Facts About Elk (Wapiti)
The elk or wapiti as they are called in North America is one of the largest species of deer in the world and one of the largest land mammals in North America and eastern Asia. Only the moose rivals it in size
Elk feed on grasses, plants, leaves, and bark. The meat is leaner and higher in protein than either beef or chicken
The Elk is the second largest member of the deer family with slender legs, a thick neck and is colored brown or tan with darker underparts. The antlers, only grown by males, are large with many tines, the main beam up to 150 cm long.
The European red deer ( Cervus elaphus Linnaeus 1758 ) and our elk (Cervus elaphus canadensis) are the same species . Some scientists though think there are so many differences between them that they should be separated. North America elk have another name of “wapiti” because of an old mistake in naming them. It was incorrectly given to the New World’s “red deer”. To end the confusion, the Shawnee Indian term “wapiti” was proposed back in 1806 to replace “elk”.
Wapiti, meaning “white rump,” is the Shawnee Indian name and is the common name preferred by scientists
A male elk is a called a bull, and the female is a cow. The bull elk’s call is a deep, shrill bugle that resonates using his two ivory teeth in the upper jaw,
Elk antlers grow up, out and backward, while the red deer’s grow up and inward. Elk antlers aren’t smooth, but are smoother than red deer antlers which are like rough tree bark. Elk antlers have a six-tine plan (12 total points) and it’s uncommon for them to grow extra points. Three of their tines however can split in two, so a typical antler can have up to nine points (18 total). But you can still make out the underlying six-tine structure. The basic antler plan for the red deer is a five tines (for ten total points) and it is normal for them to grow additional points.
The meat of both deer is similar with a delicious flavor and juicier texture than most venison, and you can cook it like beef. For many people it’s their favorite wild game meat. Like all game, it’s low in fat and cholesterol.