Elk USA advertises as the best-priced bulk online purveyor of USDA meats. Originally selling primarily elk and other venison, Elk USA has recently expanded to include Alaskan seafood, goat and pet food in their offerings. Located in southern Colorado, the company prides itself on customer service and assuring that every order is shipped expeditiously and, uniquely, received by the customer on a timely basis.
Elk USA also claims that their game meats are free of hormones, steroids and antibiotics, and because it is such a close-knit family-run business, there is little reason to doubt them.
The Elk USA website is crammed with information, which makes it a bit overwhelming to dive in and find what you're looking for. You need to spend some time reading on the site, since every category is packed with promotional advertising of their products. The company's stated mission is to be the number 1 online purveyor of venison and buffalo, but they need to organize their website better. Right now, it's all over the place, with links leading away from their product and confusing legalese. (Elk USA seems overly defensive about the legalities of selling game meats, which does make me wonder whether they've been involved in some sort of legal action.)
Once you finally find the categories, the menus are difficult to read, since all the type is extra large and extra bold with garishly colored fonts.
Their product list shows the cuts of meat, but oddly only in vacuum-sealed or boxed packages, without a clear photograph of the meat itself. Except for the soup bones, which are not packaged in the photo, it's difficult to discern the difference between their elk rib-eyes from their t-bones, since a label covers half of the package.
Other game meat products on the site are identically displayed, packaged, labeled and photographed in harsh lighting, which reflects off the plastic packaging and renders everything identical in appearance. The odd inclusion of Alaskan seafood suffers from the same sterile and unappealing presentation.
Is Elk USA's Product Really Better?
It's almost impossible to assess the quality of Elk USA's product because of the extremely poor photographs on the website. They certainly offer a wide variety of cuts, probably the most extensive I've seen from Elk USA's competitors. (The buffalo and elk categories have 50 items apiece!)
Perhaps one of the most unusual categories I've come upon is Elk USA's Velvet Antlers, which they promote as "rejuvenation" products. According to the Elk USA website, dried and ground velvet antler is consumed by a large percentage of South Koreans, although they claim that since China is a rising nation, Elk USA expects even greater demand. Velvet antler products are sold as face creams and supplement capsules, but also for increased sexual potency.
Pricing and Shipping
Is Elk USA as competitively priced as they claim? Reviewing their price list, I would conclude not really.
They advertise Manager's Specials in red bold font, but the special prices are pretty much the same found online at other purveyors. They do offer bulk pricing, however, which initially does seem more reasonable, but they assert that it's best for them for shipping purposes if the consumer purchases at least 10 pounds. Elk meat ranges between $24 to $30 per pound, so it's quite an investment for the buyer. Buffalo meat is priced at $20 to $30 per pound with a minimum of 5 to 10 pounds. Assessing their pricing structure, the consumer would definitely benefit by searching around other purveyors of wild game meat for better prices.
Shipping prices are nowhere to be found on the site. They advertise that shipping is discounted by 25% for a special discount code, but what the actual shipping costs are can only be determined when paying for the order.
Despite Elk USA's aggressive marketing on their website, it's not clear if they are indeed the best purveyor of game meats (and Alaskan seafood). The somewhat hysterical tone of the site definitely gives one pause, and I wouldn't recommend buying their product without first investigating other sites selling similar game meats.