ALBERTA, CANADA — A new study published this week has a group of researchers now referring to a population of female elk as “virtually bulletproof.”
From tracking the movements of 49 female elk from 2007-2012, researchers at the University of Edmonton found the animals became increasingly aware of hunting locations, depending on the season. At times, the elk would cut through rugged terrain and rest in dense forests to avoid the arrows of hunters targeting them at close range. The wise female elk would also steer clear of open roads and pastures to remain out of plain sight, understanding the preferred scenarios of a rifle user.
The elk also picked up on vehicular traffic trends, figuring out that more cars on the roads likely means more killers on the prowl.
The male bull elks do not fare as well, this is likely due to a lower average intelligence and hunter preference. A female’s lifespan is roughly four times longer than a male elk’s lifespan. The results of this study were published in the journal PLOS ONE on June 14.