Rocky Mountain Elk

This species of large deer is often recognized by the long branching antlers seen on males. Bulls (males) will form antlers which may reach 4 feet over their head. In the wintertime, the tan to light brown colored males and females will grow dark neck manes.
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Cervus canadensis
CLASSIFICATION
Mammal
LIFE SPAN
10-13 Years
SIZE
72-96 ” | 500-1100 lbs
STATE CONSERVATION STATUS
  • State Protected
FEDERAL CONSERVATION STATUS
Least Concern
GAME STATUS
Game
GAME TYPE
Big Game
  1. Washoe
  2. Humboldt
  3. Pershing
  4. Churchill
  5. Mineral
  6. Lyon
  7. Douglas
  8. Carson City
  9. Storey
  1. Elko
  2. Lander
  3. Eureka
  4. White Pine
  1. Esmeralda
  2. Nye
  3. Lincoln
  4. Clark

Habitat & Range

Elk habitat varies from prairies, forested areas, sagebrush flats, deciduous forests, even swampy valleys and mountain meadows.

  • Alpine and Tundra
  • Cold desert shrubland and sagebrush
  • Upland Forests

Threats

  • Chronic Wasting Disease

Natural History

Female Rocky Mountain Elk give birth to calves in late spring early summer. Calves are born with spots and are scentless to help camouflage them and protect them from predators. They also remain as motionless as possible for their first weeks of life, especially when their mothers have to leave them in search of food.
Rocky Mountain Elk are herbivores and feed on a wide variety of plants including grasses, shrubs, trees, and flowers. They are ruminants and have a four-chambered stomach in order to properly digest their plant-based diet.
Only the male Elk grow antlers, and growing their antlers is a natural feat. They grow and shed a new set of antlers every single year. During the growing season their antler are covering in a furry coat called velvet. Velvet is full of blood vessels that bring all the necessary minerals to grow antlers and grow them fast. Elk antlers can grow up to an inch a day!

Fun Facts

Elk may supplement their diets at 'licks' where they can get minerals that aren't present in plants. These 'licks' may be natural or artificial.