Bull Elk, NPS photoBull Elk, US Fish & Wildlife photoFemale Elk, NPS photo

Elk (Cervus canadensis), one of the largest land mammals in North America, range in forest and forest-edge habitat, feeding on grasses, plants, leaves, and bark. Remaining at higher elevations during the summer, they move to lower refuges in the fall, sometimes traveling scores of miles to winter feeding grounds. Mating season, or the rut, occurs between late August and December when dominant males attract a harem by a show of large antlers and ritual sparring with competitors. The male’s characteristic bugle call is often heard during this time.

Current research involving elk is related to studies of the wolf, a major elk predator.