Official website for the City of Aurora, Illinois. Mayor Robert J. O'Connor

Fact Sheet - Elk


Common Name


Scientific Name

Cervus elaphus


  • Elk are members of the Deer family, which also include Moose and Caribou.
  • Elk can weigh from 500 pounds (Cow) to 700+ pounds (Bull).
  • Only the bull elk grows antlers. They are grown each year and shed, usually in late winter. Elk antlers can weigh 40 pounds for the pair.
  • Elk live in a variety of habitats, from coastal forests, to alpine meadows, to dry desert valleys to snowy mountain ridges.
  • Elk feed primarily on grasses and woody plants.
  • Elk are preyed upon by man, Mountain Lions (Cougars), Bears, Wolves and Coyotes.
  • There are about 1 million elk living in the United States.
  • Elk are farmed in the United States for meat, and for the velvet that their antlers produce. The velvet is a primary ingredient for holistic medicines.