Elk along with moose are the largest land mammals in North America. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, elk roamed over most of the United States. Over hunting led to elimination of elk in the North Dakota Badlands by the late 1800s and the 1899 legislature banned hunting of bison, moose, elk and bighorn sheep. Theodore Roosevelt National Park reintroduced elk in 1985 with transfers from the Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota.
Resources at Bismarck Veterans Library
Bauer, E.A. (1995) Elk: Behavior, Ecology and Conservation. Stillwater, Minnesota: Voyageur Press
Geist, V. (1991) Elk Country. Minocqua, Wisconsin: Northwood Press
Elk Fun Facts
Fun Facts- Are these Antlers or Horns?
Elk antlers can be nearly 4 feet long and a set can weigh as much as 40 pounds!
Their tongue's are pink!
Elk eat dry grass and browse in the winter and use their hoofs to move snow from the grass
A mature bull usually carries antlers with six points on each side, though some older bulls will carry seven, and occasionally eight points on each antler. A six-point bull is called a Royal. A seven point bull – an Imperial; an eight point or better bull – a Monarch.
Side view of Antlers!
Asymmetric antlers 5 by 6!
Bulls live in bachelor groups or alone
Cows, calves and yearlings live in loose herds or groups
This bull was photographed in mid April 2018 growing new antlers!
By early June 2018 the antlers have grown considerably and are covered in velvet!
In spring and summer when food is plentiful, elk are mainly grazers. They primarily eat grasses, sedges and a variety of flowering plants. On average, an elk eats about three pounds of food per day for every 100 pounds it weighs. That means the average 500 pound cow will consume at least 15 pounds of food every day, while an 800 pound bull will gobble up 24 pounds of food.
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Quite a Mouthful!
Nice view of Velvet!