The elk or wapiti (Cervus canadensis) is one of the largest species within the deer family, Cervidae, and one of the largest terrestrial mammals in North America and Northeast Asia. This animal should not be confused with the still larger moose (Alces alces) to which the name "elk" applies in British English and in reference to populations in Eurasia.

Elk range in forest and forest-edge habitat, feeding on grasses, plants, leaves, and bark. Male elk have large antlers which are shed each year. Males also engage in ritualized mating behaviors during the rut, including posturing, antler wrestling (sparring), and bugling, a loud series of vocalizations that establishes dominance over other males and attracts females.

Although they are native to North America and eastern Asia, they have adapted well to countries in which they have been introduced, including Argentina and New Zealand. Their great adaptability may threaten endemic species and ecosystems into which they have been introduced.

Elk are susceptible to a number of infectious diseases, some of which can be transmitted to livestock. Efforts to eliminate infectious diseases from elk populations, largely by vaccination, have had mixed success.

Some cultures revere the elk as a spiritual force. In parts of Asia, antlers and their velvet are used in traditional medicines. Elk are hunted as a game species. The meat is leaner and higher in protein than beef or chicken.[3]

Elk were long believed to belong to a subspecies of the European red deer (Cervus elaphus), but evidence from many mitochondrial DNA genetic studies beginning in 1998 shows that the two are distinct species.[4][5][6][7] Key morphological differences that distinguish C. canadensis from C. elaphus are the former's wider rump patch and paler-hued antlers.[8]

Temporal range: 2.5–0 Ma
Early Pleistocene – Recent
Rocky Mountain Bull Elk
Elk (male)
Cervus canadensis (North American elk) 9 (8290359165)
Elk (female)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Cervinae
Genus: Cervus
C. canadensis
Binomial name
Cervus canadensis
(Erxleben, 1777)[2]
Former (light green) and current (dark green) native ranges of Cervus canadensis

Various Cervus elaphus subspecies

Naming and etymology

Early European explorers in North America, who were familiar with the smaller red deer of Europe, thought that the larger North American animal resembled a moose, and consequently gave it the name elk, which is the common European name for moose. The word elk is related to the Latin alces, Old Norse elgr, Scandinavian elg/älg and German Elch, all of which refer to the animal known in North America as the moose.[9]

The name wapiti is from the Shawnee and Cree word waapiti, meaning "white rump".[10] This name is used in particular for the Asian subspecies (Altai wapiti, Tian Shan wapiti, Manchurian wapiti and Alashan wapiti), because in Eurasia the name elk continues to be used for the moose.

Wapiti is also the preferred name for the species in New Zealand.

Asian subspecies are sometimes referred to as the maral, but this name applies primarily to the Caspian red deer (Cervus elaphus maral), a subspecies of red deer. There is a subspecies of elk in Mongolia called the Altai wapiti (Cervus canadensis sibiricus),[11] also known as the Altai maral.


OPAL TERRACE with elks
Elk crossing a rock face

Members of the genus Cervus (and hence early relatives or possible ancestors of the elk) first appear in the fossil record 25 million years ago, during the Oligocene in Eurasia, but do not appear in the North American fossil record until the early Miocene.[12] The extinct Irish elk (Megaloceros) was not a member of the genus Cervus, but rather the largest member of the wider deer family (Cervidae) known from the fossil record.[13]

Until recently, red deer and elk were considered to be one species, Cervus elaphus.[11][14] However, mitochondrial DNA studies, conducted on hundreds of samples in 2004 from red deer and elk subspecies as well as other species of the Cervus deer family, strongly indicate that elk, or wapiti, should be a distinct species, namely Cervus canadensis.[6] The previous classification had over a dozen subspecies under the C. elaphus species designation; DNA evidence concludes that elk are more closely related to Thorold's deer and even sika deer than they are to the red deer.[6] Elk and red deer produce fertile offspring in captivity, and the two species have freely inter-bred in New Zealand's Fiordland National Park, where the cross-bred animals have all but removed the pure elk blood from the area.[15]


There are numerous subspecies of elk described, with six from North America and four from Asia, although some taxonomists consider them different ecotypes or races of the same species (adapted to local environments through minor changes in appearance and behavior). Populations vary as to antler shape and size, body size, coloration and mating behavior. DNA investigations of the Eurasian subspecies revealed that phenotypic variation in antlers, mane and rump patch development are based on "climatic-related lifestyle factors".[16] Of the six subspecies of elk known to have inhabited North America in historical times, four remain, including the Roosevelt (C. canadensis roosevelti), Tule (C. canadensis nannodes), Manitoban (C. canadensis manitobensis) and Rocky Mountain (C. canadensis nelsoni).[17] The Eastern elk (C. canadensis canadensis) and Merriam's elk (C. canadensis merriami) subspecies have been extinct for at least a century.[18][19]

Four subspecies described in Asia include the Altai wapiti (C. canadensis sibiricus) and the Tianshan wapiti (C. canadensis songaricus). Two distinct subspecies found in China and Korea are the Manchurian wapiti (C. canadensis xanthopygus) and the Alashan wapitis (C. canadensis alashanicus). The Manchurian wapiti is darker and more reddish in coloration than the other populations. The Alashan wapiti of north central China is the smallest of all subspecies, has the lightest coloration and is the least studied.[15] Biologist Valerius Geist, who has written on the world's various deer species, holds that there are only three subspecies of elk. Geist recognizes the Manchurian and Alashan wapiti but places all other elk into C. canadensis canadensis, claiming that classification of the four surviving North American groups as subspecies is driven, at least partly, for political purposes to secure individualized conservation and protective measures for each of the surviving populations.[20]

Recent DNA studies suggest that there are no more than three or four subspecies of elk. All American forms, aside from possibly the Tule and Roosevelt elk, seem to belong to one subspecies (Cervus canadensis canadensis). Even the Siberian elk (Cervus canadensis sibiricus) are more or less identical to the American forms and therefore may belong to this subspecies, too. However the Manchurian wapiti (Cervus canadensis xanthopygus) is clearly distinct from the Siberian forms, but not distinguishable from the Alashan wapiti. The Chinese forms MacNeill's deer, Kansu red deer, and Tibetan red deer belong also to the wapitis and were not distinguishable from each other by mitochondrial DNA studies.[6] These Chinese subspecies are sometimes treated as a distinct species, namely the Central Asian red deer (Cervus wallichi), which also includes the Kashmir stag.[21]


Illustration of eastern elk

The deer of all lands (1898) Altai wapiti

Illustration of Altai wapiti

The deer of all lands (1898) Bedford's deer

Illustration of Manchurian wapiti

The deer of all lands (1898) Hangul

Illustration of Kashmir stag


RooseveltElk 5061t
A herd of Roosevelt elk

The elk is a large animal of the ungulate order Artiodactyla, possessing an even number of toes on each foot, similar to those of camels, goats and cattle. It is a ruminant species, with a four-chambered stomach, and feeds on grasses, plants, leaves and bark. During the summer, elk eat almost constantly, consuming between 4 and 7 kilograms (8.8 and 15.4 lb) of vegetation daily.[22] In North America, males are called bulls, and females are called cows. In Asia, stag and hind, respectively, are sometimes used instead.

Elk are more than twice as heavy as mule deer and have a more reddish hue to their hair coloring, as well as large, buff-colored rump patches and smaller tails. Moose are larger and darker than elk; bulls have distinctively different antlers. Elk gather in herds, while moose are solitary. Elk cows average 225 to 241 kg (496 to 531 lb), stand 1.3 m (4.3 ft) at the wither, and are 2.1 m (6.9 ft) from nose to tail. Bulls are some 40% larger than cows at maturity, weighing an average of 320 to 331 kg (705 to 730 lb), standing 1.5 m (4.9 ft) at the wither and averaging 2.45 m (8.0 ft) in length[23][24] while large males reach 1.7 m (5.6 ft) tall at wither and 3 m (9.8 ft) in length.[25] The largest of the subspecies is the Roosevelt elk (C. c. roosevelti), found west of the Cascade Range in the U.S. states of California, Oregon and Washington, and in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Roosevelt elk have been reintroduced into Alaska, where the largest males are estimated to weigh up to 600 kg (1,300 lb).[26] More typically, male Roosevelt elk weigh around 300 to 544 kg (661 to 1,199 lb), while females weigh 260 to 285 kg (573 to 628 lb).[27][28] The smallest-bodied subspecies is the tule elk (C. c. nannodes), which weighs from 170 to 250 kg (370 to 550 lb) in both sexes.[27]

Only the males have antlers, which start growing in the spring and are shed each winter. The largest antlers may be 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) long and weigh 18 kilograms (40 lb).[29] Antlers are made of bone which can grow at a rate of 2.5 centimetres (0.98 in) per day. While actively growing, the antlers are covered with and protected by a soft layer of highly vascularised skin known as velvet. The velvet is shed in the summer when the antlers have fully developed. Bull elk may have eight or more tines on each antler; however, the number of tines has little to do with the age or maturity of a particular animal. The Siberian and North American elk carry the largest antlers while the Altai wapiti have the smallest.[15] The formation and retention of antlers is testosterone-driven.[30] After the breeding season in late fall, the level of pheromones released during estrus declines in the environment and the testosterone levels of males drop as a consequence. This drop in testosterone leads to the shedding of antlers, usually in the early winter.

Elks in yellowstone national park
Rocky Mountain elk

During the fall, elk grow a thicker coat of hair, which helps to insulate them during the winter. Males, females and calves of Siberian and North American elk all grow thin neck manes; female and young Manchurian and Alaskan wapitis do not.[20] By early summer, the heavy winter coat has been shed, and elk are known to rub against trees and other objects to help remove hair from their bodies. All elk have small and clearly defined rump patches with short tails. They have different coloration based on the seasons and types of habitats, with gray or lighter coloration prevalent in the winter and a more reddish, darker coat in the summer. Subspecies living in arid climates tend to have lighter colored coats than do those living in forests.[31] Most have lighter yellow-brown to orange-brown coats in contrast to dark brown hair on the head, neck, and legs during the summer. Forest-adapted Manchurian and Alaskan wapitis have darker reddish-brown coats with less contrast between the body coat and the rest of the body during the summer months.[15] Calves are born spotted, as is common with many deer species, and they lose their spots by the end of summer. Adult Manchurian wapiti may retain a few orange spots on the back of their summer coats until they are older. This characteristic has also been observed in the forest-adapted European red deer.[15]


Buffalo charges Elk near old faithful - panoramio
A bison charges an elk near Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park.

Adult elk usually stay in single-sex groups for most of the year. During the mating period known as the rut, mature bulls compete for the attention of the cow elk and will try to fend off rival bulls from their harem. Rival bulls challenge opponents by bellowing, or bugling, and by paralleling each other, walking back and forth. This allows potential combatants to assess the other's antlers, body size and fighting prowess.[32] If neither bull backs down, they engage in antler wrestling, and bulls sometimes sustain serious injuries.[33] Bulls also dig holes in the ground called wallows, in which they urinate and roll their body.[34][33] A male elk's urethra points upward so that urine is sprayed almost at a right angle to the penis.[35] The urine soaks into their hair and gives them a distinct smell which attracts cows.[33]

Dominant bulls follow groups of cows during the rut, from August into early winter. A bull will defend his harem of 20 cows or more from competing bulls and predators.[36] It is only the mature bulls that usually have large harems, and breeding success peaks at about eight years of age. Bulls between two and four years and over 11 years of age rarely have harems, and spend most of the rut on the periphery of larger harems. Young and old bulls that do acquire a harem usually acquire it later in the breeding season than do bulls in their prime. A bull with a harem rarely feeds, and he may lose up to 20 percent of his body weight during the rut. Bulls that enter the rut in poor condition are less likely to keep their harems through to the peak conception period or have the strength to survive the rigors of the oncoming winter.[32]

Bulls have a loud vocalization consisting of screams known as bugling, which can be heard for miles. Bugling is often associated with an adaptation to open environments such as parklands, meadows, and savannas, where sound can travel great distances. Females are attracted to the males that bugle more often and have the loudest call.[37] Bugling is most common early and late in the day and is one of the most distinctive sounds in nature, akin to the howl of the gray wolf.

Reproduction and lifecycle

Wapiti (01) 2006-09-19
Female nursing young

Female elk have a short estrus cycle of only a day or two, and matings usually involve a dozen or more attempts. By the autumn of their second year, females can produce one and, very rarely, two offspring, although reproduction is most common when cows weigh at least 200 kilograms (440 lb).[38] The gestation period is 240 to 262 days and the offspring weigh between 15 and 16 kilograms (33 and 35 lb). When the females are near to giving birth, they tend to isolate themselves from the main herd, and will remain isolated until the calf is large enough to escape predators.[33] Calves are born spotted, as is common with many deer species, and they lose their spots by the end of summer. Manchurian wapiti may retain a few orange spots on the back of their summer coats until they are older. After two weeks, calves are able to join the herd, and are fully weaned at two months of age.[39] Elk calves are as large as an adult white-tailed deer by the time they are six months old.[40] The offspring will remain with their mothers for almost a year, leaving about the time that the next season's offspring are produced.[37] The gestation period is the same for all subspecies.

Elk live 20 years or more in captivity but average 10 to 13 years in the wild. In some subspecies that suffer less predation, they may live an average of 15 years in the wild.[41]

Predators and defensive tactics

Wolves and elk
Single bull elk are vulnerable to predation by wolves

In North America, wolf and coyote packs and the solitary cougar are the most likely predators, although brown and black bears also prey on elk.[37] Coyote packs mostly prey on elk calves, though they can sometimes take a winter- or disease-weakened adult.[42] In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem which includes Yellowstone National Park, bears are the most significant predators of calves.[43] Major predators in Asia include the wolf, dhole, brown bear, Siberian tiger, Amur leopard, and snow leopard. Eurasian lynx and wild boar sometimes prey on Asian elk calves.[15] Historically, tigers in the Lake Baikal region fed on Manchurian wapiti, and continue to do so in the Amur region.[44]

Male elk retain their antlers for more than half the year and are less likely to group with other males when they have antlers. Antlers provide a means of defense, as does a strong front-leg kick, which is performed by either sex if provoked. Once the antlers have been shed, bulls tend to form bachelor groups which allow them to work cooperatively at fending off predators. Herds tend to employ one or more scouts while the remaining members eat and rest.[37]

After the rut, females form large herds of up to 50 individuals. Newborn calves are kept close by a series of vocalizations; larger nurseries have an ongoing and constant chatter during the daytime hours. When approached by predators, the largest and most robust females may make a stand, using their front legs to kick at their attackers. Guttural grunts and posturing effectively deter all but the most determined predators.

Wapiti in New Zealand have no natural predators.[45]


Wapiti on the National Elk Refuge
Elk wintering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, after migrating there during the fall

As is true for many species of deer, especially those in mountainous regions, elk migrate into areas of higher altitude in the spring, following the retreating snows, and the opposite direction in the fall. Hunting pressure also impacts migration and movements.[46] During the winter, they favor wooded areas and sheltered valleys for protection from the wind and availability of tree bark to eat. Roosevelt elk are generally non-migratory due to less seasonal variability of food sources.[37]

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem elk herd numbers over 200,000 individuals and during the spring and fall, they take part in the longest elk migration in the continental U.S. Elk in the southern regions of Yellowstone National Park and in the surrounding National Forests migrate south towards the town of Jackson, Wyoming, where they winter for up to six months on the National Elk Refuge. Conservationists there ensure the herd is well fed during the harsh winters.[47] Many of the elk that reside in the northern sections of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem migrate to lower altitudes in Montana, mainly to the north and west.


Elk pellets
Elk pellet group

Elk are ruminants and therefore have four-chambered stomachs. Unlike white-tailed deer and moose, which are primarily browsers, elk are similar to cattle in that they are primarily grazers. But like other deer, they also browse.[48][49] Elk have a tendency to do most of their feeding in the mornings and evenings, seeking sheltered areas in between feedings to digest. Their diets vary somewhat depending on the season, with native grasses being a year-round supplement, tree bark being consumed in winter and forbs and tree sprouts during the summer. Elk consume an average of 9.1 kilograms (20 lb) of various vegetation daily.[50] Particularly fond of aspen sprouts which rise in the spring, elk have had some impact on aspen groves which have been declining in some regions where elk exist.[51]

Range and wildlife managers conduct surveys of elk pellet groups to monitor populations and resource use.[52][53]

Parasites and disease

At least 53 species of protist and animal parasites have been identified in elk.[54] Most of these parasites seldom lead to significant mortality among wild or captive elk. Parelaphostrongylus tenuis (brainworm or meningeal worm) is a parasitic nematode known to affect the spinal cord and brain tissue of elk and other species, leading to death.[55] The definitive host is the white-tailed deer, in which it normally has no ill effects. Snails and slugs, the intermediate hosts, can be inadvertently consumed by elk during grazing.[9] The liver fluke Fascioloides magna and the nematode Dictyocaulus viviparus are also commonly found parasites that can be fatal to elk.[56] Since infection by either of these parasites can be lethal to some commercial livestock species, their presence in elk herds is of some concern.

A bull elk in spring, shedding its winter coat and with its antlers covered in velvet

Chronic wasting disease, transmitted by a misfolded protein known as a prion, affects the brain tissue in elk, and has been detected throughout their range in North America. First documented in the late 1960s in mule deer, the disease has affected elk on game farms and in the wild in a number of regions. Elk that have contracted the disease begin to show weight loss, increased watering needs, disorientation, and listlessness, and at an advanced stage, the disease leads to death. The disease is similar to, but not the same as mad cow disease, and no risks to humans have been documented, nor has the disease been demonstrated to pose a threat to domesticated cattle.[57] In 2002, South Korea banned the importation of elk antler velvet due to concerns about chronic wasting disease.[58]

The Gram-negative bacterial disease brucellosis occasionally affects elk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the only place in the U.S. where the disease is still known to exist. In domesticated cattle, brucellosis causes infertility, abortions, and reduced milk production. It is transmitted to humans as undulant fever, producing influenza-like symptoms that may last for years. Though bison are more likely to transmit the disease to other animals, elk inadvertently transmitted brucellosis to horses in Wyoming and cattle in Idaho. Researchers are attempting to eradicate the disease through vaccinations and herd-management measures, which are expected to be successful.[59] Nevertheless, research has been ongoing since 2002, and a successful vaccine has yet to be developed as of 2016.[60]

A recent necropsy study of captive elk in Pennsylvania attributed the cause of death in 33 of 65 cases to either gastrointestinal parasites (21 cases, primarily Eimeria sp. and Ostertagia sp.) or bacterial infections (12 cases, mostly pneumonia).[61]

Elk hoof disease was first noticed in the state of Washington in the late 1990s in the Cowlitz River basin, with sporadic reports of deformed hooves. Since then, the disease has spread rapidly with increased sightings throughout southwest Washington and into Oregon. The disease is characterised by deformed, broken, or missing hooves and leads to severe lameness in elk. The primary cause is not known, but it is associated with treponeme bacteria, which are known to cause digital dermatitis in commercial livestock. The mode of transmission is also not known, but it appears to be highly contagious among elk. Studies are being undertaken by government departments to determine how to halt or eliminate the disease.[62][63][64]



Bull elk bugling during the fall mating season
Bull elk bugling during the rut

Modern subspecies are descended from elk that once inhabited Beringia, a steppe region between Asia and North America that connected the two continents during the Pleistocene. Beringia provided a migratory route for numerous mammal species, including brown bear, camel, horse, caribou, and moose, as well as humans.[65] As the Pleistocene came to an end, ocean levels began to rise; elk migrated southwards into Asia and North America. In North America they adapted to almost all ecosystems except for tundra, true deserts, and the gulf coast of the U.S. The elk of southern Siberia and central Asia were once more widespread but today are restricted to the mountain ranges west of Lake Baikal including the Sayan and Altai Mountains of Mongolia and the Tianshan region that borders Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and China's Xinjiang Province.[1] The habitat of Siberian elk in Asia is similar to that of the Rocky Mountain subspecies in North America.

Throughout their range, they live in forest and in forest edge habitat, similar to other deer species. In mountainous regions, they often dwell at higher elevations in summer, migrating down slope for winter. The highly adaptable elk also inhabit semi-deserts in North America, such as the Great Basin. Manchurian and Alashan wapiti are primarily forest dwellers and their smaller antler size is a likely adaptation to a forest environment.

Elk at Big Spring Creek, Great Sand Dunes National Park
Bull elk at Big Spring Creek in Great Sand Dunes National Park


Bull elk on a captive range in Nebraska. These elk, originally from Rocky Mountain herds, exhibit modified behavior due to having been held in captivity, under less selective pressure

The Rocky Mountain elk subspecies has been reintroduced by hunter-conservation organizations in the Appalachian region of the eastern U.S., where the now extinct eastern elk once lived.[66] After elk were reintroduced in the states of Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee, they migrated into the neighboring states of Virginia and West Virginia, and have established permanent populations there.[67] In 2017, a male elk, likely from the Smoky Mountains population, was sighted in South Carolina for the first time in nearly 300 years.[68] Elk have also been reintroduced to a number of other states, including Pennsylvania,[69][70] Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri [71] and Etolin and Afognak Islands in Alaska.[72] Reintroduction of the elk into Ontario began in the early 20th century, and is ongoing with limited success.[73] As of 1989, population figures for the Rocky Mountain subspecies were 782,500, and estimated numbers for all North American subspecies exceeded 1 million.[74] Prior to the European colonization of North America, there were an estimated 10 million elk on the continent.[23]

Outside their native habitat, elk and other deer species, especially white tails, were introduced in areas that previously had few if any large native ungulates. Brought to these countries for hunting and ranching for meat, hides and antler velvet, they have proven highly adaptable and have often had an adverse impact on local ecosystems. Elk and red deer were introduced to Argentina in the early 20th century.[75] There they are now considered an invasive species, encroaching on Argentinian ecosystems where they compete for food with the indigenous Chilean huemul and other herbivores.[76] This negative impact on native animal species has led the IUCN to identify the elk as one of the world's 100 worst invaders.[77]

The introduction of deer to New Zealand began in the middle of the 19th century, and current populations are primarily European red deer, with only 15 percent being elk.[78] There is significant hybridization of elk with the more numerous red deer to the extent that pure elk may no longer exist in the wild in New Zealand. These deer have had an adverse impact on forest regeneration of some plant species, as they consume more palatable species which are replaced with those that are less favored by the elk. The long-term impact will be an alteration of the types of plants and trees found, and in other animal and plant species dependent upon them.[79] As in Chile and Argentina, the IUCN has declared that red deer and elk populations in New Zealand are an invasive species.[77]

Cultural references

William S. Soule - Eonah-pah and Wife
A Kiowa couple. The woman on the right is wearing an elk tooth dress.

Elk have played an important role in the cultural history of a number of peoples. Pictograms and petroglyphs of elk were carved into cliffs thousands of years ago by the Anasazi of the southwestern U.S. More recent Native American tribes, including the Kootenai, Cree, Blackfeet, Ojibwa and Pawnee, produced blankets and robes from elk hides. The elk was of particular importance to the Lakota, and played a spiritual role in their society.[80] At birth, Lakota males were given an elk's tooth to promote a long life since that was seen as the last part of dead elk to rot away. The elk was seen as having strong sexual potency and young Lakota males who had dreamed of elk would have an image of the mythical representation of the elk on their "courting coats" as a sign of sexual prowess. The Lakota believed that the mythical or spiritual elk, not the physical one, was the teacher of men and the embodiment of strength, sexual prowess and courage.

Neolithic petroglyphs from Asia depict antler-less female elk, which have been interpreted as symbolizing rebirth and sustenance. By the beginning of the Bronze Age, the elk is depicted less frequently in rock art, coinciding with a cultural transformation away from hunting.[81]

The Rocky Mountain elk is the official state animal for Utah.[82] An image of an elk and a moose appear on the state seal and flag of Michigan.[83] The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (B.P.O.E.) chose the elk as its namesake because a number of its attributes seemed appropriate for cultivation by members of the fraternity. A representation of the majestic head of the male, with its spreading antlers, was adopted as the first badge of the Order; and is still the most conspicuous element of its copyrighted fraternal emblem.[84] A prized possession of many members of the B.P.O.E. are jewel encrusted, gold mounted elk teeth – which are actually ivory.[85]

Commercial uses

Approximately 0.45 kg (1 lb) of ground elk meat formed into patties; they have relatively low fat content

Although breakdown figures for each game species are not available in the 2006 National Survey from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hunting of wild elk is most likely the primary economic impact.[86]

While elk are not generally harvested for meat production on a large scale, some restaurants offer the meat as a specialty item and it is also available in some grocery stores. The meat has a taste somewhere between beef and venison and is higher in protein and lower in fat and cholesterol than beef, pork, and chicken.[87] Elk meat is also a good source of iron, phosphorus and zinc.[88]

A male elk can produce 10 to 11 kilograms (22 to 24 lb) of antler velvet annually and on ranches in the United States, Canada and New Zealand, this velvet is collected and sold to markets in East Asia, where it is used in medicine. Velvet is also considered by some cultures to be an aphrodisiac.[58] However, consuming velvet from elk in North America may be risky since velvet from animals infected with chronic wasting disease may contain prions that could result in a human getting variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease.[89]

Antlers are also used in artwork, furniture and other novelty items. All Asian subspecies, along with other deer, have been raised for their antlers in central and eastern Asia by Han Chinese, Turkic peoples, Tungusic peoples, Mongolians, and Koreans. Elk farms are relatively common in North America and New Zealand.[78]

Elk hides have been used for thousands of years for tepee covering, blankets, clothing and footwear. Modern uses are more decorative, but elk skin shoes, gloves and belts are not uncommon.[23]

Since 1967, the Boy Scouts of America have assisted employees at the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming by collecting the antlers which are shed each winter. The antlers are then auctioned with 80% of the proceeds returned to the refuge. In 2010, 2,520 kilograms (5,560 lb) of antlers were auctioned, bringing in over $46,000.[90]

See also


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External links

Black Elk Peak

Black Elk Peak (formerly Harney Peak) is the highest natural point in South Dakota, United States. It lies in the Black Elk Wilderness area, in southern Pennington County, in the Black Hills National Forest. The peak lies 3.7 mi (6.0 km) west-southwest of Mount Rushmore. At 7,242 feet (2,207 m), it has been described by the Board on Geographical Names as the highest summit in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.

Although part of the North American Cordillera (the Rocky Mountains in a broader sense) the Chisos Mountains of the Big Bend of Texas are far east of the continental divide and contain mountains higher than Black Elk peak and range from 14 to 16 (nautical) miles further east at 103°15′29″W.

It is also known as Hiŋháŋ Káǧa (in Lakota).

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names, which has jurisdiction in federal lands, officially changed the mountain's name from "Harney Peak" to "Black Elk Peak" on August 11, 2016, honoring Black Elk, the noted Lakota Sioux medicine man for whom the Wilderness Area is named.Professional but unofficial measurements in 2016 found the highest natural rock to be at 7,231.32 feet (2,204.11 m) NAVD88 and the nearby secondary peak slightly lower at 7,229.41 feet (2,203.52 m).


Deer (singular and plural) are the hoofed ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the Cervinae, including the muntjac, the elk (wapiti), the fallow deer, and the chital; and the Capreolinae, including the reindeer (caribou), the roe deer, and the moose. Female reindeer, and male deer of all species except the Chinese water deer, grow and shed new antlers each year. In this they differ from permanently horned antelope, which are part of a different family (Bovidae) within the same order of even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla).

The musk deer (Moschidae) of Asia and chevrotains (Tragulidae) of tropical African and Asian forests are separate families within the ruminant clade (Ruminantia). They are no more closely related to deer than are other even-toed ungulates.

Deer appear in art from Paleolithic cave paintings onwards, and they have played a role in mythology, religion, and literature throughout history, as well as in heraldry. Their economic importance includes the use of their meat as venison, their skins as soft, strong buckskin, and their antlers as handles for knives. Deer hunting has been a popular activity since at least the Middle Ages and remains a resource for many families today.

Elk County, Pennsylvania

Elk County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 31,946. Its county seat is Ridgway. The county was created on April 18, 1843, from parts of Jefferson, Clearfield and McKean Counties, and is named for the Eastern elk that historically inhabited the region.

Elk Garden, West Virginia

Elk Garden is a town in Mineral County, West Virginia, United States. It is part of the 'Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area'. The population was 232 at the 2010 census. Elk Garden High School was consolidated into Keyser High School in 1997. However the Primary School is still in session, offering classes from Pre-Kindergarten through the fifth grade. The school mascot is the Elk Garden Stags. Elk Garden was incorporated in 1890 by the Mineral County Circuit Court. It is named for an elk lick near the original town site.

Elk Grove, California

Elk Grove is a city in Sacramento County, California, located just south of the state capital of Sacramento. It is part of the Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2018, the population of the city was estimated at 173,702. The second-largest city in Sacramento County, Elk Grove was the fastest growing city in the U.S. between July 1, 2004, and July 1, 2005. The City of Elk Grove incorporated on July 1, 2000. It is a general law city with a council/manager form of government. One of Elk Grove's most significant aspects is the Elk Grove Unified School District, which is the city's largest employer.

Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow

Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, 542 U.S. 1 (2004), was a case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The lawsuit, originally filed as Newdow v. United States Congress, Elk Grove Unified School District, et al. in 2000, led to a 2002 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are an endorsement of religion and therefore violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. After an initial decision striking the congressionally added "one nation under God" language, the superseding opinion on denial of rehearing en banc was more limited, holding that compelled recitation of the language by school teachers to students was invalid.On June 14, 2004, the Supreme Court held Michael Newdow, as a noncustodial parent, did not have standing to bring the suit on his daughter's behalf. The mother was previously given sole legal custody of the daughter. The Ninth Circuit's decision was thus reversed as a matter of procedural law, so it did not consider the constitutional question raised by the case.

On January 3, 2005, a new suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on behalf of three unnamed families. On September 14, 2005, District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled in favor of Newdow. Citing the precedent of the 2002 ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Karlton issued an order enjoining the school district defendants from continuing their practices of leading children in pledging allegiance to "one Nation under God." The case was later appealed to the Ninth Circuit under Newdow v. Carey and was reversed.

Elk Grove Village, Illinois

Elk Grove Village is a village located in northeastern Illinois adjacent to O'Hare International Airport and is a near northwest suburb, touching the city of Chicago. It is one of the Chicago metropolitan area's principal villages due to its large industrial park, located on the eastern border of the village. The village is located primarily in Cook County with a small portion in DuPage County. The population was 33,127 at the 2010 census. As the name suggests, Elk Grove Village is home to a small herd of elk kept in a grove at the eastern edge of the Busse Woods forest preserve for which the grove is named. Elk are not native to the area but were brought by train from Montana by an early resident, William Busse, in the 1920s. The elk are currently maintained by the Chicago Zoological Society veterinary staff and the Busse Woods Forest Preserve wildlife biologists.

Elk Island National Park

Elk Island National Park (French: parc national Elk Island) is a national park in Canada that played an important part in the conservation of the American bison. The park is administered by the Parks Canada Agency. This "island of conservation" is located 35 km east of Edmonton, Alberta along the Yellowhead Highway, which goes through the park. It is Canada's 8th smallest in area but largest fully enclosed national park, with an area of 194 square kilometres (75 sq mi).

The park is representative of the northern prairies plateau ecosystem and as such, the knob and kettle landscape is a mix of native fescue grassland, aspen parkland and boreal forest. As well, Elk Island plays host to both the largest and the smallest terrestrial mammals in North America, the wood bison and pygmy shrew respectively.

Elk Lakes Provincial Park

Elk Lakes Provincial Park is a provincial park in south eastern British Columbia, Canada, located west of the continental divide (the British Columbia/Alberta Border).

Elk Mountains (Colorado)

The Elk Mountains are a high, rugged mountain range in the Rocky Mountains of west-central Colorado in the United States. The mountains sit on the western side of the Continental Divide, largely in southern Pitkin and northern Gunnison counties, in the area southwest of Aspen, south of the Roaring Fork River valley, and east of the Crystal River. The range sits west of the Sawatch Range and northeast of the West Elk Mountains. Much of the range is located within the White River National Forest and the Gunnison National Forest, as well as the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and Raggeds Wilderness. The Elk Mountains rise nearly 9,000 ft. above the Roaring Fork Valley to the north.

The highest peaks in the range are its fourteeners, Castle Peak (14,265 ft), Maroon Peak (14,156 ft), Capitol Peak (14,130 ft), Snowmass Mountain (14,092 ft), Pyramid Peak (14,018 ft), and North Maroon Peak (14,014 ft). Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak are collectively known as the Maroon Bells, a popular destination for recreation alpinism. Mount Sopris (12,953 ft) sits at the northwest end of the range and dominates the skyline of the lower Roaring Fork Valley and the town of Carbondale, Colorado, serving as an unofficial symbol of the area.

Additional notable peaks in the range include:

Cathedral Peak, 13,943 ft (4,250 m), near Pyramid Peak

Hagerman Peak, 13,841 ft (4,219 m), near Snowmass Mountain

Snowmass Peak, 13,620 ft (4,151 m), near Hagerman Peak

Clark Peak, 13,580 ft (4,139 m), near Capitol Peak

Treasure Mountain, 13,528 ft (4,123 m), southwest of the Maroon Bells

Mount Owen, 13,058 ft (3,980 m), high point of the Ruby Range

Mount Sopris, 12,965 ft (3,952 m), north west of Capitol Peak

Chair Mountain, 12,721 ft (3,877 m), high point of The Raggeds

Crested Butte, 12,162 ft (3,706 m), home of Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Whitehouse Mountain, 11,975 ft (3,650 m), northwest of Treasure MountainThe range provides a formidable barrier to travel and is traversed only by backroad passes and trails, including Schofield Pass, Pearl Pass, and Taylor Pass. State Highway 133 traverses McClure Pass, at the western end of the range. The range has been the site of mining activity since the days of the Colorado Silver Boom, which saw the founding of mining towns such as Aspen and Ashcroft. In the late 19th century, the western and southern flank of the range became the site of intense coal mining activity which continues to the present day. Treasure Mountain, overlooking the town of Marble, is home to the famous Yule Marble Quarry. Quarried marble was used to create The Tomb of the Unknowns, the Lincoln Memorial, Denver Post Office and other buildings. The range receives a great deal of snowfall due to its position to the west of the continental divide and the westerly origin of many winter storms. This is exploited by the ski areas in the vicinity of Aspen, which are located on the flanks of smaller mountains alongside the Roaring Fork Valley.

Elk Pass (Canada)

Elk Pass (el. 1,905 m or 6,250 ft) is a high mountain pass in the Canadian Rockies, traversing the continental divide. It connects the Elk Valley in the province of British Columbia with the Kananaskis Valley in Alberta.

The pass is unusual by its 4 km (2.5 mi) width, as the two valleys were created from a single glaciated trench. The 1916 Alberta/British Columbia Provincial Boundary Surveyors subdivided it into two routes labeled as "West Passage" and "East Passage." These would later be gazetteered as West Elk Pass and East Elk Pass.Elk Pass is inaccessible to conventional road traffic. On the Albertan side it reaches into Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, while on the British Columbian side it is slightly east of Elk Lakes Provincial Park.

The Trans Canada Trail has hoped to designate preexisting hiking trails through the Elk Pass as its continental divide-crossing section, but has come into conflict with coal mines in the Upper Elk Valley over the impacts such a routing would have on their ability to expand their mine sites. In the past, residents of Elkford, British Columbia had proposed extending British Columbia Highway 43 over the pass and into Alberta, creating a new all-weather route from B.C. to Calgary, but in light of enhanced environmental protection on the Albertan side, the project is no longer considered likely.


Ełk [ɛu̯k] (German: Lyck ; Old Prussian: Luks; Lithuanian: Lukas; before 1939 rendered in Polish as Łęg or Łęk) is a town in northeastern Poland with 61,156 inhabitants (as of 2010). It was assigned to Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship in 1999, after belonging to Suwałki Voivodeship from 1975 to 1998. Ełk is the capital of Ełk County. It lies on a shore of Ełk Lake, which was formed by a glacier, and is surrounded by forests. It is the largest city, and according to many, the capital of the region of Masuria. One of its principal attractions is hunting, which is carried out in extensive forests.

Fernie, British Columbia

Fernie is a city in the Elk Valley area of the East Kootenay region of southeastern British Columbia, Canada, located on BC Highway 3 on the eastern approaches to the Crowsnest Pass through the Rocky Mountains. Founded in 1898 and incorporated as the City of Fernie in July 1904, the municipality has a population of over 5,000 with an additional 2,000 outside city limits in communities under the jurisdiction of the Regional District of East Kootenay. A substantial seasonal population swells the city during the winter months.

Fernie lies on the Elk River, along Canada's southernmost east-west transportation corridor through the Rockies that crosses the range via the Crowsnest Pass, 40 kilometres (25 miles) to the east. As the largest and longest-established community between Cranbrook and Lethbridge, Fernie serves as a minor regional centre, particularly for its fellow Elk Valley communities.


The moose (North America) or elk (Eurasia), Alces alces is a member of the New World deer subfamily and is the largest and heaviest extant species in the Deer family. Moose are distinguished by the broad, palmate (open-hand shaped) antlers of the males; other members of the deer family have antlers with a dendritic ("twig-like") configuration. Moose typically inhabit boreal forests and temperate broadleaf and mixed forests of the Northern Hemisphere in temperate to subarctic climates. Hunting and other human activities have caused a reduction in the size of the moose's range over time. Moose have been reintroduced to some of their former habitats. Currently, most moose are found in Canada, Alaska, New England (with Maine having the most of the lower 48 states), Fennoscandia, Baltic states, and Russia. Their diet consists of both terrestrial and aquatic vegetation. The most common moose predators are the gray wolf along with bears and humans. Unlike most other deer species, moose do not form herds and are solitary animals, aside from calves who remain with their mother until the cow begins estrus (typically at 18 months after birth of the calf), at which point the cow chases away young bulls. Although generally slow-moving and sedentary, moose can become aggressive and move quickly if angered or startled. Their mating season in the autumn features energetic fights between males competing for a female.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Elk County, Pennsylvania

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Elk County, Pennsylvania.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Elk County, Pennsylvania, United States. The locations of National Register properties and districts for which the latitude and longitude coordinates are included below, may be seen in a map.There are 12 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the county.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted April 12, 2019.

Teapot Dome scandal

The Teapot Dome scandal was a bribery scandal involving the administration of United States President Warren G. Harding from 1921 to 1923. Secretary of the Interior Albert Bacon Fall had leased Navy petroleum reserves at Teapot Dome in Wyoming, and two locations in California, to private oil companies at low rates without competitive bidding. The leases were the subject of a seminal investigation by Senator Thomas J. Walsh. Convicted of accepting bribes from the oil companies, Fall became the first presidential cabinet member to go to prison; no one was convicted of paying the bribes.

Before the Watergate scandal, Teapot Dome was regarded as the "greatest and most sensational scandal in the history of American politics". It damaged the reputation of the Harding administration, which was already severely diminished by its controversial handling of the Great Railroad Strike of 1922 and Harding's veto of the Bonus Bill in 1922. Congress subsequently passed legislation, enduring to this day, giving subpoena power to House and Senate for review of tax records of any US citizen without regard to elected or appointed position, nor subject to White House interference.

Three Sisters (Elk Valley)

The Three Sisters, also known as Mount Trinity, is a mountain immediately north of Fernie, British Columbia, northwest of the confluence of Fairy Creek with the Elk River. It should not to be confused with the Alberta Rockies' peaks of the same name, located further north outside Canmore.

The summit on the middle sister is the highest point in the Fernie area, at 2,788 m (9,147 ft). The Three Sisters is a popular subject for photographers.

Local legend states this peak came about because a young Indian chief could not choose between three girls for a wife, so he was turned into Mount Proctor. The maidens were so distraught, they prayed to be turned into mountains as well, and became the Three Sisters.

West Elk Mountains

The West Elk Mountains are a high mountain range in the west-central part of the U.S. state of Colorado. They lie primarily within the Gunnison National Forest, and part of the range is protected as the West Elk Wilderness. The range is primarily located in Gunnison County, with small parts in eastern Delta and Montrose counties.

The West Elks are surrounded by tributaries of the Gunnison River. The range is bounded on the north by the North Fork of the Gunnison and on the east by the East River, another tributary of the Gunnison. On the south and west it is contiguous with Black Mesa and Fruitland Mesa, both part of the uplift in which sits the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. On the northeast it is contiguous with the Elk Mountains, being separated from them by Anthracite Creek and Coal Creek. Nearby towns include Gunnison, Paonia, and the ski resort of Crested Butte.

Extant Artiodactyla species
Game animals and shooting in North America
Game birds
Big game
Other quarry
See also

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