A hunter in Montana recently captured footage of one of the most amazing outdoor experiences you will ever see. One of the best parts of hunting is that you are able to experience nature in a way that other recreation activities can’t compare to. Instead of just observing ecosystems, you actually participate. Immersing yourself in the forest with camouflage also allows you to witness the natural world through an undisturbed lens. This hunter was able to immerse himself in the woods so deeply that he was able to have a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with a giant bull elk.
The video was originally shared by trevor_herzog35 on Instagram but also reposted by Field and Stream. The video shows the hunter concealed behind a clump of trees wedged between a rock outcrop along a game trail. Then a sturdy-looking 6×6 bull elk comes ambling up the side of the mountain right toward him. It appears he could have had a shot at the bull if he wanted, but never let an arrow fly for whatever reason. Even so, the adrenaline rush of what happens next might have got his heart pumping harder than if he takes the shot.
The elk walks right up to him, curiously leans in, and takes a big sniff. The elk then abruptly realizes that the clump of trees he just smelled actually also includes a human. The alarm bells go off and the elk takes off running. It appears the hunter who recorded the video is wearing Sitka Gear, and if this video isn’t an endorsement of the effectiveness of their camo patterns I don’t know what is.
How Elk See, Hear, And Smell
Elk see the world very differently than people do. According to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the major difference is that animals like elk have eyes on the side of their head instead of the front like humans do. That means elk have a much wider field of vision which allows them to see their surroundings through a very broad scope. But that also means that they have a tougher time seeing things right in front of their face than humans do. Since elk comparatively see a bigger picture than people do, they also tend to view things with a lower density of focus than humans. That means camouflage patterns are even more effective when it comes to hiding from elk compared to how people detect camo.
Like many wild animals, elk rely heavily on their sense of smell and hearing to monitor the environment around them and detect predators. Though store-bought products can help hunters conceal their scent, the most important factor is the wind. In this video, the hunter appears to be above the elk and very likely downwind from it, which is why the elk never catches a whiff of him until the very last second. The hunter also does a great job of limiting his movement and remaining silent. All of those factors combined allowed him to remain undetected by the elk’s natural radar systems, and the result was one epic video.