2.7 cow elk idle
Cow elk are the female members of an elk herd found within any of the game's designated elk hunting grounds. They emit magenta scent trails. Females can easily be visually identified due to their thinner necks and lack of antlers. They also emit distinctive vocalizations, such as chirps, estrus whines and mews.[1] There are eight females in every herd.


Weaker, sick or old cow elk are more prone to being skittish and flighty in comparison to their male counterparts; stronger or otherwise healthier females will stand their ground when approached, though they too will turn and flee after sustaining enough damage to warrant panic. Their damage output is not particularly strong, though what they lack in strength, they make up for in stamina.

Depending on difficulty, elk of both sexes can run for shorter or longer periods of time on the easiest and hardest difficulties, respectively. When health is running low, she will turn and face the player, fighting back until her last breath.


Almost all prey emit two types of scent plumes.

Large plumes rising into the sky are indicative of the location of a carcass, either from natural world generation or the final resting place of prey that has been hunted and killed by players. These persist until the carcass has been consumed and will only dissipate when its source has been fully depleted.

Small plumes indicate a trail left by prey, serving as a guide which players can follow to find the scent's source. Hunting grounds always generate trails leading to the herd. Ravens, which often fly above the herd, can be used in place of scent tracking.


  • When the herd spawns, all of its members may roam independently away from the territory if players remain within range post-spawn. Cows have often been observed to stay close to the bull.
    • If players wander far enough away, the herd will eventually despawn and the hunting grounds they originated from will reset.


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