The Most Difficult Animal to Hunt: Uncovering the Elusive Prey

Choose the animal you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Sep 27, 2023 06:24
Are you an avid hunter or just curious about the world of hunting? We've got a challenge for you! Welcome to StrawPoll, where we're ranking the most difficult animals to hunt. From the elusive and cunning mountain lions to the formidable Cape buffalo, we've got them all. With thousands of polls and rankings on various topics, we're sure you'll find this one fascinating. So, are you ready to dive into the wild and test your hunting knowledge? Cast your vote for the most challenging prey, or suggest a missing option that deserves a spot on our list! Join the hunt now and be a part of this thrilling debate on StrawPoll!

What Is the Most Difficult Animal to Hunt? (October 2023)

  1. 1
    Snow leopards are elusive and live in high altitude regions making it very difficult to track them down. They are also considered endangered species, and hunting them is illegal.
    The Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is a large, elusive feline species native to the mountainous regions of Central and South Asia. It is known for its majestic beauty and adapted features that enable it to thrive in the harsh and cold environments it inhabits.
    • Conservation Status: Endangered
    • Habitat: Rocky mountainous areas
    • Size: Head and body length: 90-130 cm (35-51 in), Tail length: 80-105 cm (31-41 in)
    • Weight: Male: 25-55 kg (55-121 lb), Female: 22-41 kg (48-90 lb)
    • Fur: Long, thick, and pale gray with rosette-like dark spots and rings
    Snow leopard in other rankings
  2. 2
    Grizzly bears are known to be very aggressive and can take down their hunters if they are not careful enough. They are also very difficult to spot in the wild due to their brown fur that blends in with the surroundings.
    The Grizzly bear is a large and formidable species of bear primarily found in North America. It is well-known for its size, strength, and aggressive nature. It is considered one of the most difficult animals to hunt due to its physical abilities and sharp senses.
    • Size: Adult males typically weigh between 400-1,000 kg (880-2,200 lbs) and measure 1.8-3 meters (6-10 ft) in length.
    • Strength: Grizzly bears are incredibly strong, capable of lifting objects weighing over 500 kg (1,100 lbs).
    • Aggression: When provoked or feeling threatened, Grizzly bears can display highly aggressive behavior.
    • Speed: Grizzlies can reach speeds of up to 56 km/h (35 mph) in short bursts.
    • Diet: Their diet consists mainly of vegetation, berries, nuts, fish, and occasionally larger mammals, making them highly adaptable predators.
    Grizzly bear in other rankings
  3. 3
    Elephants are known to be one of the largest land animals, making them difficult to take down. They are also highly intelligent and have a strong sense of smell, which makes it hard to sneak up on them.
    The African elephant is the largest land animal on Earth, characterized by its massive size, long trunk, and iconic tusks. It is known for its intelligence, social behavior, and powerful presence. This majestic creature is primarily found in savannas, forests, and grasslands across various countries in Africa.
    • Scientific Name: Loxodonta africana (African bush elephant) and Loxodonta cyclotis (African forest elephant)
    • Size: Males: Up to 13 feet (4 meters) tall and can weigh up to 14,000 pounds (6,350 kilograms); Females: Slightly smaller than males
    • Trunk Length: Can reach up to 7 feet (2.1 meters)
    • Tusks: Long, curved ivory tusks that can grow up to 10 feet (3 meters) long in males
    • Lifespan: Usually 60 to 70 years in the wild (can live up to 80 years or more)
    African elephant in other rankings
  4. 4
    Mountain goat
    Gadfium · CC0
    Mountain goats are known to live in high elevations, making it difficult to track them down. They are also very agile and can climb steep cliffs and rocky terrain with ease.
    The Mountain goat is a robust and agile hoofed mammal primarily found in North America. It has evolved to thrive in mountainous terrains, with its remarkable climbing and leaping abilities. The Mountain goat is known for its striking appearance and surefootedness on steep, rocky slopes.
    • Scientific Name: Oreamnos americanus
    • Size: 1.5 to 1.8 meters (5 to 6 feet) in length
    • Weight: 45 to 140 kilograms (100 to 310 pounds)
    • Coat Color: White or light gray in summer; thicker and darker in winter
    • Horns: Both males (billies) and females (nannies) have crescent-shaped horns, which can grow up to 30 centimeters (12 inches) long
  5. 5
    Cape buffalo
    AnonymousUnknown author · Public domain
    Cape buffalos are known to be very aggressive and have a strong herd instinct. They are also very tough and can withstand multiple shots before they go down.
    The Cape buffalo, also known as the African buffalo, is a large and formidable bovine species native to Africa. It possesses a robust body with a distinctive shoulder hump and massive horns, making it one of the most challenging and dangerous animals to hunt on the African continent.
    • Scientific Name: Syncerus caffer
    • Size: Shoulder height: 1.0-1.7 meters, Length: 1.7-3.4 meters, Weight: 500-900 kilograms
    • Horns: Massive, curving backwards, fused at the base forming a continuous shield
    • Habitat: Wide range across sub-Saharan Africa including grasslands, savannas, and woodlands
    • Behavior: Highly social, often found in large herds called 'sounders,' known for being aggressive when threatened
  6. 6
    1957birth · CC BY-SA 4.0


    Elk are known to be very fast and can run at speeds of up to 45 mph. They are also very intelligent and can detect hunters from a long distance.
    The Elk, also known as the wapiti, is a majestic and captivating deer species found in various parts of North America and Eastern Asia. It is one of the largest deer species, characterized by its impressive size, striking antlers, and graceful appearance. The Elk's coat features a beautiful reddish-brown color in summer, which transforms into a darker brown or grayish shade during the colder months, adding to its charm. Its captivating presence in the wild and its incredible adaptability make it a true symbol of nature's beauty.
    • Habitat: Mountainous regions, forests, and grasslands
    • Scientific Name: Cervus canadensis
    • Size: Height at shoulder: 4.5 - 5 feet (1.4 - 1.5 meters)
    • Weight: 500 - 1,000 pounds (227 - 454 kilograms)
    • Antlers: Elaborate antlers with an average span of 4 - 5 feet (1.2 - 1.5 meters)
    Elk in other rankings
  7. 7
    Ryan Hagerty · Public domain
    Moose are known to be very large and can weigh up to 1,500 pounds. They are also very strong and can charge at hunters if they feel threatened.
    The Moose, scientifically known as Alces alces, is a majestic and fascinating deer species that inhabits various regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It is the largest extant species in the deer family.
    • Size: Adult males can reach heights up to 6.9 ft (2.1 m) at the shoulder, and can weigh between 1,200 to 1,600 lb (540 to 720 kg).
    • Antlers: Males possess impressive antlers, which can span up to 6 ft (1.8 m) across, showcasing a unique and intricate pattern.
    • Habitat: They inhabit boreal and mixed deciduous forests in the Northern Hemisphere, mainly found in North America, Europe, and Asia.
    • Diet: Moose primarily feed on vegetation, including twigs, leaves, bark, aquatic plants, and woody shrubs.
    • Behavior: Moose are generally solitary animals and are known for their calm and gentle demeanor. However, during the mating season, males can become territorial and engage in fierce competition.
    Moose in other rankings
  8. 8
    Siberian tiger
    Appaloosa · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Siberian tigers are known to be one of the largest cats in the world, making them difficult to take down. They are also very fast and agile, making them hard to track down.
    The Siberian tiger, also known as the Amur tiger, is a large and powerful carnivorous mammal native to the Russian Far East and Northeast China. It is considered one of the most difficult animals to hunt due to its size, agility, and elusive nature.
    • Size: Adult males can reach up to 10.8 ft (3.3 m) in length and weigh up to 660 lb (300 kg).
    • Agility: Siberian tigers are excellent climbers and swimmers, giving them an advantage in both pursuit and escape.
    • Speed: They can run at speeds up to 50 mph (80 km/h) in short bursts, making them swift and difficult to outrun.
    • Camouflage: Their orange-brown fur with black stripes provides effective camouflage in their forested habitats.
    • Hunting habits: They are solitary hunters and mainly feed on large ungulates such as deer and wild boars.
    Siberian tiger in other rankings
  9. 9
    Polar bears are known to live in the harsh Arctic environment, making it difficult to track them down. They are also very strong and can take down their hunters if they feel threatened.
    The Polar bear is a majestic species of bear that is primarily found in the Arctic regions. It is known for its iconic white fur, which provides excellent camouflage in snowy environments. With its powerful build and adaptations for cold temperatures, the Polar bear is an apex predator in its habitat. It is considered one of the most beautiful bears due to its striking appearance and graceful movements.
    • Scientific Name: Ursus maritimus
    • Habitat: Arctic regions, primarily found near pack ice
    • Appearance: White fur, long neck, stocky body, large head with a distinctive profile
    • Size: Adult males: 8 to 10 feet in length, weighing 900 to 1,600 pounds; adult females: 6 to 8 feet in length, weighing 330 to 650 pounds
    • Diet: Mainly seals, but also fish and occasionally land mammals
    Polar bear in other rankings
  10. 10
    Wild boar
    Richard Bartz, Munich Makro Freak · CC BY-SA 2.5
    Wild boars are known to be very aggressive and have sharp tusks that can cause serious injuries. They are also very fast and can run at speeds of up to 30 mph.
    The wild boar is a formidable and challenging animal to hunt. It is a species of pig, scientifically known as Sus scrofa, and typically inhabits forests, woodlands, and grasslands across Europe, Asia, and parts of North Africa. The wild boar is known for its fiercely protective nature, physical strength, and keen senses, making it a sought-after game for hunters.
    • Size: Adults can weigh anywhere between 100 to 400 kilograms (220 to 880 pounds) and can reach a height of up to 90 centimeters (36 inches) at the shoulder.
    • Physical Appearance: The wild boar has a compact and muscular body, covered in coarse bristles or hair. They have a long snout, pronounced tusks, and sharp teeth.
    • Behavior: Wild boars are highly adaptable and intelligent animals. They are usually active during the night and early morning, forming groups called sounders that consist of sows and their piglets.
    • Aggressiveness: When threatened or cornered, wild boars can become extremely aggressive, charging at perceived threats with surprising speed and agility.
    • Habitat: Wild boars inhabit a variety of habitats, including forests, woodlands, marshes, and grasslands. They can also be found in close proximity to human settlements.
    Wild boar in other rankings

Missing your favorite animal?


Ranking factors for difficult animal

  1. Intelligence and behavior
    The animal's ability to learn, adapt, and outsmart hunters is a crucial factor. Animals with high levels of intelligence and cunning behavior can evade traps, avoid known hunting grounds, and make tracking them extremely difficult.
  2. Speed and agility
    Fast and agile animals can evade hunters more effectively, making it challenging to catch them. Speed can also play a role in the animal's ability to escape once it has been located or trapped.
  3. Habitat and terrain
    The environment in which the animal lives can have a significant impact on the difficulty of hunting it. Dense forests, mountainous regions, and aquatic environments can all provide ample hiding places and make tracking difficult. The more remote and inaccessible the habitat, the more difficult it will be to locate and bring down the animal.
  4. Size and strength
    Larger and stronger animals can be harder to kill or subdue, requiring more skill and powerful weapons. They may also be more capable of defending themselves or escaping when injured.
  5. Population size and distribution
    If the target species has a small population or limited distribution, it can be more difficult to locate and hunt, as there are fewer available targets.
  6. Social structure and communication
    Animals that live in groups or have advanced communication systems (like certain bird species or elephants) can alert others to danger, making it more challenging for hunters to ambush them.
  7. Camouflage or natural defenses
    Some animals have natural camouflage or defenses, such as porcupine quills, that can make them more difficult to hunt. In some cases, these natural defenses can also pose a risk to the hunter.
  8. Endurance
    Animals with great stamina can travel long distances to flee from predators or hunters, making it difficult to track and catch them.
  9. Legal restrictions or ethical considerations
    Hunting certain animals may be prohibited or restricted due to their conservation status or other factors. Additionally, some hunters may choose not to pursue certain species due to personal ethical or moral considerations.
  10. Traditional hunting methods and skills
    Some animals may be more difficult to hunt because they require specialized knowledge, techniques, or equipment, which may limit the number of hunters who are skilled enough to pursue them successfully.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult animal to hunt. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or your favorite animal is missing from the list, feel free to help us improve the ranking.


  • 176 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each animal once every 24 hours. The rank of each animal is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most difficult animal to hunt

Hunting has been a popular activity for humans for thousands of years, and with advancements in technology and equipment, it has become easier to take down game. However, some animals remain elusive and challenging to hunt even for the most skilled hunters. Factors such as their speed, agility, and sharp senses make them difficult to track down and hunt successfully. In this article, we explore the most difficult animals to hunt and what makes them so challenging to bag. From the cunning mountain goat to the stealthy leopard, we take a closer look at the intricacies of hunting these elusive creatures.