Identifying Elk

Elk are one of the easiest animals to identify. They most closely resemble deer, but they often grow to twice the size of a mule deer. Their oversized antlers, which adult males grow each year, and their large buff-colored rumps, make for easily recognizable features.

Male elk, or bulls, average 700 pounds and stand about 5 feet tall at shoulder height; while females, called cows, are smaller at about 500 pounds and 4 feet tall at the shoulder. Elk in Alaska can grow to more than 1000 pounds!

In addition to their size, elk have much larger rumps than deer, with buff colored fur and smaller tails. The only exception to elk coloring is found on newborn calves, which are born spotted as most deer fawn are. But the young ones lose their spots as they head into their first winter, by which time an elk calf can be as large as a full-grown whitetail deer.


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