Elmer Sprunger was born in 1915 in Kalispell, Montana. He was raised near Swan Lake in northwestern Montana. His sophomore year in high school, he studied with Elizabeth Lochrie and subscribed to the Famous Artists correspondence course. During World War II, he was a commercial artist for the Army in Hawaii, then worked as a carpenter in heavy construction in the Puget Sound area. In 1950, he returned to Montana and was a sign painter and artist for an aluminum company for fifteen years. In 1972, he became a full time wildlife painter.