What Eats Elk? (8 Animals with Pictures)

What Eats Elk

Examples of animals that eat elk include Black Bears, Bobcat, Coyotes, Gray Wolves, and Grizzly Bears.

Elk are common prey for many predators. Coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, and bears are all known to prey on elk. These carnivores have adaptations that allow them to take down an elk, including sharp teeth and claws for tearing flesh, and powerful jaws for breaking bone.

Some of these predators will also scavenge elk carcasses when the opportunity arises. Elk can be a challenge to hunt, but they provide a significant source of food if caught.

Examples of Animals that Eat Elk

1. Black Bears

Scientific NameUrsus americanus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAlaska, much of Canada and the contiguous United States, and extend as far south as northern Mexico

Black bears are a common predator of elk in North America. They typically hunt alone, stalking their prey until they are close enough to attack. Black bears have powerful jaws and sharp claws that they use to kill their prey. They will also scavenge elk carcasses if they find them.

Black bears will eat just about anything, including elk. They have been known to follow hunters who shoot an elk and then steal the carcass while the hunter is busy field dressing it. They will also eat the meat of dead or dying elk that they find. Black bears are attracted to areas where elk congregate, such as feeding and calving areas.

2. Bobcats

Scientific NameLynx rufus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeThe largest Bobcats are found in Canada and the western USA, while the smallest are found in Mexico

The bobcat is a North American wildcat that ranges from southern Canada to northern Mexico. Bobcats are relatively small cats, with males weighing up to 35 pounds and females up to 30 pounds. They have distinctively marked fur, with black spots on a light brown or yellowish background. Bobcats are mostly nocturnal hunters, and they hunt a variety of prey, including elk.

Bobcats will stalk and ambush their prey, leaping out at them from hiding spots. They usually go for the throat or chest, killing their prey with a quick bite. Bobcats will eat most of the animal they kill, but they may cache (hide) some of the meat for later.

Bobcats hunt elk for food. They typically eat the meat, organs, and sometimes the bones of their prey. Bobcats need to eat around 1 to 2 pounds of meat per day. A full-grown elk can provide a lot of food for a bobcat, especially if the cat caches (hides) part of the kill.

Related Article: Can Bobcat Color be Gray?

3. Coyotes

Scientific NameCanis latrans
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAlaska southward into Central America, but especially on the Great Plains

Coyotes are part of the canine family, which includes dogs, foxes, and wolves. Coyotes are found throughout North and Central America. They are medium-sized animals, with males weighing up to 50 pounds and females up to 35 pounds. Coyotes are typically grayish-brown in color, with a light gray or white underside.

Coyotes are opportunistic hunters and will eat a variety of prey, including elk. They typically hunt in pairs or small groups, using their keen sense of smell to track down their prey. Once they have found an elk, they will stalk it and then attack, going for the throat or chest.

Coyotes eat elk for food. They typically eat the meat and organs of their prey, although they may also cache (hide) part of the kill for later. Coyotes need to eat around 2 to 4 pounds of food per day.

Related Article: Do Coyote Eat Mice?

4. Gray Wolves

Scientific NameCanis lupus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAlaska, northern Michigan, northern Wisconsin, western Montana, northern Idaho, northeast Oregon, and the Yellowstone area of Wyoming

Wolves are another top predator in North America that will prey on elk. These intelligent predators work together in packs to take down their prey. A single wolf would have a difficult time taking down an elk on its own, but working together as a pack, they can take down even the largest of elk.

Wolves will typically stalk their prey for a long period of time before attacking. They will wait for the right moment to strike, when the elk is tired and off guard. Once they have taken the elk down, they will consume the meat, organs, and bones.

While wolves will eat just about anything, they do have a preference for certain types of food. In the spring and summer months, they tend to eat more plants and berries. In the fall and winter, when elk are migrating, they will focus more on meat. This is because elk are a good source of protein and fat, which helps the wolves prepare for the winter months.

5. Grizzly Bears

Scientific NameUrsus arctos horribilis
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAlaska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and possibly southern Colorado, as well as in western Canada

The grizzly bear is one of the most feared predators in North America. They are known to eat just about anything they can get their paws on, including elk. Grizzlies will typically stalk their prey until they are close enough to attack. Once they have taken down an elk, they will feast on the meat and organs, often spending days eating the same carcass.

Grizzlies tend to hunt in areas where there is a lot of cover, such as forests or thick brush. This allows them to ambush their prey and take them by surprise. Grizzlies are also known to eat carrion, which is another reason why they are often found near forested areas – there is a greater chance of finding dead animals there.

While grizzlies will eat just about anything, they do have a preference for certain types of food. In the spring and summer months, they tend to eat more plants and berries. In the fall and winter, when elk are migrating, they will focus more on meat. This is because elk are a good source of protein and fat, which helps the bears prepare for hibernation.

6. Humans

Scientific NameHomo sapiens
Type of AnimalMammal

Humans have been hunting elk for centuries, and they continue to do so today. Elk meat is a delicious and nutritious addition to the human diet, and elk hunting provides humans with a challenging and rewarding outdoor activity. In some areas, elk hunting is also managed as a way to control the elk population and prevent overgrazing of vegetation. Elk are a popular game animal, and they provide humans with an enjoyable and sustainable source of food.

7. Jaguar

Scientific NamePanthera onca
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangefrom south-west USA, throughout South America to almost the far north in Argentina

The jaguar (Panthera onca) is a large cat species and the only extant member of the genus Panthera. The jaguar’s present range extends from Mexico across much of Central America and into South America, including parts of Brazil. While the jaguar most commonly inhabits tropical rainforests, it also ranges across a much wider area, including the swamps of the southern United States and the arid landscapes of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Jaguars are also found in the Andes mountains, ranging from Venezuela all the way to northern Argentina.

Read Also: Bear vs Jaguar

8. Mountain Lions

Scientific NamePuma concolor
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeIdaho, Montana, Colorado, Utah and Arizona

Mountain lions are large cats that weigh up to 200 pounds. They have long legs and a long tail that they use for balance when they run. Mountain lions are found in the western United States, in the mountains and foothills. They are solitary animals, and they prefer to hunt at night.

Mountain lions are known to prey on elk. They will stalk their prey and then ambush them from behind, biting the elk’s neck to kill it. Mountain lions will also scavenge elk carcasses.


In conclusion, there are many animals that hunt elk. Some of the most common predators include grizzly bears, cougars, gray wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, and bobcats. Each of these animals has adaptations that help them to take down their prey. Elk provide humans with a delicious and nutritious source of food, and they are an important part of the ecosystem.

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