Do Elk Eat Apples? (Explained)

Last updated on October 10th, 2022

Recently, I came across a person talking who had recently returned from an elk hunting trip.

The details of his hunt did not interest me, but one of the details that struck me was that the hunters sometimes used bait to lure the elks out.

Usually, shelled corn is the preferred bait, but some hunters use fruits like apples and berries to lure the creatures. It intrigued me because I never thought that elks eat apples. 

Elks do eat apples since they are opportunistic feeders, however, they are known for eating the apples that fall off the tree because these are easily available.

Do apples attract elk?

Apples can be used to attract elks because they are drawn to the smell and sweetness of the fruit which is why fruit trees act as magnets to these creatures.

If elks approach an area where there are lots of apples, they’ll probably stay interested in them for longer than other foods.

Do elk like apples?

Elks usually eat grass, twigs, and the bark of trees. They will also depend on foliage to meet their dietary requirements.

But in the wild, if they come across fruits like apples, a family of elks will eat the fruit with absolute joy.

The primary reason for this is the sweet and sugary taste of apples is like a delicious snack for the elks.

Unfortunately, apples are seasonal fruits, and it is difficult for the elks to come across the fruit in the wild.

But sometimes apples fall off the branches of trees of neighborhood orchards, and the elks can pick them up from the ground to consume.

elk eating in forest 16082022

Can baby elks eat apples?

Sometimes elks are bred for their meat, or even if they are kept in the zoo, it is essential to take care of the baby elks.

There are indeed several videos online of elk calves eating apples.

But when they are bred in captivity, you first need to remember that you need to get the baby elks used to the taste of apples.

You should also cut the apple into small pieces so the elk calves can quickly eat these.

Moreover, it is also a good idea to give the elk calves apples in moderate amounts because of the sugar content of the fruit.

Hyperactive elk calves are difficult to control on a reservation, zoo, or ranch.

It is also important to remove the apple seeds before giving them to the elk calves as the seeds can be more dangerous to the younger elks than the adults.

Can you feed apples to wild elks?

When you plan to feed wild elks, it is best to choose food like hay pellets, alfalfa sprouts, and other similar fodder.

If you give apples to the elks, it might not be sufficient to meet the dietary requirements of the creature.

Along with that, apples aren’t a part of the regular diet of wild elks so they can only be an occasional treat.

Hence, if you plan to feed wild elks, it is best to avoid apples and give them food that the creature would associate with easily.

Are elks that are bred in captivity given apples?

If you have recently visited a zoo during feeding time, they are often given fruits along with their regular supply of foliage, grass, and hay.

But by giving them fruits like apples and berries, you can ensure they have their necessary supply of calcium, vitamins, and minerals.

What is the most important thing to remember while giving apples to elks bred in captivity?

Apples can be an excellent snack for elks bred in captivity.

Whether they are being bred for their meat or being kept in a zoo, you will find that elks are given a variety of fruits to help them build strong bones and robust immune systems.

But when giving apples or any fruit to captive elks, you must ensure that these are entirely organic.

In addition, there should not be any trace amount of pesticide or insecticide in the fruits, especially apples, as it can prove to be dangerous for the elks.

Is there any precaution you need to take while giving apples to elks?

In the wild, the creature will consume the fruit whole.

However, if you are breeding elks or the elks are being kept on reservations or in a zoo, then you should remove the seeds from the apples before giving the fruit to the creature.

The primary reason is that apple seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide, which can harm the elks.

In addition, their digestive system might not function the same way as in the wild.

Can elks prove to be dangerous to apple orchards?

People living in North America, especially the mountainous regions, often mention that elk attacks have damaged the plants in their gardens or the trees in their orchards.

An elk attack can be dangerous as the creature can consume nearly three pounds of leaves in a day and wreck a tree.

To remove the fruit from the branch, they will destroy the branch and the leaves if they can reach the fruit.

Which apple trees are most likely to be destroyed by elk attacks?

Orchard owners who have dwarf apple trees often mention that elks can prove to be dangerous pests as they can destroy the plantation and the harvest.

However, in the case of dwarf apple trees, the elks do not have to wait for the fruit to fall to the ground.

Instead, they can also reach the fruit from the branches and sometimes destroy the tree.

Can elks harm taller apple trees?

In the case of taller trees, the animal cannot reach the branches but can harm the tree’s bark with its antler.

Thus, in some cases, elks can be dangerous to apple orchards.

Can farmers take any precautions to protect the apple trees from elk attacks?

Orchard owners often build fences around the trees to protect them from elk attacks. They also put up lights and sound systems to frighten the elks.

Without adequate protection, elks can reduce an apple harvest significantly.

There are quite a few more animals that eat apples, and you can read more about them over there.

In Summary

Because they are opportunistic feeders, elk will eat apples, but they prefer the apples that fell off the tree because they are easier to obtain.

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