Players can locate elk by their scent trail while in scent vision, toggled by pressing the V key. Cow elk are represented by a magenta trail, while bull elk are represented by a hot pink scent trail. Interestingly, both bull and cow elk carcasses are represented by a megenta plume. A herd typically consists of one male and 6-8 females.
Bull elk are far tougher than their female counterpart. They are quicker to turn around and face the player in order to fight back if provoked while a cow elk will only fight back before she is killed, making them much more difficult to bring down in comparison.
Cow elk are ideal targets for between 1-3 players largely because they give little fight for a decent meal. There is little need for a strength boosting rally nor scavenging, though both are helpful and completely optional.
- Main article: Carcass (2.5)
Scattered throughout the map, players will find numerous elk carcasses. These provide an excellent source of quick health recovery. They may be scavenged and eaten autonomously by Grizzlies, wolves and coyotes.
Multiple carcasses will spawn throughout the map when the game begins to ensure the survival of the player and their pack. Those which spawn naturally are always cow carcasses. Bull carcasses are never generated naturally, only ever appearing when the player or a group of players have successfully hunted and killed a bull elk. Elk carcasses have varying stages to determine how fresh or old the carcass is.
Elk can be located in any elk hunting grounds displayed on the map. These are marked on the map by a transparent orange circle, while the compass indicates it by means of a white bull elk icon. As soon as the player enters elk hunting grounds, a sound will play and the compass will indicate the player as being in elk territory. Using scent vision, you must find the herd's trail before you can follow it and begin your hunt.
Elk calves do not currently exist in WolfQuest. They were a possible idea for version 2.5.1, but the idea was set aside in favor of weather, time and resting which were instead implimented as the winning entries. Perhaps a future version may see the introduction for elk calves, however there is no guarantee whether or not baby animals (besides the player's pups) will be introduced in WolfQuest in the near future.
There are two plume types: large plumes and small plumes. Larger plumes indicate the location of an elk carcass. They will always be shown over any dead elk, including those that were killed by the player / a group of players / the player and their mate.
Smaller plumes indicate the trail of the herd; following it has a chance of leading you directly to it though there's the small chance of the trail being false and taking you through elk territory and out the other side. Entering elk territory does not always guarantee you'll be following the correct trail 100% of the time.
Hunting elk is a moderately difficult task to do solo. The chances of dying increase especially if hunting without a |mateSP only or a packMP only to assist, more so than usual without replenishing health from any nearby carcasses or by hunting minor prey such as hare to sustain your health.
In single player, it's possible to hunt elk with a mate after completion of Amethyst Mountain by entering elk territory and locating the herd; your mate will autonomously assist during the hunt, but only if you attack the targeted elk first.
In multiplayer, players can establish a group of up to no more than five and hunt elk herds. For a larger group of players, taking down a bull elk is still a dangerous task, though less daunting when combined with the strength boost given from a successful rally.
Stats do play a role in surviving an elk hunt and are useful to help aid the player's pack throughout the duration of any hunt. A useful tactic before starting a hunt would be to observe the elk herd and find the weakest member(s) - as with real wolf pack hunting techniques, this will help to conserve energy and make hunting quicker and easier for all members involved.It may be easier to try to flank the elk, which means bite its sides or rear. Biting the neck risks injury.
Guides & Strategies
- Main article: Elk hunting grounds (2.5)/Strategies
- During the teaser video for Amethyst Mountain, wolves are seen snarling/growling at the cow elk they have surrounded. However, this interaction does not exist in-game and cannot be performed by players. This was most likely cut from the final game or removed for reasons unknown.
- Similarly, the cow elk is shown as standing perfectly still when threatened; this does not happen in game. An elk will only stand perfectly still while it is grazing, when observed at a safe distance.
- Additionally, a cow elk is seen kicking away a wolf; although cow elk can kick at players in-game, players cannot jump at elk in such a manner.
- Elk herds have been observed to behave differently at varying times of day and under certain weather conditions, notably while raining or snowing.
- Cow elk never stray far from elk hunting grounds unless they have been chased far enough away from the herd.
- All elk will attempt to retrace their steps back to the territory from which they were chased if the hunt is abandoned.
- While possible in-game, in reality, one adult wolf cannot successfully hunt and kill an adult elk on its own without risking serious consequences such as injury or death. Hunting large prey as a team is less dangerous than hunting solo -- if prey stands its ground and doesn't flee, wolves will soon lose interest and move on. A pack will typically hunt weak, old or sick elk or those unlucky enough to get caught.
- Predators other than the player or their mate will not attack prey animals regardless of how close they are.
- Like most other living creatures, real elk do emit vocal sounds. Bizarrely, these sounds are not present in 2.5 and older; only their footfall can be heard.