Elk Facts

ElkPhoto by Stephanie Jochum-Natt

Elk Facts

What does an elk look like?Bull Elk
  • Elk are large hoofed animals with a cream colored rump, a light brown body and a darker brown neck, face and legs.
  • Mature bulls (males) have a large set of antlers which are made out of bone. They look different from mule deer antlers as elk antlers grow up a little ways and then out with one point going forward. Young bulls have smaller antlers and when elk become old their antlers don’t grow as large.  A bull elk sheds his antlers and begins to grow a new set every spring.
How big are they?
  • Adult bulls can weigh up to 700 pounds and stand 5 feet at the shoulder. Cows (females) weigh up to 500 pounds and stand 4.5 feet at the shoulder.
  • Antlers can be up to 4 feet tall and can weigh up to 40 pounds.
Where do they live?
  • During the high summer month’s elk live at high elevations in the mountains between 6,000 and 10,000 feet.
  • During winter elk migrate to valley bottoms where there is less snowfall.
What do they eat?
  • Elk are herbivores, meaning they only eat plants.
  • Their diet changes with the seasons because different plants are found during different seasons.
  • Elk are a ruminant species, with four-chambered stomachs.
What eats them?

Did you know?


  • In 1971, the Rocky Mountain elk was voted Utah’s state mammal.
  • The sound a bull elk makes is called a “bugle”.
  • Female elk live in loose herds or groups and males either live in bachelor groups or alone.
  • Males get larger and are the ones who grow antlers. Antlers are a bone structure used to fight other males to win breeding rights for the females.
Threats to elk:
  • During migration, elk cross roads and many are hit by vehicles.