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Elk can be distinguished by their large size, brown or tan bodies, yellowish-brown tail, and rump patch. They have thick necks and slender legs and can stand as tall as 5 feet at the shoulder. Their long legs enable them to run as fast as 35 miles per hour. Males weigh from 600 to 1,100 pounds and have six-tined antlers that can grow up to 5 feet long. Antlers begin growing in early spring and fall off in winter. The females are smaller, about 400 to 500 pounds, and lack antlers. Mating season is in September and October. The location of the Elks’ eyes on their head allows them to see almost directly behind them. However, they have little depth perception, only in a small area in front of their nose. In addition to eating leaves and bark from trees, elk use seedlings to mark their territory. Males strip off bark with their antlers, and females pull off bark with their teeth. Then both males and females rub the seedlings with chins and muzzles to cover the plants with their scent. Elk can live in many different environments.

Key Facts

North America


Gestation Period:
8.5 months

Number of Young:

Maximum Age:
10-15 years

Males Only


Pursue record-setting trophies.