Size of Elk Bulls, Cows and Calves

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Elk, also known as Wapiti, are large members of the deer family (Cervidae) and are known for their impressive size.

Elk are impressive animals with a commanding presence due to their size, weight, and formidable antlers. Their large stature is an adaptation that helps them thrive in their natural environments and participate in social and reproductive behaviors characteristic of the species.

Elk Height at the Shoulder

Adult elk bulls are generally taller and larger than elk cows. On average, adult bulls stand about 4.5 to 5 feet (1.4 to 1.5 meters) tall at the shoulder. Adult cows are slightly shorter, typically ranging from 4 to 4.5 feet (1.2 to 1.4 meters) in height at the shoulder. These measurements can vary based on the subspecies and individual genetics.

Length of Elk

Elk have a considerable body length. From nose to tail, adult elk can measure around 7 to 9 feet (2.1 to 2.7 meters) long. The length includes the head, neck, body, and tail. Again, individual variation and subspecies can influence the specific measurements.

Weight of Elk

Elk are also known for their substantial weight. Adult bulls are significantly heavier than cows due to their larger size and antler growth. On average, adult bull elk weigh between 700 to 1,100 pounds (320 to 500 kilograms), although some exceptionally large bulls can weigh over 1,200 pounds (545 kilograms). Adult cow elk typically weigh between 450 to 650 pounds (200 to 295 kilograms). The weight can vary depending on factors such as age, sex, subspecies, and available food resources.

Elk Bull Antler Size

One of the most striking features of male elk is their large antlers. Antlers are extensions of the skull made of bone and are shed and regrown annually. The size and configuration of antlers can vary among individuals, subspecies, and age classes. Mature bull elk typically have larger and more elaborate antlers compared to younger bulls. Antlers can reach impressive sizes, with the main beams measuring several feet long and having multiple points or tines branching off. Some exceptional bulls may have antler spreads (width) exceeding 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters).

Subspecies Variations

It's important to note that there are several subspecies of elk distributed across North America and eastern Asia. Subspecies, such as the Rocky Mountain elk, Roosevelt elk, and Tule elk, can exhibit slight variations in size, coloration, and antler characteristics. For example, Roosevelt elk, found in the Pacific Northwest, tend to be larger in body size compared to Rocky Mountain elk, which inhabit the western United States and Canada.

The size of elk is influenced by various factors, including genetics, nutrition, habitat quality, and age.

Elk - Wapiti Rutting Season

The Elk Rut
Elk Bulls put on a lot of weight as their testosterone increases and they have access to much more nutritious food. Bugles, Battles and Breeding will be taking over this Beautiful area as Bulls fight to claim or hold their territories' throne
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The Elk Rut Season

The Active Elk Rut Season Time and Duration

The elk rut season is from late August through October, with some breeding activity continuing into November. Male elk, or elk bulls, are much more aggressive during this time. The peak of the elk rut season is when the most elk breeding activity occurs. During the elk rut season, there is lots of bugling, cow elk communication, and elk movement. During elk rutting season, bull elk may attack anything that comes close to them or their mates, which provides protection for the herd.

The Peak of Elk Rut Season

The peak of elk rut season lasts up to 10 days when a ratio of light and dark, along with a colder snap, causes hormones in cow elk to flow(estrus cycle). Each cow comes into estrus at slightly different times during the elk rut season. While elk cows won't all go into estrus during the peak, it is called the peak of the elk rut season because most will.