Bay Journal

Bay Buddies: Elk!

  • By Kathleen Gaskell on December 01, 2012
  • Comments are closed for this article.
An average elk bull weighs 710–730 pounds, stands 4.9 feet at the shoulder and is 8.0 feet long.  (Jake Dingel / Pennsylvania Game Commission)

Reindeer may be getting all the attention this time of year, but we would like to call your attention to a more local antlered species — the elk. How much do you know about this creature?

1. Which two Bay states have the largest elk populations?

A. Maryland
B. New York
C. Pennsylvania
D. Virginia
E. West Virginia


2. Elk in the West mostly eat woody vegetation. What do elk in the East, including the Chesapeake watershed, mostly eat?

A. Crops
B. Grass & forbs (leafy vegetation)
C. Saplings
D. Submerged aquatic vegetation


3. Elks and other mammals with a similar high-fiber diet are called ruminant species because they are equipped with a heavy-duty digestion system. How many stomach chambers does a ruminant species have?

A. 2
B. 3
C. 4
D. 5


4. Which two of these statements are true for elk?

A. Only the males grow antlers.
B. An elk only grows one set of antlers in its life.
C. Only females grow antlers.
D. The elk grows a new set of antlers annually. They start to grow around May and fall off in March.


5. Excluding man, which of these poses the greatest threat to elk in North America?

A. Cougar
C. Coyote
B. Grizzly Bear
D. Gray Wolf


6. Elk have thick, muscular necks. This helps the animal hold up its head; no small feat when its antlers can grow as long as 5 feet across. These antlers can weigh as much as:

A. 10 pounds
B. 20 pounds
C. 30 pounds
D. 40 pounds


7. How old is an elk calf before it is able to stand on its own?

A. It can stand on its own at birth.
B. 20 minutes
C. 45 minutes
D. One hour



1. C & D
2. B
3. C
4. A & D
5. A
6. D
7. B

About Kathleen Gaskell

Kathleen A. Gaskell, the layout & design editor for the Bay Journal, has been involved with several environmental programs for children.

Read more articles by Kathleen Gaskell


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