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When and why do bulls and bucks shed their antlers?

In Elk Facts by Sophie Tsairis23 Comments

Shed hunters know that after the winter solstice, when testosterone is at its low ebb in cervids and days are inching incrementally longer, every member of North America’s deer family is preparing to cast its antlers. This cyclical replacement is unique in the animal kingdom, and the exact timing of antler shedding is, well, complicated. The antler cycle hinges on endocrine and neural control, as well as the size, age and health of the animal. …

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Venison or Elk: The War Rages On

In Elk Facts by RMEF143 Comments

A few weeks ago we posted a video on how to grind elk burger. One of the subtitles in the video read “semi-frozen cuts of Venison or Elk.” Well, thanks to a quality assurance snafu, this piece went out without all members of our team weighing in. This sparked a pseudo-outrage on social media between Venison faithful’s and those who claim it is simply “Elk Meat.” Fast forward a few weeks into planning for a …

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Over 78 Elk, Antelope and Bear Dead: Japanese Yew And How You Can Identify It

In Elk Facts, General by RMEF90 Comments

A favored poison from the 15th century that is now a common ornamental tree in western suburban neighborhoods is killing off desperate winter-stressed wildlife in Idaho. In fact, it has taken down antelope and elk so quickly that in certain cases they have been found dead with half chewed twigs still in their mouths. It’s no wonder some have dubbed it the “tree of death.” Before the wildlife deaths in Idaho this winter, most guides …

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What is an Elk’s Favorite Food?

In Elk Facts by RMEF3 Comments

Judging by sheer quantity consumed, grass would appear to be the favored food. Elk gorge on grass year-round where it’s available, getting choosier about which kind during the summer when grasses are most abundant. Bluegrasses, wheatgrasses, bromegrasses, bunchgrasses and fescue are all popular picks. But who among us would say our favorite food is the staple of our overall diet? There are far less abundant plants than grass that elk seem to relish with the …

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Can a cow elk have antlers?

In Elk Facts by Kasey RahnLeave a Comment

But evolution might also be the culprit behind antlered cows, Geist says. Over time, cow elk in North America have evolved to compete with young bulls for resources by developing male traits, a process called male mimicry. It’s girl power, Darwin-style. Caribou might be the best example of male mimicry at work. Females exert a lot of energy digging through snow to reach buried lichens. Young bulls will try to steal this forage by displacing …

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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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What Causes Some Elk to Lose Hair and Have Reddish Patches?

In Elk Facts by RMEFLeave a Comment

We recently received this question: “I was wondering what could cause Rocky Mountain Elk to lose fur/hair and have reddish patches in the area.” Here is the answer from Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Director of Science and Planning Tom Toman: “The only other reason I can think of for the reddish patches would be if the animal had an external parasite. For example a tick that is commonly referred to as the winter tick or …

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A ‘Gang” of Elk?

In Elk Facts by RMEF2 Comments

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 …