Is a Spike Elk a 'Real' bull?

Tmac

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A spike is my fav to eat, almost guarantees a tender young elk. By definition a spike is a bull biologically, it‘s his small bull antlers that get him called a spike. I happily shoot and eat cows, bulls and spikes, where legal, as the mood or freezer state strikes me. If that is not your cup of tea, fine, but I’ll proudly shoot any elk I choose, where legal. A legal elk is honorable.
 

Randle

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Why is this a question? if its got the plumbing it's a bull, ,
A say call it it a spike bull just to annoy people
 
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Idaho4x4Bronco

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Interestingly enough, reading these recent threads about harvesting big bulls reminded me of the day I learned something.

My first elk is my avatar, 6x7 very very veryyyy well earned and deserved IMO. I was so happy, I bragged about it, smiled the entire pack out, I even left the antlers in my truck for a week to show off. Over the moon excited, and when I asked my old man who's never shot a big bull why he has never held out for a herd bull, he replied.. "Just lucky I guess"

After cooking and eating that herd bull, I understand what he meant. Told my dumb ass I'd never do that again, shot a 5x5 for my second elk to remind myself to listen to dad.

Spikes and cows are great to harvest, call them whatever ya want. I call them delicious.
 

Indian Summer

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I never shot a spike. But I shot one old lead cow, one young cow and one calf. Young bulls and old ones. I don’t really think the young elk are any better eating than the older ones. Properly cared for and cooked they were all tender through all of the cuts. I can remember one 5 point bull being tough. And it’s hard to believe but the worst was the calf. Tougher than nails. The most tender was the old lead cow. Deli

For that reason it’s still up in the air to me what makes one elk different than another when they were all living in the mountains in the same areas.

One thing that sticks out in my mind is it seems like the elk that die in the blink of an eye are better than ones that took awhile to tip over and maybe run a little way.
 

ScottR_EHJ

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All about perspective I think. Personally I like to let them live at this point in my hunting “career” but there are certainly many first time hunters who feel like they just shot a 350 when it happens.
 

5MilesBack

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I'm pretty sure we're supposed to give them a few years to allow them to decide what they are.

In my 40 years of elk hunting I just haven't seen many spikes at all........definitely less than 10 and probably more than 5. The dumbest elk I've experienced are raghorns. They're like a puppy dog wanting to play.
 

Laelkhunter

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Where I hunt, my license is for Mature Bull or antlerless (cow). A spike isn't legal unless your license is an "Any Elk" license. I would definitely shoot a spike if allowed before shooting a cow if allowed. However, I have never shot a spike, but have killed two cows. The closest "live" elk I have been near was a spike. The herd was running from a hunter who was busting brush, and they ran right past me. I was standing next to a large sage brush and the spike stopped no more than 10 feet from me to look at his back trail. He never saw me, and apparently never scented me, because he just trotted away to catch up with the rest of the herd. I felt like I could almost reach out and touch him. He was not legal to take, and I ended up with tag soup that year, but it was exciting being that close to a "Baby" Bull.
 

trophyhill

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I had a spike come running in to a cow call and stop at 10 yards in 2017. No cover in between us. He barked, then I’d bark. This went back and forth until I had enough and stood from a kneeling position. Then he took off. I grunted 6 bulls in on that hunt. That’s the hunt where I really learned the value of the nervous grunt other than just using that sound to stop them.
 

hobbes

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I occasionally rifle hunt in a nice wall tent camp that's in a district here in MT that a spike is the only thing legal unless you're fortunate enough to draw a cow license or the Holy Grail....a "bull permit". I've almost always been leading my son around who could shoot a cow at the time.

The oldest fellow from the group has been setting up camp there since the 50s with his dad back when they could still shoot any bull. He's no longer able to be brought into camp. It's an aging group and I've helped drag several spikes out for them. I think that's why they like me to come.

They just refer to them as spikes but you can be sure that they are happy as heck to kill one. It's actually pretty fun to see how excited they are to be back in camp hunting spikes.
 
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cnelk

cnelk

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Spikes are definitely great table fare, - Ive always enjoyed the ones I killed when it was legal in OTC areas. I also felt fortunate to fill my tag with a spike.

BUT.... when someone tells me they killed a 'Bull' and show me a pic of a spike, I tell them NO, they shot a 'spiker' - def not a 'Bull' - at least IMO.

Carry on :)
 

Sunbkpk

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They are sometimes called unicorns here in central Washington as they seem to be as rare when they are all you can hunt with a general tag. Of course it was a nice 6x6 that I had close bugling and raking. Cool experience though. I haven't seen a spike in the last 6 to 7 years.
 

5MilesBack

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BUT.... when someone tells me they killed a 'Bull' and show me a pic of a spike, I tell them NO, they shot a 'spiker' - def not a 'Bull' - at least IMO.
That's like "spike - young boy, raghorn - teenager, bull - man". They're all males (unless they're taking hormone blockers apparently), but they're not all men.
 

LostArra

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May 9, 2013
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Oklahoma
This is how I score elk.

Elk intelligence? Every elk I kill it had to be stupid or have nasal congestion just by the fact I was able to get an arrow in it.
3e1ffc1e63535b80199e31a72985f7c8.jpg


Sent from my Nokia 7.2 using Tapatalk
 

mavinwa2

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Sep 11, 2018
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Res WA, winter Gilbert AZ , NR>AZ, UT, NM, CO.
some of you all are spoiled in other western states.

the old days of bull elk hunting in eastern WA State are long gone.
my GMU has been Rifle/general spike bull only for many years, since 1992/93 thereabouts. Branched antler bulls or cows has to be via drawn permit, in a bonus point (pure lottery) system. In 2020 rifle, there were only 7 bull permits available and over 900 applicants.

So I'm happy to take a spike bull in general, and be out elk hunting. At least my GMU is not True Spike Only, where both antler sides need to only be a spike, no eyeguards, no other points.
GMU I hunt for over 50 years, One side needs to be spike.
Taken several 1x2, 1x3 spike bulls over the years.

Hunt/camp partner once took a spike bull that had velvet antlers of 6" long. We called it "4 ears bull calf". Legal by regs...at least it had balls.
 
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