How Much Meat Do You Get From An Elk?

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The average amount of boneless meat you can get from a full-grown bull elk is around 250 pounds while the elk cow can give you at least 180 pounds of pure boneless meat.

Game hunting is meant for two main reasons; trophy and meat. If you are interested in the meat, you might want to weigh your options on the amount you’ll receive from different games. And of course the quantity will depend on various factors such as locality.

Does the Sex of an Elk Affect the Quantity of Meat?

Their sex determines the regular weight of an elk. Male elks tend to be heavier than cow elks. A mature buck has a live weight of around 750 pounds, and the female elk weighs around 500 pounds. It’s crucial to note that the weights will vary, and these are not the standard weights for the elks.

This brings around the significance of the realization of the disparities between the male and female elks. Hence, if you want to hunt elks for meat, it’s vital to note that there are bull and cow elks. Each has distinct characteristics which are not hard to differentiate even for inexperienced hunters.

How to Differentiate the Male Elk from the Female?

When not fully grown, elks will have the same size for both male and females. At this point, telling between the two may be baffling even for experienced elk hunters. But the more they grow; it becomes easier to differentiate due to their overall size.

Another way to distinguish between them is through the antlers. Cow elks do not grow antlers.


Across the many game meat consumption platforms, elk or deer meat is referred to as venison. Find out more on our article ‘Why is Deer Meat Called Venison’. But with the generalization in the name, you are bound to experience some inconsistency on the meat’s quality. 

Cow and bull elk’s meat will taste different regardless of the region they come from. The distinct taste from this meat is noticeable, and if you love game meat, you will experience this. It’s all down to the texture, scent, juice, tenderness, color, and marbling of the game meat. The article ‘What Does Moose Meat Taste Compared to Deer and Elk’ will help you tell the difference in meat taste. Unless you are able to realize all these, telling the difference may be impossible.

Nutritional Value of Elk Meat

Game meat is considered to be healthy and offers a lot of nutritional benefits. For elk meat, it’s not just about the tenderness or good taste; it happens to have low cholesterol. Its fat is known to be healthy since it contains omega 3. The fat found in elk meat happens to the less compared to the fat in chicken and beef meat.

Elk meat is high in protein and a good source of iron, potassium, and magnesium.  Although not as healthy as bison meat, it’s still considered one of the healthiest game meats.

Which Is the Best Way to Prepare Elk Meat?

Elk meat is tender, and the number one mistake one can make is overcooking it. Use a meat thermometer when preparing it and the recommended temperature is 150 °F. Cook it at this temperature, and if your preference is roasting, let it slowly roast for long. But you are not limited to the method of preparing elk meat. You can grill, bake, fry or braise if this is how you prefer your meat cooked.

Elk meat doesn’t need tenderizing since the meat is already soft.

Hunting Elk for Meat

Elks are hunted for various reasons but mostly for their exceptionally tender meat. Hunters cherish this game meat, and it’s the best award one can get after a successful hunt. This happens to be the reason this game meat is the most consumed in different states. However, catching wapitis for meat can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t possess the right skills to hunt them. These are tracking ability, the reading of tell signs on elks being around an area, patience, and proper shooting skills.

All these can be learned through practice and doing proper research to understand conditions that favor their habitats. Since these mammals migrate through the seasons, it’s paramount to understand their migration pattern if you want to score one. Honing your skills and being mentally prepared is not all you require to have success in hunting elks. A good hunter should never forget that the department of wildlife regulates hunting elks.

Thus, you will need to acquire a license to hunt elks. Due to their dynamics, don’t forget to update yourself with the laws that govern this game’s hunting. Ensure your hunting gear is fully equipped and identify the best way to transport the meat. Our article on Elk Calling will give you great insights to ensure successful elk hunting.

For some, it’s best to skin the animal in the wild while others would rather skin it at home. It all depends on your preference.

Most Popular Elk Hunting Accessories

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Where Can I Hunt For Elk Meat

Elks are distributed across different states, although some areas they can be scarce or don’t inhabit. This can be due to an unfavorable environment or the season, which influences their migration. Here are the states where elks mostly inhabit, and you can hunt for their meat. Although it’s vital to understand that just because they are available, you will still need to track them.

The states are:

  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Wyoming
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Nevada
  • North and South Dakota
  • Texas,
  • Montana
  • Oregon

Colorado leads with the number of elks followed by Idaho and Utah.

Can I Hunt Elk Meat to Sell?

Elk meat falls in the category of game meat, and there is no prohibition in its sale. But there are conditions set by law regarding the sale of game meat. It’s illegal to sell meat that hasn’t been inspected and doesn’t have a mark for inspection from a relevant authority. Also, elk meat that has been hunted for recreation reasons can’t be sold.

These are the few restrictions on hunting elk meat to sell, and this law cuts across America.

Is It Legal to Buy Elk Meat

Buying and importation of elk meat is legal in all states, but as we’ve seen, the meet should be inspected. If found handling game meat that has not undergone inspection, you will face prosecution from the wildlife state department. Inspecting game meat is meant to ensure that the meat is proper for human consumption. Contaminations may occur during harvesting of this meat, and if sold to mass, the repercussions can be detrimental.

Therefore you can buy elk meat for personal consumption and selling.

Can I Carry Elk Meat Across States?

You might live in a state where elks can’t be found, forcing you to transverse to other states. This consequently means you will have to cross state lines with the elk meat. To avoid any tussle with the authority, make sure to acquire a proper license. This is because you are bound to be flagged especially if you’re carrying a dead elk in your truck.

All you have to do is mention you will be crossing state lines to the license issuer for the necessary details to be recorded. For importation, there are no restrictions on transporting elk meat across the state. All you need is proper documentation for the elk meat that is a requirement for food importation.

How to Preserve Elk Meat

A full-grown bull elk can give you 250 pounds of meat. That’s a considerable amount, and you can’t finish it in one sitting even if you are a huge meat lover. Even in a family setting, it’s impossible to clear those pounds of meat. The best way to preserve elk meat is by freezing it while it’s still fresh. 

Pack it in moisture-proof storage bags and ensure they are tightly closed.

The meat will go bad fast when it comes in contact with moisture since that’s a breeding ground for bacteria. Keep the freezer at 34 °F but not more than 36 °F, that’s the best temperature to keep it from going bad. But don’t keep elk meat in the freezer for long, it might end up losing its taste.

Final Verdict

Elks tend to grow into sizable animals, and this is proportional to the amount of meat you can get. If you happen to score one, you can feed on that meat for weeks if properly preserved. It’s possible to tell the difference between elk meat and beef. Elk meat is lean, and the marbling on the meat makes unique patterns that you can’t find on beef meat.

The taste is also distinct because of its tenderness and has more flavor compared to beef meat. Hence, if you intend to hunt an elk for its meat, you are now knowledgeable on the amount of meat you can get.

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