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Elk: General Information on This Big Game Animal

Elk: General Information on This Big Game AnimalElk is one of the largest members of the deer family and a popular big game animal by hunting guides and outfitters. Its wide, graceful antlers spreading in regal splendor entitle the American elk to be called the handsomest and most majestic of the deer. The male wapiti, with its tawny-brown body, darken-brown head and neck held proudly alert and symmetrical antlers arched gracefully upward and outward from the top of the head, is a thrilling sight. Elk stand about five feet high at the shoulder and measures about eight feet long. Its mate is only slightly smaller. In weight, the full-grown buck reaches seven to one-thousand pounds, and the antlers may spread bout five feet, and are a prized trophy for Elk hunters.

The elk once ranged over great areas of North America, but with the spread of civilization, their principal range has been reduced to the Rocky Mountain region and certain parts of the United States and Canada. They feed mainly on grasses, browsing now and then on the twigs and leaves of trees. In summer the elk graze high up in the mountains. But when deep winter snows cover their food, they are forced down into the lowlands.

Early in the fall, at the mating season, the bucks form large harems of does and travel about with them for several months. Usually friendly and gentle, the elk buck becomes very quarrelsome at this time, making dangerous use of its sharp antlers in fighting off rival bucks. In the winter, after the mating season, the antlers drop off, and they do not begin to grow again until spring.

Choose a State for Your Hunting Trip

As you pick the state for your next elk hunting trip, consider the different weather conditions of each state, along with the lay of the land.