10 Best Elk Hunting Destinations

The greatest factor for hunters in determining the 10 best destinations for elk hunting is often simply knowing where these huge mammals reside. Elk hunting is among the most popular hunting sports in North America. From northern Canada to the Rocky Mountains, these big game are widely dispersed across the country. While it is not legal to hunt elk in some states and often difficult to acquire an elk hunting license in others, many regions in the United States permit and welcome hunting elk due to dense populations of these creatures. The ten best elk hunting destinations can be found below:

  1. Colorado: The high altitude, mountainous region of Colorado is home to the largest elk herd in the United States. Over 200,000 elk live here and the state licenses hunters to hunt up to about 50,000 per year collectively. This may not be the absolute greatest location for hunters in search of a trophy catch, but elk are plentiful and the likelihood of bringing one home is highest in Colorado.
  2. New Mexico: Most southwest and Pacific coast states are great for elk hunting and New Mexico is widely viewed to be the best of these. In terms of population density, there are certainly other states above this one but for hunters seeking quality above quantity, New Mexico is the best destination. Along with the next destination for elk hunting on this list, New Mexico has produced some record breakers in recent years.
  3. Montana: The seasons are short, but for a beautiful outdoor experience, hunters can never go wrong with Montana. Hunting outfitters here offer guides to lead hunters through the region's attractive forests, rivers, and fields.
  4. Arizona: Like New Mexico, Arizona is an excellent elk hunting destination for trophy bulls.
  5. Oregon: Most states along the Pacific coast are great for elk hunting and arguably the best of these is Oregon. The Roosevelt Elk, largest of all North American Elk, calls Oregon home. Permits for nonresidents can be difficult to come by here as residents push for heavier restrictions on elk hunting.
  6. Washington: Like Oregon, politics and restrictions can complicate the hunting experience in Washington.
  7. Utah: Utah is another great state for hunters planning to hire an outfitter. Restrictions here are similar to previously listed states, but outfitters offer hunters the chance to hunt some larger bulls.
  8. Wyoming: Wyoming is a good elk hunting destination for both size and population. These region also offers many options for hunters looking to hire an outfitter.
  9. California: This is the only home to the third sub-species of elk in North America: the Tulle Elk. These are the smallest of the three, but they can be found all over central California and overall, this state offers a solid hunting experience.
  10. Idaho: The elk hunting season is brief, but while it lasts Idaho presents another option for some exciting elk hunting. Restrictions on licenses for nonresidents basically amounts to a lottery so hunters interested in Idaho will need to be familiar with the state's specific regulations in advance.
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