- Elk are much larger and
heavier than white-tailed deer. A mature male elk, called a
bull, stands 50 to 60 inches at the shoulder and weighs 600
to 1,000 pounds. Females, or cows, weigh 500 to 600 pounds.
- Yearlings usually grow
single spikes 10 to 24 inches in length, while older bulls
may produce racks with main beams 4 to 5 feet in length and
having five to nine tines to a side. An elk with a total of
12 antler points is called a ''royal" bull; one with 14
points is an "imperial."
- Elk primarily are grazers,
eating a variety of grasses and forbs. In winter, they paw
through snow to reach grass, or turn to twigs, buds and the
bark of trees.
- The mating season is
September and October. Bulls bugle invitations to cows and
challenges to other bulls. Bulls fight with each other,
joining antlers and pushing and shoving.
- Cowls give birth to a
single calf in May or June, rarely twins. A calf weighs
about 30 pounds and can stand when only 20 minutes old.
- In spring and summer,
bulls go off by themselves, living alone or in small groups.
Cows and calves tend to remain in family units composed of a
mature cow, her calf, and yearlings. Sometimes several
families band together.
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