Attracting Elk To Your Property (Tips, Facts, and More)

Like many people, you have likely admired the beauty and serenity of elk in nature. If you want to see this animal up close, you may be hoping to lure one into your property to be closer to elk.

Elk are easy to attract to your property if your property feels safe and has lots of foraging plants, like grasses. However, it may not be ideal to bring elk to your property because elk can bring disease, mess, and more to your home.

Are you still curious to learn more about how you can attract an elk? Join us at Floofmania as we learn about how to lure elk, what elk like to eat, and if it is a good idea to attract elk!

How Do You Encourage Elk Into Your Garden?

The most efficient way to encourage elk to enter your garden is to have lots of forage plants for them to eat. That way, they will be enticed to return to our garden if they consider your garden to be a safe food source.

What Plants Attract Elk?

Elk eating outstrewn hay on the forest floor.

Grass is one of the best plants that you can have to attract elk. Elks are primarily grazing animals, but they can also eat fruit, bark, etc.

During the colder fall and winter months, elk will not be very picky about grass. However, you want to offer better grass during summer because grasses will be abundant. Some examples of grass that elk love are:

  • Wheatgrass
  • Bluegrass
  • Bromegrass
  • Fescue
  • Bunchgrass

Elk are also fans of various other plants like weeds and flowers like:

  • Rocky Mountain iris
  • Sticky geranium
  • Pokeweed fleece flower
  • Fireweed
  • Silky lupine 
  • Yellow hair crazyweed
  • American licorice

How To Feed Wild Elk

Typically, you cannot go up to a wild elk and try to give it food. The elk will likely run away the second you start walking towards them because you are an unfamiliar sight.

Do not try to throw any food toward the elk either. The elk may assume that you are attacking it, which can make it flee or even attack you!

As such, it would be best to just leave food for the elk for them to eat if they find it. You can plant foraging plants in your garden to allow elk to graze whenever they want.

Do Salt Licks And Mineral Blocks Attract Elk?

Mineral blocks and salt licks are great ways to attract elk because the minerals in them keep elk healthy. A few benefits they get from licking salt licks or mineral blocks are:

  • Grow antlers
  • Recover from harsh winters
  • Keeps their coat healthy
  • Improve digestion

You can hang a few mineral blocks and salt licks throughout your garden. If an elk spots it while passing by, they will probably walk over and hang out in your garden to fill up on minerals!

Make A Secure Environment For Elk

The most important step to attracting elk to your property is to make the environment secure for them. If elk feel like they are safe in your yard, they will be more likely to enter it and return.

Typically, this will mean that you need to get anything potentially threatening out of your yard. For example, wind chimes can startle elk, so you will have to remove your wind chimes. 

Dogs can also bark at elk and scare them. You will want to keep your dogs inside your house and keep them from barking at the elk in your yard.

You can learn more about what environments make elk feel safe in our article, “The Elk’s Habitat.”

Attracting Elk Could Be A Bad Idea

Attracting elk may seem like fun, but it may not always be a good idea. Having elk become frequent visitors to your garden can cause many issues, such as:

Elk Can Carry Disease

Elk carry potentially dangerous diseases that can harm humans and other animals. For instance, elk could carry ticks that have Lyme disease, which could affect you and your pets.

Elk Also Have To Poop

Elk are wild animals that have no idea where they should go to defecate. As such, your property can be covered in elk droppings, which can be both troublesome, unsanitary, and potentially dangerous to your health.

Elk May Develop Dependency on Humans

One of the biggest reasons it is a bad idea to bring elk to your property is that they can become dependent on humans.

Elk are meant to be independent animals that rely on themselves and other elk in their herd. They will forage for their own food even if they are already tired and hungry.

When food is easily given to them by humans, they will grow too lazy to forage, themselves, and rely on you to be the sole provider of their food.

More importantly, this can put the elk in dangerous situations in the future. For instance, they may think all humans are good because you gave them food and shelter. They may approach the wrong people expecting food due to their dependency on you.

Attracting Elk May Upset Neighbors

Your neighbors may not share the same enthusiasm as you do for elk being on their property. Some neighbors may try to interfere and report you for trying to capture or disturb wildlife. 

Even if you are merely trying to have elk visit your yard and you do not want to keep them, it may be easy for others to misunderstand the situation. You may get accused of having a potentially dangerous animal near your neighbor’s property. 

How Do I Find Elk In The Wild?

Cow and bull elk standing on grass field in front of tree with a snowclad mojntainside in the background.

If you decided that you do not want to bring elk into your yard but still want to see one, you can look for elk in the wild. Given that elk are native to most of North America, you can look for signs of elk herds being nearby.

What To Look For To Find Elk:

There are a few hints that elks leave when they have recently been somewhere, which include:

  • Elk tracks
  • Fresh, green, wet poop on dry ground
  • Ragged ends on grass (from elk teeth bites)
  • Bite marks on tree trunks 3-5 feet above the ground

If you see wet poop on dry ground, that is the best sign that you are near an elk because the poop would dry quickly on dry ground.

Is It Rare To See A Elk?

If you live in a state like Colorado where there are many elk, it is not rare to see an elk. You may be able to spot one along a hiking trail, forest, etc. Wild elk live all over North America, but in some places, they are less common, however.

It is important to note that elk can be elusive creatures. They may start running if they see you so you may never catch them!

Can You Attract Elk With A Call?

It is possible to use calls to attract elk. Most of these calls will mimic a male or female elk to attract the opposite gender to the call.

You can hear what a call for elk sounds like by watching this video!

You can learn more about why these calls would attract elk and other facts about elk’s social behavior in our article, “What is the Elk’s Social Behavior?”.

Author: Allison Marie Dinglasan

Hello! I am Allison, an avid writer for 6 years with a deep interest in animals since I was a child. I grew up on Animal Planet and animal books and often did rescue work for stray and sickly cats, dogs, and birds in my area, which led to over 60 rescues. My future goal is to be a veterinarian to have a more hands-on approach to helping and learning about animals!

Leave a Comment