View Post

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, …

View Post

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 …

View Post

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.

View Post

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. …

View Post

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 …

View Post

What’s the difference between red deer and elk?

In Elk Facts by Stephanie Parker17 Comments

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 …

View Post

Do cows ever court bulls?

In Elk Facts by Hannah Ryan9 Comments

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 …

View Post

What’s a Wapiti’s Whistler Worth?

In Elk Facts by RMEF11 Comments

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 …