10 Best States for Hunting Elk (You’ll Like Most)

Elk hunting might sound a little overwhelming and a pretty hard thing to do. More so, if this is your first time doing it. Even hunter veterans are sometimes overcome by it. You might get a little anxious taking down the big beasts if you do not know the basics.

And even if you do know about the basics, but do not know where to look for, that’s a different story of useless knowledge. Below, we will mention some of the basics and then the best states for hunting elk that you could apply your knowledge in.

10 Best States for Hunting Elk

Here are our Top 10 states for elk hunting:

1. Colorado

Colorado Elk hunting

According to most hunters, this is the best state for elk hunting. One of the major and obvious reasons has to be the presence of elks here in abundance: 2,80,000, which is the largest elk herd in the country.

Trophy elk aren’t so plentiful here, but when the other states are giving you opportunities in hundreds, you have here in thousands, increasing your probability of success in the Colorado elk hunt. Colorado’s popularity is further increased by over-the-counter licenses.

2. Oregon

Oregon elk hunting state

Tens of thousands of elks can be found in Oregon. It has one of the largest elk herds, though not as big as that of Colorado. On a regular basis, many Crockett and Boon bulls are harvested here. So you have 2 good reasons to go for Elk hunting in Oregon.

3. Utah

Best States for Hunting Elk

In terms of trophy elk hunting, we have a rival of Arizona right here: Utah. This is possibly the best state to hunt elk on public land, while also giving tough competition to Arizona, and is ascertained with the past record of non-typical elk taken here back in 2008.

4. Idaho

As estimated, there are roughly 107000 elks in Idaho. If you are someone who enjoys a tiny bit of adventure, get ready to hunt in Idaho. Because most of the (28 in number) zones to hunt elks have been heavily forested, giving you the adventurous feel of hunting through forests as you go. If not, it will still be worth it if you are not up for that, because big bulls are regularly found in the units

5. Montana


The elk herd of Montana is estimated at officially 163000. According to hunters, you would be doing better if you visit and choose the southwest part of the state for big bulls and opportunity hunting.

6. Wyoming

Wyoming states for elk hunting

The Rocky Mountains is where Wyoming’s elk herd mostly is found. Again, another adventurous feat for you! The lower mountain region and the plain lands also have something to offer to you. So not to worry even if you miss out on the adventure.

7. New Mexico

Your chance of bagging an elk here isn’t as high as bagging big bulls, but you get it.

8. Washington


The state’s elk herd has lessened over the years owing to mountain lions and forest fires. But on the Blue Mountains, things are looking better.

9. Arizona


If you like it as big as you can bag, this is the state to go to. Not just the biggest in the country, the biggest bulls of the Earth probably reside in Arizona. It is hard to get a tag here. But if you do, it is so worth the wait. This is also another best state to hunt elk on public land.

10. Pennsylvania

This state has a place named Elk County. Would be very disappointing if we couldn’t find elks here, eh? But Elk County isn’t for hunting, but viewing elks. Pennsylvania elk hunting is mostly enjoyed and fruitful if you are a dweller of the east of Mississippi. Otherwise, the best states for elk hunting are the western ones.

What You Need to Know Before Elk Hunting

This is not your comprehensive guide to elk hunting, but make sure you are aware of the following before elk hunting:

  • Natural Habitat: Hidden deep timber meadows, grassy slopes, woods are good places to look to because the elks feed here. Also, non-crowded areas where people like you aren’t crammed together looking for elks.
  • Elk Movement: Morning and evening are the time when elk are most active. So if you want to catch them when they are inactive and probably resting, look for midday, If you want the run and chase, do it in the dusk or dawn.
  • Elk Behavior: If you are looking for a mature elk to hunt, as most hunters do, do not look to the roads. They are mostly not there and in an area that is exposed.

  • Feeding Habits: Since they feed on vegetations, spring and summer seasons with lush greeneries everywhere is a good time to choose for elk hunting.

What You Need to Do/Essentials for the Trip

Also, you will need the following pieces as you go for the hunt:

hunting gear
  • Hunting tag: Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Oregon should be your top preferences.
  • The right elk hunting rifle, hunting scope preferably recommended by family or friends. Also, learn the skills of shooting properly and humanely.
  • Necessary survival kit, food and clothing and stuff that help you after shooting
  • Strict adherence to the local hunting rules and regulations. Most of the time, these are to protect the population of the animals and their growth, and not all the states have the same laws. So learn.
  • Some decent boots besides all the camouflage, bows, scents and calling equip for all the miles you will need walking
  • A fit bod enough for a hunt, not to run a marathon.
  • A practice of long-distance shooting of up to 300 yards

  • Scouting.


These elk and deer hunting tips work for both beginners and pros. Although we haven’t been too comprehensive about it, this sums up all you need to know about the best states for hunting elk and everything that comes in between. As much as it is for a purpose, do not engage in mad hunting.

Protection and maintenance of the environment should always be a top priority. Let’s check my other review the best scope for 22lr rifle.

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