To anyone who still thinks that animals are not smart, get ready to be proven wrong once again: Research shows that older female Elks have developed unique ways to avoid being poached.

Hide and seek

A 2017 research paper by Henrik Thurfjell from the University of Alberta found that over time, female Elks are getting better at hiding from hunters during hunting season.

The research suggests that learning the hunter’s behavioral patterns, aside from relying on natural selection, contributes to an Elk’s evasiveness over time.

By the time the Elks are ten years old, they have become masters of hide and seek.

Weapons experts

The research also revealed that Elks can figure out what weapons hunters use.

For instance, Elks will move to a dense area in the forest when the hunter uses a bow. This is because the hunter needs to get nearer to capture them, and Elks have observed this behavior and are therefore able to act accordingly.

On the other hand, if a hunter uses a gun, the Elk will stay away from the roads while also trying to move less frequently. They tend to stay in densely forested areas to avoid being detected by the gunned hunter.

Masters of evasion

To conduct this study, researchers put trackers on 49 Elks and monitored their movement during a six-year period.

They found out that young Elks tend to follow the old Elks’ examples in avoiding hunters.

The Elks’ adaptability is what enabled them to live up to ten years in the wild, despite being around predators. And it is because of this adaptability that these animals continue to thrive.