or she will tell you that elk hunting is not at all an easy task. And it gets even more difficult when you have to begin packing your game, especially when you’re packing a bull. The joy of completing a hunt successfully soon gets overshadowed by the worry of what to do next.
And why wouldn’t you worry about that when you have to deal with around 350 pounds of elk meat? So in such cases, my best advice to you would be to take a horse with you. In my experience, I can’t tell you the number of times I felt totally helpless when I didn’t bother to take a horse with me for elk hunting.
If you don’t have one, then contact a few friends or relatives who do and convince them into letting you borrow their horse. Otherwise, elk hunting will seem like both a true blessing and an unfortunate curse.
Elk Hunting: What to Know Before Your First Hunt - Hunting Tip?
So how much does an elk weigh? Surprisingly too much, isn’t it?
When elk hunting, just make sure that you’re one of those elk hunters who plan beforehand. Make a note of all your possible resources and available options in order to see what works best for you. And don’t develop a habit of hunting too far because you obviously don’t want to spend most of your time and effort moving the carcass from one end to the other.
I hope that now you’re well informed about the statistics and figures involved in elk hunting.
So it’s finally time to get on the field and not just do what you do but also know exactly what you’re doing.
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