Elk hunting is a popular pastime for many outdoor enthusiasts, but it requires a certain level of skill and knowledge to make a successful shot.
One important factor to consider is the size of an elk’s vital organs, particularly the heart. Understanding the size and location of an elk’s heart can make all the difference in ensuring a clean and ethical kill.
In this article, we’ll explore just how big an elk heart is and why it’s crucial to know for any aspiring elk hunter.
So, let’s dive in and discover the fascinating world of elk anatomy!
How Big Is An Elk Heart?
An elk’s heart is a vital organ that plays a crucial role in the animal’s survival. But just how big is an elk heart?
On average, an elk’s heart weighs between 0.4 to 0.6 pounds. However, the size of an elk’s heart can vary depending on the age and gender of the animal.
When it comes to hunting elk, it’s important to know the size of their vital organs, including the heart. A bull elk’s heart/lung area is around 25 inches broad, allowing for some shooting skill mistake but yet allowing for solid shot placement.
Knowing the size of an elk’s heart can help hunters make a clean and ethical kill, as a well-placed shot can quickly and humanely take down the animal.
The Importance Of Knowing Elk Anatomy
As a hunter, it’s essential to educate yourself about the anatomy of the game you’re hunting. Understanding the anatomy of an elk can help you identify the location of vital organs, such as the heart and lungs, and make a clean kill that minimizes suffering.
Elk have similar organ structures to whitetail deer, with a relatively large lung capacity and a heart located between the lungs at the lower area of the chest cavity. The heart is a crucial organ that pumps oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, and a well-placed shot can cause significant damage and lead to a quick kill.
Aside from the heart and lungs, elk also have four-chambered stomachs that allow them to digest large quantities of food at a later time. The liver and spleen are located just behind the heart and lungs area.
Knowing where to aim for vital organs is crucial for ethical hunting. The most effective shots are delivered to an animal’s vital organs, which lie in the chest cavity behind the front shoulder. A shot in this area causes considerable bleeding, and if the animal doesn’t die immediately and tries to flee, it will leave a blood trail that’s easy to track.
In addition to being a good marksman, patience is key when hunting elk. Hunters should limit shots to the vital organs only and wait until they have a clear shot before taking it.
Elk Heart Anatomy: Size And Location
Elk heart anatomy is similar to that of other large game animals, such as deer and moose. The heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood throughout the body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to the various tissues and organs.
The elk’s heart is located in the lower portion of the chest cavity, between the lungs. It is a relatively small target, weighing between 0.4 to 0.6 pounds on average. However, it is still an important target for hunters, as a well-placed shot can quickly and effectively take down the animal.
The size and location of the elk’s heart can vary depending on the age and gender of the animal. Mature bull elk typically have larger hearts than younger bulls or cows. The heart/lung area of a mature bull elk can be around 25 inches broad, providing some margin for error in shot placement.
When aiming for an elk’s heart, hunters should aim for the lower third of the animal’s body, behind the shoulder. This area provides a clear shot at the vital organs, including the heart and lungs. It is important to avoid shooting too high or too far back, as this can result in a less-than-lethal shot that may cause unnecessary suffering for the animal.
How To Aim For The Elk Heart
When aiming for an elk’s heart, it’s important to keep in mind that the heart is located in the front half of the animal’s body. To give yourself the best chance of hitting the heart, aim for a spot an inch or two behind the animal’s front shoulder. This spot will also give you a good chance of hitting the lungs and other vital organs.
When taking a broadside shot, aim for the crease behind the shoulder, about halfway up the body. This spot will place your shot solidly in both lungs and above the heart, at a point where several major arteries converge. If you shoot too high, you’ll still hit the lungs above. If you shoot too low, you’ll hit both lungs and the heart. However, be careful not to shoot too far towards the shoulder, as the leg bone and shoulder blade are tough bones to penetrate.
If you’re shooting from a high angle, such as from a tree blind, aim higher on the animal to account for its depth. The shot’s trajectory should place it in the animal’s vital zone as it reaches the lower third of the body.
When shooting from slightly behind the animal as it’s quartering away from you, aim a little further back. This will give you a better chance of hitting the heart and other vital organs.
Remember to always adjust your aim for your angle and to take your shot when you’re at the end of an exhale to ensure a relaxed and steady shot. With these tips in mind, you can increase your chances of making a clean and ethical kill by aiming for an elk’s heart.
Ethical Hunting Practices And Elk Conservation
Hunting is not just about the thrill of the chase, but also about conservation and sustainability. As hunters, we have a responsibility to practice ethical hunting practices and respect the land.
One important ethical hunting practice is the concept of “fair chase”. This means that no hunter should take unfair advantage or pursuit over the animals being hunted. It’s crucial to have adequate knowledge of both the environment and the animal so that a quick and clean kill can be made. Baiting an animal or promoting distress in order to kill is looked down upon among hunters, as it goes against the principles of fair chase.
Another important aspect of ethical hunting is identifying and confirming your target. It’s essential to take caution and look at the surroundings to ensure that there isn’t another animal behind your target. Mistakes can happen even with experienced hunters, so it’s important to know what to do in this situation. Colorado Parks and Wildlife separates mistaken kills into three categories: accidental harvest, careless, and negligent. It’s crucial to report any incidents to an officer and take accountability for your actions.
Practicing ethical hunting practices also contributes to elk conservation and sustainability. By respecting the customs of the land, we can ensure that hunting remains sustainable. It’s important to research your hunting locale and talk to a local outfitter if you’re thinking about setting out in a certain area. This can greatly improve your overall trip and prevent the saturation of hunters at any one spot.
Conclusion: Mastering Elk Hunting Through Knowledge And Skill
Mastering elk hunting requires a combination of knowledge and skill. As the hunting season approaches, it’s important for hunters to pack up their gear and head to the high country with the necessary skills needed to successfully hunt elk. While hard work and determination are essential, it’s equally important to acquire the necessary skills through knowledge and practice.
One of the crucial skills needed for elk hunting is learning elk calls. Elk calls can be mastered through the use of open reed calls, which are easier to use than mouth diaphragm calls. Phelps Game Calls make a great product for elk and other types of game to “bring’em in close”! Using a variety of different open reed calls can create “herd talk” and sound like a small group of cows talking to each other, which can attract elk to your location.
Backcountry elk hunts are also an important aspect of elk guiding, requiring hunters to pack into the wilderness on horseback to pursue their prey. Horse handling skills are crucial for these types of hunts, along with elk hunting experience. For those with limited experience in elk hunting, starting out as a wrangler is a great way to get a foot in the door.