What Time Do Elk Bed Down?

An elk sleeps throughout the midst of the day. The elk would often withdraw to a densely wooded region to sleep for the day, frequently close to the top of a high ridge, after a night of feeding, drinking, and socializing. Avoid chasing the animals into their sleeping places. It is quite unlikely that you will get a shot off before the elk hears or sees you. The sound of a large animal crashing through brush that is frequently too dense for a person to walk through will probably be all you hear to alert you to the elk’s presence. An elk might depart the region after you disturb it in its safest spot, and it might not come back the rest of the season. The afternoon is a perfect time to unwind and get ready for the evening hunt. It does not, however, imply that hunting is completely prohibited there. Elk frequently change where they sleep throughout the day. What was a comfortable bed in the shade in the morning may be in the direct sun in the afternoon, causing the elk to get up and move. If you patiently keep an eye on a sleeping region, you might obtain a shot. Elk also occasionally wallow during the day, especially early in the season. During this time, sitting in your blind or tree stand can be beneficial. Elk hunting is one of several activities in which timing is important. The “Prime Periods” are the finest times to go elk hunting, so take advantage of them. Your chances of success will rise if you do this action.


Elk will often leave their daytime bedding areas an hour or so before dusk and move to their nightly bedding, feeding, and watering locations during the rutting season. They will depart from this region between 30 and an hour after dawn and proceed to their daily sleeping quarters, arriving there usually between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m. Depending on the hunting area, this could be anywhere from a quarter of a mile to a couple of miles from feeding to bedding.

Even though they may get up to drink and browse, they usually re-bed close by. They will typically remain in that area throughout the day. They will then stand back up and continue this cycle. Pressure from predators and hunters may change their patterns.

Elk don’t have a huge problem with the moon, especially during the rut; the rut always wins. In my opinion, the times when the two coincide can be some of the greatest for elk hunting.

Elk may be more active at night during full moons since they can see so much better under a moonlit sky in fair weather, which may cause them to enter their bedding regions a little earlier on occasion. Elk typically remain active and are easily ignited by calling throughout the day if the Rut is in full stride. I want to be out there when the Full Moon and Rut coincide since it’s much simpler to find elk to shoot at these times.

chilly days

Elk appear unconcerned during light to medium snowfall, same to how they do during rain. They will go about their daily business and eat while traveling to and from their bed. Elk will curl up in their beds and remain there for a time when there is a lot of snow or when there are strong winds around. They normally wake up every so often to brush off the snow but then go back to sleep. A good snowfall can create ideal circumstances for spotting and stalking elk that are bedding or for locating and following recent tracks.

Elk Hunting Considerations: Different Factors

Location: Elk can be found in a range of environments, including forested areas, alpine meadows, and valleys in the desert. They used to dwell across most of the United States and Canada, but since European settlement, they have tended to concentrate in the mountainous areas of western North America.

Solunar Calendar: John Alden Knight postulated in 1926 that animal movement is influenced by the moon’s position and degree of fullness. Before Knight’s idea was published, it was rumored that hunters and fishers employed this theory, which is still extensively used today.

Peak rut season usually begins around the first day of fall and lasts until the first half of October, though elevation and latitude have a little impact.

If you want to bring home a trophy bull from your hunt, now is the finest time of year to do it.

Elk, like many other animals, are most active in the morning and the evening. During the rut, midday hunts might be successful, but if you want to see the most activity, aim for dawn and dark.

Temperature: Because elk can survive extremely cold temperatures, hunting is usually best later in the season. Elk will seek refuge from the heat in woodland areas or shaded hiding places on prolonged hot days. They are compelled by the heat to feed when it is cooler—at night or around twilight.

Elk, like white-tailed deer, are sensitive to changes in barometric pressure. When a storm or cold front is approaching, they become more active due to the lowering air pressure.

Elk are accustomed to sudden and drastic shifts in the weather, but hunters might not be as ready. You may be in the midst of a violent downpour one moment while the skies are clear the next. Make sure you’re ready to endure all types of weather if you want to improve your chances of snagging that prize elk.

Wind: When elk hunting, wind ought to be one of your primary considerations. They have excellent hearing and vision, but their sense of smell is superior. You won’t get much benefit from cover odours when pursuing these animals. To avoid having your scent frighten them, your best strategy is to keep the wind in your face.

Patterns frequently change

There are numerous alternatives for sleeping, traveling, and midnight eating in a particular elk habitat area. They may stick to the same patterns for a while, but they are programmed inside to change them in order to avoid overfeeding and starving a region.

Additionally, in order to escape environmental or other stressors, they will alter a habit or pattern. Elk behavior patterns will need to change as a result of the changing weather and seasons. They will just relocate if necessary to a remote area with viable elk habitat beyond far-off mountain tops.

Elk behavior includes, in varied degrees and places, the following:

1) Secure sleeping areas covered by dense vegetation or a forest during the day, with small patches of food and some water close by.

2) At night in open places with abundant food sources, such as hay fields, big or small meadows, etc.

3) Traveling areas between nocturnal feeding and sleeping places with a few thin trees or patches of undergrowth for cover. Small yet abundant food plots along the route for walking snacks.

During the day, where do elk bedding go?

Elk don’t spend their nights lounging on day beds. Hunt during the day in lodgepole pine or Douglas fir second growth forests. Elk choose to sleep high on north slopes in warm weather where the forest is dense but the breezes keep the flies at bay. Elk prefer to forage in the open, primarily in the morning and evening.

On which slopes do elk breed?

Elk night beds are frequently found on south-facing slopes, frequently in open regions, while day beds are frequently found on north-facing slopes during warm seasons. Day beds can be found on slopes that face south during colder months, whereas night beds are typically on the downwind side of hills.

How can an elk bedded be hunted?

Elk that are asleep and unaware of your approach can be ambushed if you sneak up on them and move very slowly into a shooting position. I like to utilize the nearest tree trunk as a shooting rest when I’m standing. Bedded animals can be challenging to shoot. Ascertain that you have a clear shot through the vitals.

Do elk stay in the same area?

Elk are nocturnal creatures, therefore a bull’s “day” will start in the late afternoon. He will get out of his bed in the dense wood, frequently on a hill to the north. He will slowly make his way through the woods as dusk falls, feeding along the way. The bull will often stay in the shadows while the sun is still up as he makes his way to a drinking well or his preferred meadow to graze for the night.

Bull elk may drink from a seep in a distant canyon, a muddy puddle made by recent rain, streams, rivers, lakes, or water tanks set up for domestic cattle, depending on availability and perceived threat.

Elk will feed and interact with one another all through the night, either remaining in the same meadow all night or lazily moving to another meadow if the whim strikes.

Bull elk will begin moving toward a bedding place as the night transforms into day and the sun rises over the mountain tops, maybe stopping along the way for water. Bull elk frequently select the same general place to nap during the day when not disturbed by hunting pressure or other circumstances.

Up until the rut, both bull and cow elk typically exhibit the behaviors indicated below. The rut has a huge impact on habit change, as we’ll see in the following section.