Do Elk Like Turnips?

Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter and OutdoorsmanOpens in a new tab..

Elk are browsers and prefer to eat in open fields and meadows where they can find plenty of grass or other feed. Unlike deer, elk don’t make it a habit to eat on shrubs and other forage.

But elk have been known to feed on food plots and agriculture fields, seeking out nutritious plants to supplement their diets. So do elk like turnips?

While turnips are not typically grown to attract elk, they can be a great attractant for elk herds. Elk love to eat turnips when given the opportunity, and once they figure out there are turnips in the area, they will usually return night after night to feed on them.

Turnip fields can be a great place to find large numbers of elk. Whether you are trying to attract elk to your own property or hunt for elk, continue reading to learn more about the feeding habits of elk and why they like to eat turnips. 

Do Elk Like Turnips

What Do Elk Prefer to Eat?

Elk are big animals. They are much larger than deer or antelope and therefore need to eat a lot more food per day. The average bull elk weighs around 700 pounds, so they need plenty of food to keep their large bodies optimized. Because of this, they are constantly eating and are always looking for high-calorie and nutrient-rich foods. 

While the main food source for elk is several types of grass such as bluegrass, mountain bluebells, crazyweed, and alfalfa, elk are willing to eat other plants that taste good and offer more calories. If they can, elk will feed in agricultural fields and food plots. 

Turnips are a favorite amongst many elk for a few reasons. First, they have a sweet and sugary taste that the animals cannot resist. Turnips are also packed with good nutrients elk need, like lots of protein and carbohydrates. When other food sources are scarce, turnips can provide hungry elk with the calories they need in order to survive. 

Along with a lot of food, elk also require large amounts of water on a daily basis. Elk are most likely to be around when ample food and water sources are within close proximity. Elk generally need water every day and can drink up to four gallons. Unlike deer, elk cannot go days on end without water at a reliable source. 

How Much Food An Elk Eats in a Day

We all know that elk are large animals that eat a lot of food, but exactly how much food will elk eat in a day? On average, an elk needs 3 to 4 pounds of food per 100 pounds that they weigh. If you figure that a mature bull elk will weigh 700 to 800 pounds, they will eat an average of 20 to 30 pounds of food per day. 

Cow elk are much smaller but still eat anywhere from 12 to 20 pounds of food daily. When you consider that elk like to travel in large herds, it becomes easy to see how elk can quickly devastate farm fields and food sources if their populations are unchecked.

Many game and fish agencies consider this when allocating tags yearly to help maintain healthy but regulated elk populations. 

What Can You Plant to Attract Elk?

Besides turnips, there are plenty of other plants that you can use to attract elk to a certain area. The key is to provide plants that elk not only like to eat but that are easily accessible and different from the other food sources in your area.

This is also why turnips are such a great idea for food plots, as they do not occur naturally in the wild. 

Other great forage plants for elk include clover, alfalfa, and Utah sweetvetch. These are easy to grow and will very quickly attract nearby deer and elk as the plants begin to grow.

If you do not want to grow and plant plots of a food source like these, you can also provide more natural food sources such as aspen trees, big leaf maple, huckleberry, bear grass, dandelions, and fireweed.

These are all naturally occurring food sources but not extremely common, so the elk are more prone to seek them out. 

What Other Animals Will Eat Turnips?

Elk are not the only animals that will eat turnips when given a chance. Most domesticated animals love eating turnips, and some farmers will raise them to feed their sheep, cattle, horses, rabbits, and turtles. Plenty of wild animals will seek out and eat turnips as well.

When food sources are scarce, deer and wild hogs will seek high-calorie foods like turnips to supplement their diets. Turnips are also hardy plants that can grow well in various conditions, allowing more animals to have access to them during critical times of the year. 

Final Thoughts

Even though elk are herbivores, many people are surprised that elk eat various things (like turnips). If there are any nearby turnips and you are looking for elk, this can be a great place to start looking, as the elk are sure to show up looking for an easy and nutritious meal eventually! 

Steven Lines hunter pic 1

Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. Since he was a child, he has been hunting and fishing and has over 20 years of outdoor experience. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channelOpens in a new tab. dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.


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Hi, I'm Sam! I used to work as a caregiver, and now I'm in medical school. My blog is about helping people get healthier through fun activities like archery, hunting, and powerlifting. If you like one of my articles, please share it with your friends and family so they can be healthy too!

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