Fieldcraft & Elk: Learning Skills & Drills!

“Wily elk learn to outsmart hunters

WITH age comes wisdom. Older female elk learn to avoid getting shot by hunters, and may adapt their behaviour to the hunting threat at different times of year.

Henrik Thurfjell [and colleagues (2017)] at the University of Alberta, Canada, and his colleagues put GPS tracking collars on 49 female elk in western Canada, and monitored their behaviour over six years.

Four-year-old elk were more cautious than 2-year-olds, but that was not simply because naturally bold elk had been killed at an early age.

Instead, young elk began acting more like their cautious elders as they aged. What’s more, older elk used difficult terrain during bow hunting season – making things tricky for the hunters, who need to get close to their prey for a kill.

In rifle hunting season, the elk stayed farther away from roads, where hunters spot them more
easily.” (New Scientist, 2017, p.19).


New Scientist (2017) In Brief: Wily Elk Learn to Outsmart Hunters. New Scientist. 24 June 2017.

Thurfjell, H., Ciuti, S. & Boyce, M.S. (2017) Learning from the Mistakes of Others: How Female Elk (Cervus Elaphus) Adjust Behaviour with Age to Avoid Hunters. PLOS One.


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