Utah Field Guide: Elk

The elk or Wapiti as it is sometimes called is native to North America, Eastern Asia and is common in the mountainous regions right here in Utah. Biologists estimate our Utah herd to number upwards of 80 thousand animals.

Biologists have long classified elk into six subspecies. The Rocky Mountain which we have here in Utah has the largest antlers of all subspecies
The Roosevelt elk found in the Coastal Pacific Northwest, The Tule elk found in Central California and the Manitoban elk found in the northern Great Plains. The Merriam’s and the Eastern are both thought to be extinct.

The best time to observe elk is during the rut which starts in early September and runs through the middle of October. Males are much less wary during the rut, allowing hunters and photographers the chance to get close. Bulls wallow in mud to coat themselves with “perfume” to attract cows. They also bugle, rake trees, shrubs and the ground with their antlers to attract cows and intimidate other bulls. For more information on the wapiti or any other creature found in Utah, be sure to check out our Utah Field Guide on our Outdoors page at KSLTV.com.

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