When it comes to the world of big-game animals there are a lot that have several subspecies. When you go all the way back to our article on caribou there are five subspecies of the animal. There are three for moose, five for deer and so on. During our Arizona Animals series of state-specific animals we discussed elk. This was about the Rocky Mountain Elk, the most prolific of the subspecies. The other two subspecies are the Roosevelt and Tule. This month’s Big Game Basics will be focused on the Roosevelt Elk.
The Roosevelt Elk is actually the largest elk of North America. The males average 900 pounds and the females sit around 500 pounds. Now these are averages and both can grow much larger than that. They are herbivores and travel in herds. Their range is much smaller than the Rocky Mountain Elks and is mostly confined to the Pacific Northwest.
They can be found in Vancouver Island and on mainland British Columbia. As far as the U.S. goes they are found in Washington, Oregon, Northern California and Alaska. These animals were actually introduced in Alaska. Another herd was also introduced onto Santa Rosa Island.
The Roosevelt Elks antlers tend to be more rugged and massive when compared to those of the Rocky Mountain Elk. But the Roosevelt Elks antlers are shorter and closer together, when compared to the long and wide-spread of the Rocky Mountain Elk. Also the Roosevelt Elks antlers tend to palmate or are webbed on the top. This gives the animals a distinct antler.
They favor dense rain forests that hold evergreen trees. They eat a variety of foods that is mostly dependent on the season. They will consume anything ranging from grasses to elderberries to blueberries and even mushrooms and lichens.
They do get their name for famous hunter/conservationist/President Theodore Roosevelt. (Ever notice how hard it is to give a single title to that guy? What an amazing person.) They also are attached to another famous name, Olympic National Park in Washington State. Preservation of these animals in that area helped push to establish this national park.
Conservation and preservation of these amazing animals has always been on the public’s mind. Most herds are considered under governmental management. Of course hunting these animals is also a part of management. The money paid out for hunting licenses, tags and trips for these animals help fund their preservation. Groups like Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation also do a great job of fundraising and hands-on project to help all elk. All hunters should look at joining this and other national conservation groups that do a great amount of good to protect our animals for the future generations.
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