40 Interesting Facts About Elk

Last updated on December 25th, 2022

Elk and Humans

32. Prehistoric Depictions

Early humans were fascinated by elks. They carved petroglyphs of female elks in Asia as symbols of life and sustenance. Depictions often included boats and rivers, hinting at their connection to the underworld.

33. Lakota Love Charm

Male elk mating tactics impressed the Lakota people. The men of this Native American tribe play the flute that sounds like the elk bugle to court women. They use antlers as love charms and wear clothes with elk images.

34. Elk as a Symbol

Have you seen the Michigan state flag? It features an elk and a moose supporting a shield. Utah is also enamored with the beast, making the Rocky Mountain Elk the official state animal.

35. Meat Production

Although rare, elk meat is available in restaurants as a specialty item. Many are attracted to its high-protein and low-fat content. It also contains less cholesterol than pork, chicken, and beef.

Velvet Antlers on an elk. facts about elk
Velvet Antlers. Photo © Julie Lubick

36. Antler Velvet

The skin covering the antlers is called velvet. Ranches collect 10 kg of this valuable commodity from males each year. It is a popular medicine and aphrodisiac in East Asia.

37. Global Elk Farming

Ancient civilizations such as the Han Chinese, Turks, and Mongolians raised elks to get a steady supply of antlers. Elk farming remains rampant in New Zealand and North America today.

38. Elk Hides

Native Americans make the most of what they find in nature. Elks are excellent materials for shelter as their hides become tepee covering. They also turn these into clothes and footwear.

39. Scout Collectors

The National Elk Refuge in Wyoming does not let shed antlers go to waste. Every winter, its employees and volunteers from the Boy Scouts of America collect these valuable items for auction. The proceeds help sustain the refuge.

40. Antlers as Trophies

The Irish elk disappeared 8,000 years ago. Peasants discovered their fossilized remains in the 1500s and got the attention of the nobles. King Charles II of England mounted a set of giant antlers in the Hampton Court Palace.