Species / International Ovis
Cervus elaphus nelsoni
The Rocky Mountain elk is smaller in body than the Roosevelt elk. Mature bulls average about 700 pounds, while mature cows average around 500 pounds. The antlers of the Rocky variety are generally longer and slimmer than the Roosevelt, but have a greater spread. Rockies do not “crown,” while Roosevelts usually do “crown” after the fourth tine.
The more traditional habitat for Rocky Mountain elk is high mountain meadows and forests. However, they occasionally do well at lower elevations. They migrate downward in advance of deep winter snows to sheltered lowlands where forage is available
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The elk or wapiti (Cervus canadensis) is one of the largest species of deer in the world and one of the largest land mammals in North America and eastern Asia. In the deer family (Cervidae), only the larger moose (Alces alces), which is called an "elk" in Europe, and the sambar (Rusa unicolor) rival the elk in size. Elk are similar to the Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) found in Europe, of which they were long believed to be a subspecies. However, evidence from a 2004 study of the mitochondrial DNA indicates they are a distinct species.