Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter and Outdoorsman.
Elk love to eat a wide variety of things, including some interesting plants, vegetables, and fruits. They are opportunistic eaters and love to munch on anything that tastes sweet or brings them a lot of nutrients. This leaves many people to wonder, do elk like bananas?
Although elk rarely come across opportunities to eat fruits like bananas, they will gladly eat a banana given a chance. Elk love to eat a wide variety of fruit, as the natural sugars taste great and provide them with much-needed energy.
Because of how popular various fruits are as bait for animals like deer, many wonder if the same can be used for elk hunting, continue reading to learn more about the special diet of elk and how you can use bananas to increase your odds of filling your next elk tag.
Will an Elk Eat a Banana?
Elk are herbivores, meaning that they eat plants, twigs, shrubs, and berries that they come across in the mountains that they call home. Elk, however, might not automatically eat a banana because it is not a part of their usual diet, and they are not accustomed to it. In fact, besides the occasional batch of berries, elk do not eat that much fruit.
If there is nearby fruit, elk will take advantage of the opportunity. Because fruits like bananas, apples, and pears contain natural sugars, they taste great and provide plenty of energy for the elk as they eat them. So while bananas are not a usual part of an elk’s diet, they will eat them if they try them and are given the opportunity to eat them.
Can You Use Bananas as Bait for Elk?
Baiting elk is a complicated subject. In most places and states, it is illegal to use anything to feed or otherwise attract elk in order to hunt them. While deer can be baited in many states, elk do not inhabit many of the same places that deer do and are not found in the same numbers. In order to make the hunting fair, most states outlaw the use of bait during elk season.
But, if you do reside in one of the few areas or states that do allow the bait to be used for elk, bananas can be a great option. Because bananas are very sweet and contain plenty of nutrients, elk will be attracted to an area due to their smell and will love to eat them.
While there are definitely better options that you can use that will not cost as much and do a better job of attracting and feeding elk, bananas can definitely be used in a pinch.
Elk Diets and Favorite Foods
Fruits such as bananas or apples do not make up a normal portion of an elk’s diet. Elk will primarily feed upon various types of grass, shrubs, twigs, and leaves that are found in their natural habitats. Because elk are such large animals, they need at least several pounds of feed per day in order to survive and support their large bodies.
Although elk love to eat natural foods, they will eat fruits, vegetables, and other crops when they have the opportunity to do so. An elk’s favorite includes things such as alfalfa, corn, barley, and turnips. Elk will, of course, eat other crops that they come across, especially if the plants offer them a chance to get quick and easy nutrients during a time of year when other food sources are scarce.
Are Bananas Harmful to Elk?
There are some plants and fruits that can be harmful to ungulates, such as elk. Fortunately, bananas are perfectly safe to eat for elk, deer, or other wild ungulates that might be hungry. For example, too much alfalfa or corn can cause an elk to suffer internal damage due to the nature of the food. Too much alfalfa can cause bloating in their stomachs, leading to intestine failure and even death.
But foods such as bananas or apples, in moderate portions, are not harmful to elk in any way. In fact, they can be a great way to supplement an elk’s diet and provide them with a quick and tasty treat.
States That Allow Baiting for Elk
There are currently two states in the western portion of the country where elk naturally reside that allow baiting for elk. These states are Washington and Oregon. In both of these states, different substances are allowed to be used to attract and hunt elk. Bananas are included in this category and can be used as bait in either state.
In other states where elk are non-native (such as Texas), the baiting laws are very different than in states where elk reside naturally. In Texas, you are allowed to bait for elk because they are considered a non-native species.
If you intend to use bananas as bait for elk, you first need to do your homework and know all of the corresponding rules and regulations. To view baiting regulations for the state of Washington, you can visit their website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/, and for the state of Oregon, you can visit the website at https://www.dfw.state.or.us/.
If you are hunting outside of Oregon or Washington, it is very important that you do your research and know the laws regarding baiting. The last thing that you want to do is illegally use food such as bananas to attract elk and run into legal issues that can ruin not only your hunt but your future hunts as well.
Elk are interesting animals that will surprisingly eat a wide variety of different foods. This includes fruits such as bananas. While bananas might not be the best option for baiting elk, they can certainly be used to bait and attract them in areas where baiting is allowed. So if you need a sweet treat to attract more elk, bananas might be just the ticket that you are looking for.
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 channel dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.