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Do Elk Like Apples? 🍎

Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter, and OutdoorsmanOpens in a new tab..

Elk are often very tough animals to hunt, but luring them in closer can be done by using some of their favorite foods. This leads many people to wonder, do elk like apples?

Elk, similar to deer, love to eat apples. They will eat almost any sweet fruits, and hunters can use this to their advantage. Where it is legal, apples can be used to attract elk to a specific location of your choosing. 

Finding what elk prefer to eat can be a great way to predict their movements and draw them into an area. Here’s how you can use apples to provide the local elk with a tasty snack and attract them to you. 

do elk like apples

Will Elk Eat Apples and Other Fruits?

Elk are very similar to deer in that they are not very picky eaters. In fact, if elk are given the opportunity, they will eat a wide variety of different fruits and vegetables (like carrots). Among these, apples are one of their favorites. 

Elk love the sweet taste and high-calorie count that apples and other fruits can provide. Even overripe apples and those that have fallen off of the tree are fair game to roaming elk that are looking for a quick and easy meal. 

Wild elk that live deep in the mountains, however, may be nervous and hesitant to eat apples when they are first introduced to them. But as they are introduced to apples and begin to view them as a viable food source, they will acquire a taste for them. 

What Other Fruit Will Elk Eat?

In addition to apples, elk will also eat a variety of different fruits. While apples could be considered the favorite, elk also love to eat peaches, strawberries, raspberries, and pears. If other animals, such as deer or squirrels, are eating the fruit, there is a high chance that elk will also want to eat them too. 

Many orchards that are located near prime elk habitats will often report large numbers of elk coming to look for apples, pears, and peaches to eat. These elk do not solely rely on fruits, but they provide a nice supplement to their usual diet of grass and shrubs.

How to Use Apples to Hunt Elk

In order to effectively use apples to attract elk, you must follow a few steps. First and before anything else, ensure that baiting is legal where you intend to hunt elk. If it is, you must still abide by the local laws and regulations of where you are hunting.

In order to use apples, it is best to find a spot to place them that is open and flat. This will make them easier to see, smell, and eventually find for the elk. This will also allow them to be in an ideal spot for you to get a shot with your bow or rifle when they come in to eat the apples. 

Not just any flat, open area will work, however. There must be a good population of elk in the area or even an excessive amount of apples or other bait will not attract elk. 

Is It Legal to Bait Elk With Apples?

Although elk love to eat apples and other food, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can use them to hunt with. In fact, there are only two western states that currently allow apples and other food sources to be used as bait during hunting season. 

In most states where elk naturally reside, bait cannot be used to attract elk. This is mostly due to the wildlife agencies not wanting to introduce non-native food sources such as apples to the native landscape. It can also produce wildlife that becomes reliant on these bait sources and is not able to locate food themselves. 

In other states where elk are not native, such as Texas, there are much fewer restrictions on baits and their applications. Baiting laws are also constantly changing from state to state, so it is very important that you are up to date with the laws of where you will be hunting. 

This is why it is crucial to do your research before your hunt and know all of the applicable laws and regulations for the state and area that you will be hunting. The last thing that you want to do is illegally bait and kill an elk in an area where apples cannot be used. 

States Where Apples Can Be Used As Bait

As of right now, there are currently only two western states that allow apples to be used as bait for elk during hunting season. These two states are Oregon and Washington. Oregon does not currently have any laws that prohibit apples from being used as bait, although there are rumors of them working on some as we speak.

Washington limits the amount of bait that you can use to 10 gallons. This applies to fruits, such as apples, as well. To learn more about Oregon’s baiting laws, you can visit their wildlife agency’s website at in a new tab.. To view the baiting laws of Washington, their state wildlife agency, can be found at in a new tab.

Other states, such as New Mexico, allow you to place bait throughout the year to observe and view attracted wildlife. But once the hunting season rolls around, you must remove all of the bait at least 10 days before opening day. With things like apples, this doesn’t help a lot since they generally need to be fresh in order to attract elk best. 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to baiting elk, there are few things as effective as apples. Elk love to eat apples and will consume them at any chance that they get. Although apples are not legal to use in most states where elk reside, they can be a great option if you are hunting in a location where baiting is legal.

So do elk like apples? They love them, and now you hopefully have the knowledge you need to use these fruits to your advantage. 

Steven Lines hunter pic 1

Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. Since he was a child, he has been hunting and fishing and has over 20 years of outdoor experience. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channelOpens in a new tab. dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.


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Hi, I'm Sam! I used to work as a caregiver, and now I'm in medical school. My blog is about helping people get healthier through fun activities like archery, hunting, and powerlifting. If you like one of my articles, please share it with your friends and family so they can be healthy too!

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