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What is the most important factor in calf survival?

In Elk Facts by Alexander Deedy, Bugle InternLeave a Comment

Life is precarious for newborn elk calves. In their first six weeks, they’re vulnerable to predation from black and grizzly bears, mountain lions, wolves and coyotes, as well as the vagaries of spring weather. But it’s what happens before their birth that often decides their survival. Research shows that birth weight is the most important factor for elk calf survival, which is a reflection of how well nourished the mother was before and during pregnancy. …

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Do Elk Sweat or Pant?

In Elk Facts by Jess Field, Bugle InternLeave a Comment

“Your question is a damn good one, because I haven’t heard it asked in 50 years,” Geist said. Turns out elk sweat and pant, but the latter is a last-ditch effort to cool off. It’s their ability to sweat buckets that helps make elk supremely adaptable. Wild elk range from the Yukon to Mexico and can withstand temperatures from at least 40 below to 115 above. Tule Elk in central California rut in July and …

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Are Elk Good Swimmers?

In Elk Facts by Erin Zwiener, Bugle InternLeave a Comment

Yearly migration routes—particularly in mountainous areas—often require elk to cross creeks and rivers swollen from spring run-off. Calves only a few days old can navigate substantial rivers but may require days of coaxing before they’ll take the plunge. Reintroduced elk on Afognak Island in Alaska have been known to swim three miles to nearby Kodiak Island. While being pursued by wolves, elk may retreat into waterways that largely protect them from predation. Native Americans, such …

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What’s the difference between red deer and elk?

In Elk Facts by Stephanie ParkerLeave a Comment

Shortly after Europeans landed on the shores of the new world, they encountered a creature that looked a lot like a bigger version of the red deer they had at home, but sounded much different, producing a high, wild octave-climbing whistle instead of the red deer’s deep roar. They named the animal elk, and for centuries since, debate raged over their identity. The central question was whether or not elk is a subspecies of red …

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Do cows ever court bulls?

In Elk Facts by Hannah RyanLeave a Comment

Why yes, sometimes the ladies do go after the guys. Besides, it’s a hard time of year for a bull. With spectacular rutting displays, he expends massive amounts of energy. All that bugling, patrolling, wallowing and then actually mating can wear him out. Every once in a while he needs a little encouragement. Eminent elk biologist Valerius Geist observed numerous female cervids in estrous demonstrating courtship. Elk, red deer, mule deer and Sitka deer all …

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What’s a Wapiti’s Whistler Worth?

In Elk Facts by RMEFLeave a Comment

A Sioux elk dreamer­­ once said that when an elk dies, everything except the tusks return to the earth, imparting long life to those who wear them. Native American women wore robes adorned with hundreds of teeth. They were the status gown of that time and place. Teeth were also used as currency, and historical accounts value 70 to 150 tusks with that of one horse. As elk became scarcer and settlers moved onto the …

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A ‘Gang” of Elk?

In Elk Facts by RMEFLeave a Comment

A ‘Gang’ of Elk? If a bunch of lions is a pride and a batch of crows is a murder, what do you call a group of elk? The answer may surprise you. According to a list of animal congregations offered by the US Geological Survey, the term for a plural grouping for elk is none other than a gang. Gang? What about herd? To be fair, other sources such as the Oxford Dictionary do …

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What is the deepest snow an elk will put up with?

In Elk Facts by Trevor Reid, Bugle InternLeave a Comment

The amount of snow required to push elk to lower elevations varies from herd to herd and even elk to elk. Two feet seems to be the threshold where large groups begin to at least consider migrating downhill toward easier and more abundant forage. In Montana, biologists have noted mature Rocky Mountain elk are able to move without major difficulty in loose snow up to 3.3 feet deep. More than 4 feet, though, hinders their …