The Difference Between Deer & Elk Hunting

February 23, 2022 3 min read

an elevated hunting blind in the woods

While they share a close kinship, elk and deer present different challenges for hunters in pre-hunt tag acquisition, hunt strategies and hunting equipment. In deer hunting, stealth is essential, and patience pays off. Elk hunting requires a more aggressive hunting strategy with greater mobility.  Learn about the differences between elk and deer hunting so you can prepare with the right hunting blinds and scouting methods. Then take advantage of your knowledge and fill your elk and deer tags this season.

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Elk Tags vs. Deer Tags

Before you can set out on a deer or an elk hunt, you need to get a state-specific hunting license and purchase an animal-specific tag. You can usually obtain a hunting license in a couple of hours once you have learned a state’s hunting rules and regulations. This is typically free or inexpensive. On the other hand, tags can be pretty pricey, especially if you want to hunt in a state in which you do not have residency.

Deer tags and elk tags are limited by each state’s fish and wildlife departments. One tag gives a hunter the right to hunt and harvest a single animal from a specific species. States use wildlife population information and tag filling rates to determine how many tags to distribute annually.

One common trend is the price difference between elk tags and deer tags. Deer populations are higher, so states often give out more deer tags than elk tags. This increase in supply results in deer tags being less expensive than elk tags. Since elk tags are in shorter supply, they are also more likely to be won in a raffle rather than bought outright.

Hunt Strategies for Elk and Deer

The two primary differences in elk and deer hunting are how aggressive you can be near the animal and the animal’s respective scouting strategies. Elk have poor eyesight and are big animals less likely to run off when they hear a noise. That is not the case with deer, which are skittish and require stealth to hunt successfully. 

Stealth requirements 

Deer require a hunter to be as silent as possible, and you can never move while in a deer’s sightline. These stealth requirements make deer hunting ideal for implementing an elevated blind. Elevated hunting blinds are structures made specifically for hunters to wait for their prey to come into view. They keep hunters safe and comfortable in all weather conditions while giving them 360-degree aerial views of the surrounding land.

the marksman 6x6 octagon hunting blind

In deer hunting, elevated hunting blinds, like the Marksman 6x6 Octagon Hunting Blind, keep the hunter out of a deer’s normal sightlines, allowing the hunter to move into position for a shot. The Marksman comes with eight windows that accommodate crossbow, archery and gun hunts. The multi-layer construction keeps scents inside the blind and inclement weather out. 

Tracking considerations

Deer live most of their lives in a zone spanning a couple of square miles, making tracking them and following their scat easy. Elk are not so simple to locate. They live nomadic lives over large land areas, sometimes covering 500 square miles. 

The key to finding elk during a hunt is preparation and mobility. Preparation includes learning the hunt location and scouting beforehand to locate the most likely areas to find elk. That includes water sources, grassy areas and wallows where rutting is common. Mobility is vital for elk hunting, as you often need to traverse large distances to find where the elk are on a particular day. The mobility necessary, plus the importance of camo in positioning for the final shot, make the GhostBlind Runner Ground Blind Bundle perfect for an elk hunt.

Weighing in at eight pounds, it satisfies the mobility requirement. With quick tent construction, you can be ready for an elk at a moment’s notice. Find where the elk are that day and set up the six-panel blind that accommodates guns and bows. With blinds that reflect the sun and provide area-specific mirror camo, you can be sure that you will stay hidden when it matters most.

Check Out These GhostBlinds Ground Blinds

While hunting a big bull elk from the ground is not for the faint of heart, the GhostBlind Ground Blind gives you the best chance at stamping that elk tag for the year. With the hefty tracking requirements of elk hunting, you do not want to leave anything to chance.

a hunter behind a ground blind

Prepare for Your Hunt with Shadow Hunter Blinds

Deer and elk require different tags, scouting methods, stealth practices and blinds. You must invest in the right blinds for the animal you plan to hunt for the best results. An elevated blind is best for deer, while a mobile ground blind is most suitable for elk. Contact Shadow Hunter Blinds for more information about our blind offerings. No matter what hunt you have on the horizon, prepare with Shadow Hunter Blinds.