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Why did early explorers find large mounds of elk antlers?

In Elk Facts by Trevor Reid, Bugle InternLeave a Comment

As explorers began traversing the northern Great Plains in the mid-19th century, they noted odd sightings on their journeys west ─ enormous mounds of elk antlers stacked along rivers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. In his journal, Prince Maximilian zu Wied described one such pyramid druing his expedition’s through the American West l in the 1830s. Dubbed the Elkhorn Steeple, the mound stood roughly 18 feet high and 15 feet in diameter …

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When a bull breaks a tine, does his rack grow back whole next year?

In Elk Facts by Sam Wilson, Bugle internLeave a Comment

It depends. If the antler has hardened to bone, the answer is yes. If the injury happens while the antlers are still covered in velvet, that tine will likely grow strangely and may well fork or sprout sticker points every year for the rest of the bull’s life. The annual rut is like UFC for elk, but with way more on the line. The winners of the savage battles procreate and pass on their genes, …

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Do elk box?

In Elk Facts by Kasey RahnLeave a Comment

What do Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali and elk have in common? They’re all skilled boxers. While it might be easy to assume antlers are an elk’s preferred weapon, boxing is often used in common quarrels between elk. During a fight, both elk will rise on their hind legs and rapidly punch with their front hooves, alternating legs. A strike from a front hoof can be a powerful blow. Aggressive cows often use this behavior and …

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A ‘Gang’ of Elk?

In Elk Facts by RMEF4 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 …

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Do Elk Get Warts?

In Elk Facts by Kasey Rahn3 Comments

Fibromas, aka warts, are benign tumors that grow on elk’s skin and occasionally inside their digestive tracts. There are many variations when it comes to fibromas—almost all of them gross. These fleshy, hairless, nodular growths can be covered in gray skin, sometimes cracked or bleeding. Other times they’re covered in a hard, black, dry, fissured coating resembling a rotting cauliflower. The heavy ones can even droop over off an animal’s body. Fibromas are usually small, …

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Are Elk Good Swimmers?

In Elk Facts by Erin Zwiener, Bugle Intern2 Comments

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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Searching for Sheds: Antlers and Anomalies

In Elk Facts by Sophie Tsairis, Bugle Intern1 Comment

Shed hunters know that after the winter solstice, when testosterone is at its low ebb in elk and other 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 is dependent on endocrine and neural control, as well as the size, age, and health …

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What makes a rogue bull?

In Elk Facts by RMEF1 Comment

Bull #6 in Yellowstone had a bad attitude. His love for bashing cars and people around the park became legendary. While most bulls get a serious boost of testosterone during the rut, some get a mega-dose. Bull #6 was literally on the “juice.” Just as there is always that one guy in a group who likes to fight at the drop of a hat, elk have individual personalities, too. Studies in sika deer, which inhabit much of East Asia, have shown the number of points correspond directly to fight success. The more fights won, the more points gained. While it’s pure speculation, one might apply this to Bull #6.  He rarely lost a fight, thus at one time he sported symmetrical 7×7 headgear. The bigger he got, the more confidence he gained and the more he liked to fight.

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What is the most important factor in calf survival?

In Elk Facts by Alexander Deedy, Bugle Intern19 Comments

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. …